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You may have noticed a couple of my tweets recently that I am shamefully on a 'Spending Ban'.
Now, this is something both Mark and I have come to agreement on, as looking at our recent credit card statements
we I, have been a
little too fluid with the spends lately. So, we are putting a little 'ban' on
for a few weeks!
Seriously do not know how I am going to cope!! Haha...
Only joking! But it did get me to thinking though about where to cut back on everyday things and where each of us can save here and there. Especially at the moment where there's hardly any interest on savings and things do seem to be getting more and more expensive!
So here's a bit of random list! Nothing in any particular order, just little ideas where we can all cut back in our every day lives!
* First of all - I know I said no particular order, but this ones a definite first and then it's a free for all!! Haha... OK, first of all go through your bank statements. Be 100% honest with yourself and see where you are spending the most and see what you can realistically cut back on. For me it's been just general wild spending haha, which I'm taking a step back from for a few weeks or so. Also, our Tesco grocery bills are really high, so that's definitely an area to look at and see where to tweak things on the grocery front.
* Always sign up to loyalty programs. Supermarkets, coffee shops, hotels, airlines. Seriously guys points make prizes! For example the day my ban kicked in I wanted to stop for a Costa. I had loads of points on my coffee club card, so yup, free coffee for me! Instant lifesaver! Also, if you stick to the same hotel chains you'll be surprised how your points add up. When we went to London recently for Marks pre-eye op consultation, we stayed at the W London. That was all paid for by points!
* Walk. If you need to pop to the local shops or where you're going is in complete walking distance, walk it! You'll save on a little bit of petrol and get some exercise at the same time! Double bubble!
* Ditch the makes - OK this might be a slightly grey area. I love a brand like the next person, but at the end of the day I am no celebrity with an endless income of $$$ and probably any brand I want on tap!
- It is a tricky one with brands as we all love a designer trainer or bag. But to be honest these days a cheaper 'no-name' brand is just as good and just as comfy as say a pair of expensive Nikes. I really think the days have gone where everything you have has to be a 'make'. Handbags too - I mean you've just got to look on the high street to find some awesome bags and really reasonable prices.
- Going back to the supermarket, have a look at the own brand items, try them, see if you like them, because half the time they are just as good as the leading brands! For example, mince, most of the time it's going to be covered in sauce, so buy the cheaper option!
* Also when you go grocery shopping write a list and stick to it! If you plan your meals in advance you will only buy what you need and there won't be any waste at the end of the week. It'll save on your waistline too. Also, only buy the bargain promos like the bogof's if they are actually useful to you and something you need that week and something you will use. Most of the time the 'free' one will get thrown away and you probably didn't need it all in the first place anyway!
* Recycle! I like this one. How many times have you printed things off and then just chucked the paper away? DON'T! Use the blank side to maybe print again or my favorite, fold in half and use as scrap paper! I literally have a pile on my desk and it's so flippin' useful! I know we all want the cool notebooks and fancy writing pads, but seriously if it's just for scribbling notes on or writing the shopping list, it is really an area you can definitely cut back on!
- Save food tubs. This might be random I'm not sure. But save those ice-cream tubs, the big yogurt tubs like the Onken, you know the ones I mean! Cottage cheese pots, the tubs of heroes and quality street. Yep you get my jist. Seriously, once they're finished wash them up and they are sooo useful.
- Again we all want the very cool, blogger esque marble and plain white pots to keep all our little knick knacks and bits and bobs in. But if they are in a drawer or cupboard out of sight, why spend the $$$?! Ice-cream tubs make brilliant peg baskets! Quality street/heroes tins make great household tool boxes and the other pots are awesome for tidying up the 'odds and sods' drawer (which everyone has I'm sure!).
* Look out for the cheaper option. For example, the other day I was having a look around Topshop and I do really like the Beyoncé Ivy Park range. I have these shorts already and I love them, but am also after a zip up hoody. I tried on this one which felt lovely and fitted like a glove, but I was already thinking it is maybe a little expensive for what it is, as I was already becoming conscious of the amount of spending going on in the Townsend household lol! Now it's not hugely expensive at £32, but at the end of the day it was just a grey zip up hoody. We went into New Look and right there was, yep, a grey zip up hoody just as nice here, but obviously not branded and it's only £14.99. You know the one I'll be getting when my bans lifted, lol!
* Buying in the sales. Now we all get excited when the sales are on. But how many times over the years I've picked up a bargain skirt or top or coat and then it sits in the wardrobe for a year or so. Let's be honest, in reality it's naff and doesn't' go with absolutely anything! Hands up who's guilty of this! My hands up btw!
- Buying a sale item can be fab, but if you're not gonna wear it well it's still a waste of money - even if it was a £1 it's still a pound that's wasted. We were in Next the other day and they had 50% off all their sale. Brilliant! We looked around and it was just all the old stuff they're trying to get rid of to make room for all the new Christmas stock. Yes, there were some bargains and I was nearly tempted my some summer clothes. But then I thought, whats the point, as I wont be wearing them until next summer and by then my taste would of changed and it'll probably be out of fashion by then anyway.
- Sales are good I think, when it comes to 'home' items and things like that. But 'fashion' clothes not so much, as it is the end of the season. When looking in the sales think of the wardrobe staples, vest tops, leggings, pj's even, things that won't necessarily date and think about what you would wear it with too.
- When looking for that 'bargain' keep an eye out when shops have special promotions, 20%, 30% etc off. Debenhams is a fab example of this, as throughout the year they quite often have mega days or mega weeks, especially leading up to Christmas time! That's when you can get your 'bargains'!
* When eating out in big groups ask for separate bills! I know at first it may seem a little embarrassing and you don't want to look like a tight arse, but seriously why should you overpay and subsidise someone else meal when you only had a salad!
- This happened a lot when I was crew and we'd be down route. A table of 10+ people and majority of the time they would 'split the bill'. Now, if you were drinking and having a full blown three course dinner you'd probably be quids in (not very fair tho!), but then they'd be some of us who would have just have a main for example and would end up paying more than we actually ordered! If you're out with friends they won't care and actually quite often everyone is relieved when it gets suggested to have your own bills!
* If you're renting at the moment, like us, only rent the size property you actually need! We sold our four bed detached house a few months a go and yes it would be lovely to rent something similar, but it would be crazy and pretty much financial suicide to do that. We are currently renting a lovely two bed semi, which is actually all we need at the moment. When you're renting you are actually paying someone else's mortgage, so why pay for something bigger then you actually need.
- We saw a lot of this when we were living in the UAE. People would be renting these huge houses and they'd only be two of them living there. Why? It seems crazy. We always stuck to two bed places which were perfectly adequate. You know what, looking back, we are so pleased we did, as they were only rentals and that time has gone now and the money has gone...
- Obviously 100% you've got to enjoy where you're living and be comfortable, but you also need to be realistic especially when renting as the money is 'dead' money. Be sensible and think about how much space you actually need. Save the space you 'want' for when you buy!
* Check your receipts. Not just that you've been charged correctly, but for extra bonuses! When we went to the cinema recently on the back of the receipt there's £10 off for Frankie & Benny's. Picked up some dry cleaning from Timpsons and was handed a leaflet, a quick online survey about your visit and you get 10% off your next purchase. Tesco receipts have a survey at the bottom also about your recent visit, takes a few minutes but then you get 25 more reward points.
* Have a look through your cupboard and see how many duplicates you have. I had probably about five different bottles of moisturiser on the go at one point! Have only one out at a time and use it up! Start with the one with less in and work your way through them like that. I'm currently doing this with Shampoo bottles! I do not know how or why I accumulate so many. Start sorting, it de-clutters, clears space and you won't need to buy some for a while!
I think it's all about just being a little bit more realistic with yourself and sensible with your buying options. Really question if you need or want the item and if you can afford it. Most times I think I need something then I'll go home and forget about it completely, lol!
I hope you find these little ideas helpful and let me know
your tops tips for cutting back in the comments below!
p.s since writing this my ban's been lifted, lol,
but I'm still going to slow the spending down
and take some of my own advice!
but I'm still going to slow the spending down
and take some of my own advice!