There’s a difference between being stingy and being thrifty! I don’t wanna be stingy, you know, the one who didn’t get a round in cos they waited until last go and everyone went home by then. Or your mate who splits the bill individually with a calculator when they’re only having a main and thier share is £6.95 but is happy to split the bill equally when they’ve had a starter, steak, cheese board and ordered an extra bottle of wine.. haha of course we all will know a few of these folk… I don’t want to become stingy but I do need to have a bit of a look at where I’m spending money ‘willy-nilly’ (as my mother would say).
I have to admit it, I’m someone who spends too much on stuff, I have too much stuff, but I’m trying to be a bit more thrifty! So I’m making up some money rules for myself…
Rule 1. Use it all up
Cosmetics, lotions and potions… I have only one face but have 10 (or more) half pots of creams. I had a clear out of my bathroom cupboards to discover that I’m an advertiser’s dream, fooled by every wrinkle diminishing claim. I have about 10 pots of half used wrinkle creams.. day cream, night cream, youth serum… the lot. I’m not sure if any of them work to be fair but I’m going to use them all up before I buy another! The same applies to the 3 bottles of £25ish foundations I have. I’ve also found the eye liner sharpener so I can stop buying a new eyeliner when I can’t find a sharp one (genius). I don’t know why I insist on buying 2 shampoos, 2 toothpastes and 2 deodorants? I’m probably underestimating this but I’m thinking that using up what I already have will save me about £25 a month (and my cupboards will be tidier).
2. Make a food shopping list
I’m a food waster, so this is next on the list. I’ve been trying out online shopping; to resist the urge of buying extras with my food shopping. I’m trying to be organised by writing a one week meal planner that can be doubled up so the shopping lasts 2 weeks. So far it’s going ok, one of the things that puts people off online shopping is substitutions but for me it’s a bonus; I like surprises. I’ve had my prosecco upgraded as the one on offer must have ran out (result) and I got a bigger pack of mackerel because they had no small ones left. I did get a tube of squeezy ginger instead of a parsley plant but I sent that one back for a refund. I am spending less, but I’m also trying to diet so having less in the house is a good thing. Rather than shop every week I’m stretching the shopping over 2 weeks and I’ve been spending about £100 every other week… instead of every week!
3. Spend no money at work
£260 a year at work on Diet Coke…. oops. This sounds like a lot of you add it up. This is bad. No more Coke from the man in a van who pulls up at work. I’m not cutting it out all together but ordering packs of cans is cheaper than an overpriced bottle 5 days a week…
4. Make the most of free things
Whilst I’m trying my best to be frugal I’ve taken advantage of some free stuff I’d normally pass up on. Like the shower gel and shampoo at a recent hotel stay, I’d normally use a bit of the little complimentary lotions and potions then leave them…. assuming open bottles go in the bin but in this hotel the shower gel read ‘best shampoo you’ll ever steal’ so I thought, you’re right.. I’m taking it home.
I’ve also been trying for some home grown veg… I managed one courgette and some still green tomatoes. I do however know a lot of folk with apple trees and an abundance of rhubarb, both things I wouldn’t usually eat; so would turn down the offer of a bag full. This time however I’ve decided to swap the fruit in my oats from over priced berries to some good old fashioned British garden fair. I’ve prepared and frozen the lot in portions ready to chuck on the oats. I slow cooked the rhubarb with a tablespoon of sugar and slow cooked the apples with a squeeze of honey and some wild blackberries I even picked on my walk home from work. I had to freeze the rhubarb and apples flat on a tray of grease proof paper in dollops just big enough for a portion, then popped them in a plastic freezer container. The rhubarb overnight oats are delicious, I’m trying the apple and blackberry in the morning!
5. Sort the bills
This one was a big deal, I should probably write a hundred lines ‘don’t pay too much on the bills’. I’m talking the every month drainers on the bank balance. I’ve made a couple of fairly big changes but I must remember to check every bill when it’s due to be renewed. The mortgage. I knew the fixed rate was due to run out, I made some enquiries early (4 months) and honestly I was a little disappointed when I looked into this one, I’d seen some great rates but when you look into them further there’s a lot of extra costs to consider, fees, legal, valuation blah blah blah. I had already asked my existing mortgage company what they could offer, it was ok however I thought I could do better somewhere else…. but then they sent a letter offering me a change in the rate straight away- 3 months early so I signed up, the rate was slightly higher than others I’d seen but with no fees and then an extra 3 months at the lower rate it was definitely the best option. Yippee £100 a month in my pocket. I’ve also saved £50 a month by saying goodbye to all of those extra channels that I didn’t even watch anyway.
All in all a good start to bill slaying but I’m not sure if being frugal is really going to stick!