There are a billion and one ways to save money – especially when you’re just starting out with a budget, but often it’s as important what you do buy, rather than what you don’t buy. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘cheaper is better’ mindset without actually doing your research. Unfortunately, sometimes buying cheaper can be detrimental to your wallet in the long run.
I always seem to draw a parallel with saving money and losing weight, and here I go again:
Imagine you trying to lose weight (again).
If you’re very heavy to begin with, the weight comes off pretty quickly, because there are a tonne of things to cut back on. It’s the same with saving money. If you’re eating/buying everything in sight, then it’s easy to make small changes that add up very quickly.
The issue comes for those of us that just want to lose/save a few pounds (thank you, language gods, for making pounds a measurement of both money and weight. You’ve made this metaphor enormously more pleasing).
It takes. So. Much. More. Effort.
Ok, it actually takes the same amount of effort, the results just get slowler and will eventually plateau. Grrr.
I’m hoping that with these tips on how not to save money (not to be confused with how to spend money, which I’m sure isn’t an issue for most of us). BTW, this is an interesting article on being too frugal and not being able to spend money. There’s another similar article out there that deals with similar issues but I can’t find it 🙁 it got lost in the depths of Pinterest somewhere.
1- Cheap petrol (gas /car food/you know what I mean)
I touched on this in my last post, but trust me cheap petrol is such a false economy. Also, it’s not a good idea to buy 100% of your petrol from supermarkets – it’s cheaper because it’s crappier. We’re currently using a premium petrol because we actually get an extra 30 miles per tank. It makes sense – if you feed your car better food, it’ll have more energy. And I assume (I don’t actually know, so don’t quote me on this) that less nasties will be released from the exhaust.
Obviously, take advantage of cheap petrol sometimes, but maybe once a month (depending on your mileage), give your car a gourmet meal.
2 – Become a hermit
Ok, this one doesn’t apply to me because I like being a hermit, but if you associate saving money and being frugal with sitting at home being bored, you’ll fall off the wagon. And if you’re like me, once those purse strings open they’re hard to close. The trick is to set yourself an entertainment budget and stick to it. Don’t simply resign yourself to never leaving the house again (unless, like me, that’s your jam).
3 – Cheap food
I suppose for the same reasons that I don’t recommend exclusively cheap petrol – it’s bad for your engine. Fruit and veg are cheaper in the long run than ready meals – they’re full of vitamins and fibre and will keep you fuller for longer. If you prioritize your health, you may also save yourself some money on healthcare costs.
If you are food-frugal and have a low grocery budget because you buy in bulk and utilise your freezer, keep right on doing that BUT if you’re feeding your family on buy-one-get-one-free frozen pizzas and McDonalds, it might be time for a food overhaul.
4 – Buying information
By this, I mean things like magazines, money-saving courses, frugal cookery books. If you have the cash to spend on these go ahead, but if you’re trying to drag yourself out of debt or have no space in your budget, don’t buy your info. Sure, money saving courses come pre-packaged and you don’t need to spend the time collecting the information, but there is a wealth of knowledge online about all aspects of frugal life. I can’t believe I once spend a fiver on 101 Ways to Save Money, now that I know there are literally thousands of free blog posts with exactly the same information, that’s updated constantly.
5- Cleaning supplies
This is slightly controversial because I’ve read a lot of blogs written by people who SWEAR by homemade cleaning stuff. I’ve tried a few things such as washing up liquid and washing powder, but I found them either ineffective, messy or time-consuming. The whole washing with vinegar or lemon juice doesn’t do it for me either – it’s probably psychological but I could smell the vinegar for days and anything I cleaned with lemon juice just seemed sticky.
However, I never pay full price. Washing powder especially always has great deals, as does washing up liquid and surface cleansers.
6 – Wipes (excluding baby wipes)
I never use makeup or surface cleansing wipes. One-use products, in general, are expensive, but, more importantly, the environmental impact is high. I use makeup wipes incredibly sparingly (for wiping stubborn makeup off the back of my hand) but never for my face – I use the free muslin cloths that come with hot cloth cleansers (this one from Superdrug and this one from Soap & Glory are my faves). Alternatively, use coconut oil/olive oil and a flannel (you can get it cheap here). Your face and the environment will thank you.
I have no use for surface cleansing wipes – I use a cloth and antibacterial spray (bought when it’s on offer for a pound).
There are a few other ideas I had for how not to save money but feel weird including them since I don’t take that advice myself. FOR EXAMPLE it is an oft-repeated piece of wisdom to never buy cheap shoes – they’re uncomfortable and don’t last. However, in my line of work (in a restaurant) I go through the soles of shoes ridiculously quickly, regardless of how expensive they are, so I buy £4 Primark flat shoes and chuck them after a couple of months. A £50 pair lasts the same amount of time and it’s not worth the £20 or whatever to get them re-soled.
Urgh… from all the posts I’m reading on how to improve your blog, I should be creating some sort of metaphorical net in which to capture all of your precious email addresses. I get it, I really do – by creating an email list I’ll be able to target you all individually and hopefully you’ll want to hear what I’ve got to say. I used to do an RSS-type email to everyone but I find them so irritating – they’re basically fancy spam. If you don’t want to miss a post, just follow me on Pinterest or Bloglovin’.
I also hate pop-ups (I don’t care how effective they are!) so I prefer my little smart bar that shouldn’t be too hindering to your experience here. SO my options for growing my email list are limited to asking nicely: please may I have your email, even though I currently have no plans to send you anything. HOWEVER when I DO have something to send out it will be epic, I’m sure (lolololololol).