In an effort to pay off my debt as quickly as possible, I’m looking beyond simply making extra money. I have been assessing all of my spending habits, adopting a more frugal lifestyle wherever I can. Each month I will be sharing Five Frugal Things that I have done to help improve my finances and ensure I can reach my goal of becoming debt free as soon as possible.
Low cost Christmas. If you have read any of my posts about preparing for Christmas you will know that I am cutting right back this year in order to help my debt total come down further, even over the festive period. We won’t be hosting Christmas Day this year and that will save us a lot of money alone. We have also suggested a pot luck style dinner and drinks at ours with friends on the 23rd, saving us the expense of a night in town.
Gifts do tend to take up most of the budget though. Secret Santa’s, lots of price comparisons, cashback and affordable hampers are all going towards my efforts for a frugal Christmas. Doing a secret Santa with siblings in both of our families has been particularly helpful in reducing the number of presents we will be buying this year. It will save us all a lot of money and it actually means that we will all receive something that is more thoughtful instead of something cheaper and silly.
Ditching the coupons. HUH?! Aren’t coupons supposed to save you money? Well yes…if you are planning on spending money in the first place. For a while we ordered our weekly shop online from Tesco and it worked really well. We’d have it delivered on a Monday ready for the new week and the new meal plan. It would stop us from picking up things we didn’t need. We would even get regular coupons through the door saving us a lot of money.
The catch was that we had to spend £40 in order to get free delivery with many of the coupons having an even higher minimum purchase requirement. On the way home one day my better half decided to try Aldi, our old favourite. As he had no set total to reach he ended up spending a lot less than we would online.
Now that Christmas is on its way the high value coupons are coming through the door. The latest one was £10 off when you spend £70 or more. That’s great if you have a big shop planned but they won’t be enticing us. The fancy catalogue looks beautiful, don’t get me wrong. This year however, we’ll be sticking with Aldi and spending on just what we need and not a penny more.
Drawing the curtains. As the nights drawn in and it gets colder and colder we’ve been closing the curtains in the evenings. I’ve just checked the temperature outside today and it is 1 degree. Brrrrrrr! Normally we would just close the blinds for some privacy but the living room feels so much cosier when the curtains are closed as well. Of course, this has the added benefit of keeping the room warmer too. I’ve written a post about saving money on your heating bills and I’m sure you know this already, but even pulling that small bit of fabric over your windows can make all the difference.
Buying soft drinks. This month I’m making a lot of effort to be healthy, both to help my weight and in preparation for an indulgent Christmas. As part of this I’ve not been drinking alcohol at all in November. Honestly, I thought this would be a bigger deal in terms of the old FOMO and struggling with having a soft drink whilst friends were enjoying some wine. Honestly, the impact it has on my waist line AND my pocket has been a much bigger shock.
If, like me, you’re in the habit of having several drinks over an afternoon and evening spent with friends you will know how quickly that bar bill adds up. Often I’ll come home on a Saturday at least £50 lighter and that’s with both myself and my better half contributing. This month however, I’ve been opting for water mostly. This past Saturday alone I saved around £30 as a result. In ONE day. Whilst I will be drinking again in December the quantities will be a lot smaller than usual and I know my health and my bank account will thank me for that!
Simple and affordable home decor. For a while now I’ve felt like we needed to do something with our living room. It was decorated last year a few months after we moved into the house, frugally of course, but it has always felt a bit unfinished. The cushions we had on the sofa were a bit of a mish-mash and the amazing 50s unit we have in the corner just looked a bit empty. We took a quick trip to Ikea, predictable but reliable, to look for some inspiration.
One hour, lots of walking and two portions of Swedish meatballs later and we had our answer. We came home with five cushions in a mix of dark grey and a really deep green colour which finish off our sofa and chair perfectly. We also picked up an ivy and a fern, both in simple pots which match the decor. They add a bit of life to the room and tie it together so nicely. The cherry on the cake? We spent no more than £25.
There they are, my Five Frugal Things for the month of November. You can read last month’s post here.