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.
Getting a railcard at 28. When I was younger the 16-25 railcard was an absolute staple for me. Whether I was catching the train into town or travelling 200 miles to see my boyfriend, it saved me a lot of money over the years. Of course when I turned 26 I had to give it up and face full price tickets…imagine!
Well, the wonderful folks at national rail have recognised that 26-30 year olds often find themselves skint too and have brought out a new card to help save us 30%. I’ve just booked a trip in April and I’ll be travelling by train. Initially the tickets were going to cost me £110, but with a bit of searching for the best deal and the railcard on top I’m paying just over £50! (I’m also in no way affiliated with national rail, I’m just really excited to be saving that much money!)
Fakeaways. On days when my mood is riding its own special roller coaster, or when we’re just tired an can’t be bothered cooking, takeaways have become a bit of a go to in my house. We don’t have loads, but more than I’d like to for the sake of both my bank account and my waist line! To help reach a compromise we’ve decided that fakeaways are the best option.
We already make curries, stir fries, fried rice dishes and our own pizzas which helps massively but sometimes you just want the most basic, throw in the oven option. As an alternative we’ve also put some chicken goujons in the freezer. Add some homemade sweet potato fries and a favourite sauce on the side (and a big salad if we’re feeling fancy) and we’ve got a dinner that takes very little time and hits the spot without being majorly unhealthy or expensive.
Using an old phone. My other half recently had to send his phone away to be repaired. He bought a new phone with the intention of selling the repaired handset but never actually got round to listing it on Ebay. When I was in the process of purchasing the aforementioned railcard for myself I realised that I wasn’t actually going to be able to use it. My current phone is…well, rubbish.
My plan had been to save for a new phone, but with my debt payments dominating my finances I wasn’t too hopeful that it would happen any time soon. Without any prompting, my other half offered me his old handset. He’d rather it was useful to me than sell it to someone else. I can’t tell you how grateful I felt. It saves me the worry of saving, allows me to get the railcard and connects me to the world a little better too.
Turning the heating down. This one is so simple but it will make such a difference. The weather has started to get a little warmer in the UK. It’s glorious! OK, we’re not quite in the summer yet but I’ve been going out without a jacket on, sunglasses have been needed in the car and I’ve actually found the house too warm some days.
This means that we no longer need to have the heating coming on three times a day to stop icicles from forming under the tap! …this is an exaggeration, but it has been bloody cold. We’ll still keep it on for a small amount each day for another month or two, but even so our energy bill should drop nicely in March.
Wedding shoes for under a fiver. In a couple of months I’m getting married. Weddings are notorious for being expensive, especially when it comes to the bride’s dress and accessories. Well I am here to crush all of the rumours. You do not need to spend a fortune on your wedding items. You don’t even have to spend a fiver.
Wandering round the shops this morning picking up the odd thing like shampoo and conditioner I thought it would be worth my while popping into Matalan for a nosey. I knew I was going to need to find my wedding shoes soon, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted yet. After a scan of the boot and sandal heavy shoe department (they must be transitioning from winter to summer) I was ready to give up when I spotted them. I got that feeling you get in your gut when you just know. Without even planning it I had found my shoes. The cherry on the cake? They cost me four pounds. FOUR!