Immy’s guide to … saving money

So I’m not poor, but not made of money either. I’ve just received my first ever pay check, and though I often think I’m quite careful with the contents of my bank account, I know that I can do even more to reduce monthly costs. Before I list some tips which have helped me since 2010, thought I’d post a fun video which IS relevant to the rest of this post!

So you may not ever ride on the back of an elephant (and get hi-fived by a super cute kid with a huge afro). This all may seem like common sense, and you probably do all these things already. But it’s wonderful knowing that you’re not wasting money:

1) If you’re in any doubt about buying something, don’t.

2) Make your own packed lunches for work. If you buy ingredients for one whole week, the price per lunch every day is probably more likely to be about £1 rather than the £3 you pay for a Tesco/Sainsbury’s meal deal. And you’re not limited to sandwiches. Just Google ‘lunch box ideas’.

3) Try and plan meals in advance. Avoid buying ready meals all the time, or eating out lots. Unless you are made of money.

4) Embrace your natural hair colour. My hair used to be very blonde, before I realised that I’d save a whole load by not highlighting. I even had ombre hair a couple of times without having to pay anything.

5) Walk or cycle as much as possible. And take the bus instead of the tube/train/tram.

6) Wear your clothes/shoes/bags until they fall apart.

7) Never buy a book/DVD for its full price. Borrow it from a friend, look for it in charity shops, look at offers on Amazon or join a library. If you’re looking for recipes, just look online (BBC Good Food, for example), unless someone gives you a recipe book (of course)!

8) Sell things you don’t want/need/use anymore online.

9) Avoid ordering online unless you get cheap postage. Ask the shop if they can order more in.

10) Ask members of your family if they have anything they’ve been given which they don’t need/want. For example, my Mum has loads of showergel and soap, which she has asked me to use up before I buy any more. Sweet.

11) Apart from meat, buy as much own brand as possible (i.e. Sainsbury’s basics, Tesco value, Boots/Superdrug own brand, or even Waitrose Essentials). I used to think that own brand were the rubbish versions of consumer items. Actually, they’re basically the same as the more expensive and better packaged versions. The deodorant I’m using at the moment is Sainsbury’s Basic roll-on deodorant. It cost me 35p, and it’s pretty good.

12) Charity shops are worth perusing. Poundland or 99p shops are even better.

13) Be wary of special offers. They’re often just ploys to make you buy more stuff.

14) But, there are some amazing deals at the end of the day in most supermarkets in the reduced aisle. Don’t forget to check them out!

15) Use up all the food you buy before getting more. Have staples like pasta and rice in your store cupboard (which you can eat anything with), and come up with your own recipes with the leftovers.

16) If you receive a voucher for your birthday/Christmas, save spending it until you actually need something.

17) Make your own greetings cards.

18) Use old newspaper or magazines to wrap presents instead of wrapping paper.

19) Try and save energy as much as possible – switch lights off when you’re not in the room, turn off appliances when you’re not using them, only boil a certain amount of water in the kettle etc

20) Use student recipe books for cooking. They don’t use expensive/wacky ingredients and are generally easy and less time consuming to make.

21) Invite yourself around to other people’s houses a lot for meals. Or, if you want to have people round, get them to bring pudding/drinks, or pay a bit of however much it costs you to make the main course.

22) Use Youtube and Spotify to listen to music instead of iTunes.

23) Use catch up TV players online (iPlayer, 4OD etc), instead of splashing out on a TV licence.

24) If you’re catching a train somewhere, see if your friends are going too, and you can get a groupsaver ticket. Or even better, book trains as far in advance as possible, as the later your buy them, the more expensive they are.

25) Wait for films being shown in the cinema to come out on DVD, and then wait until they’re reduced even further to a fiver near the supermarket checkouts.

26) If you’re a student, take full advantage of all the discounts you can get.

27) If you’re below the age of twenty-five, get a 16-25 railcard – it’ll save you a bomb if you’re travelling around the country.

28) Use up all your shampoo before buying more. Often if I see a new shampoo advertised, I really want to get it as soon as possible to try it. But, if it’s good, it’ll still be on the shelves by the time you finish. Be patient.

29) If you use hairbands and hair clips, have a cup by your bed you always put them in at the end of the day, so you don’t have to keep on buying more.

30) Don’t forget to brush your teeth and floss and mouth wash and all that jazz. The dentist is a lot cheaper (and less painful) when you look after your teeth and don’t have to have fillings.

Please comment below if you have any more!

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