Two months ago, my boyfriend Tom and I decided that we were going to embark on a ‘low buy’ ‘super saving money’ year. Whatever label you want to put on it, between July 2019 and July 2020 we have set a goal that we will not be spending money on anything besides the essentials, in a bid to save enough money for the deposit on our first home by the end of next year.
So with that in mind, there are some specific items that we have managed to completely cut from our monthly budget and I will be sharing these things with you in this blog post. If you are also working towards a particular savings goal, then you might want to consider removing these items from your monthly spend too.
8 Things We Cut From Our Budget to Save £10,000!
I think that I speak for the majority of us when I say I have way too many clothes. More than I even get a chance to wear. I wear the same select few outfits to work every week, and spend most of my weekends in a t-shirt and leggings. I have plenty of nice dresses and tops for the occasional event, birthday party or wedding that I attend, therefore there is absolutely no reason for me to be adding to my wardrobe.
I used to spend at least £100 a month on clothes, and Tom also liked to treat himself a fair bit. The only reason we will be allowing ourselves to buy clothes over the next 12 months is if something breaks and is beyond repair.
Estimated annual saving – £1500
I am a total sucker for wandering around the shops aimlessly, and purchasing random little knick knacks for my home. Anything from photo frames, to ornaments, to more towels?! I don’t even have the space left in my home to display or store these items at this stage. I would easily spend £20 every few weeks on things for my home.
However, for the next 12 months we won’t be spending any more money on items for the house. If I am feeling desperate to update the decor in our home, then I will find something to DIY to make the space feel fresh.
Estimated annual saving – £480
EATING OUT & TAKEAWAYS
This is the biggie. When we were looking through our finances deciding which areas we could cut back on, I saw that the last three months I had consecutively spent over £300 a month on lunches, coffees, takeaways and dinners out. Tom wasn’t much better: spending somewhere around £100 every month on food out and about.
I felt physically sick at the idea of that when it hit me. I thought I was mistaken at first, but when I actually looked through my bank statement, I realised that the sandwich and sushi for lunch every week, Saturday and Sunday morning trips to the bakery for breakfast and Starbucks coffee addiction where costing me hundreds! What feels like a few pounds here and there makes such an impact on your monthly spend.
Now we both take lunch to work, carry a bottle of water when we go out and and invite family and friends over for dinner rather than visiting restaurants.
Estimated annual saving – £4800
UNNECESSARY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
Between us we had a number of unused subscription services that either were not being used, weren’t worth the money or were available elsewhere for free. The subscription services that we were able to cancel were:
- Apple Music: we got this for free via our phone contract: £9.99 per month each
- Cineworld Unlimited (cinema subscription card): wasn’t being used, £17.90 per month each
- 2nd Amazon Prime account: I’d signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel and we already have an account in Tom’s name, £7.99 per month
- NOW TV Entertainment & Cinema Passes: weren’t being used; £11.99 & £7.99 per month
- Colouring game app which I can’t remember the name of: I signed up for the free trial, never used the app and then forgot to cancel £12.95 per month
So please take a look through the direct debits that you are paying for! I guarantee there will be something that is being debited from your account every month that you are either unaware of or have forgotten that you signed up in the first place. Then look through your other subscriptions and ask yourself if you are really getting the value for money with these items.
Estimated annual saving – £1100
I never used to be much of a reader, however since the start of 2019 I have really enjoyed reading books as a way to learn new skills and improve my personal-development. While this has had a huge benefit on my life and mind-set, I was spending a lot of money on books that I could just as easily borrow from the library free of charge. So last month I got myself a library card, and have been enjoying my reads even more so now I know that they aren’t costing me a penny!
The library is also a great place to pick up DVD’s, Blu-rays, magazines and other items that you might only want to use for a limited period of time. I am lucky that my library also has free computer access and WiFi for one hour every day, and other computer programs and services that can be hired for a very low fee such as printing and scanning, Photoshop, video editing and more.
So make your way down to your local library and see what they have to offer! They may offer services that you had no idea about and you might find that mixing in your community is also a great way to meet new people and make friends.
Estimated annual saving – £240
I estimate that I spend £200+ on Christmas decorations alone last year. Admittedly, it was mine and Tom’s first year in our own home so we hadn’t yet acquired the collection that a lot of established families may have.
However, with the mix of Christmas, Halloween, Easter and summer decorations and trinkets that I have purchased over the last 12 months, reusing what I now have for the year ahead will definitely contribute a decent amount towards our savings goal.
Estimated annual saving – £200
I know I already mentioned home-wares however, I need to give this one its own category because the extent of my candle addiction was absolutely shameful! I, like many women, love for my home to smell lovely! Nothing gives me more of an ego boost than to have guests over, and for them to walk into my home and tell me how great the place smells.
At the beginning of every month I would buy about £20 worth of new candles, and then throughout the month I would still buy more to add to my ridiculous collection.
I have recently purchased an oil burner which I am using to give my home that nice, fresh smell that I so love. I buy essential oils from eBay, add a few drops to my oil burner and allow the scent to travel through my home. Four bottles of oil lasts me at least two months and costs around £6!
Estimated annual saving – £300
This might not apply to everybody, but in the city I live in, you have to pay to park everywhere. If we want to take a wander around town on the weekend it costs a least £2.50 to park the car for a couple of hours. Parking at certain shopping complexes costs money and as for parking at places such as the train station and hospital etc, this can cost £10 a session depending on how many hours you’ll be staying!
We have changed our habits and now whenever we are planning a visit somewhere or taking a trip into town, we make sure to leave an extra ten minutes early to park on a residential road for free and then walk the rest of the way. It’s a great way to get in a bit of exercise too.
Estimated annual saving – £200
To Finish Off…
Cutting each of these items from our annual spend really hasn’t made much of a difference to our day to day life and has saved us almost 20% of our annual household income!
I really encourage anybody who is looking to save money to take a step back and evaluate where you are spending your money. You might be shocked at how much money you could save!