January left us feeling cash-strapped and it seemed like the stretch to payday was just too far away to cope. When times are tough and you find yourself scraping together the pennies, you need to implement some cost-effective plans to get you to the end of the month.
With Blue Monday over (thank goodness) and Januworry finally coming to an end, here are some tips to get you through the next week that’ll save you cash.
Walk vs bus – we may not be able to cut out public transport, but we can save on a few bus rides. If you have a walkable distance, why not dress warmly and get in a few extra steps before the day has begun? For the Kingston students, if you must bus it, try to make use of the free KU buses.
Pack lunch – buying ‘meal deals’ every day adds up. A simple packed lunch can save you plenty a pound and you can throw in some healthy options too. Sandwiches are reasonable and can be jam-packed, winter salads are a win, and even dinner leftovers work wonders if you have access to a microwave (PS: KU students, there’s one in the SU at Penrhyn Road).
Buying coffee – this is a no-no. Yes, many of the local cafés and the university have cheap options and you may be getting closer to redeeming that free coffee on your app, but it quickly adds up and is just as easy to cut out altogether (plus be eco-friendly). Brew at home: plunger or Aeropress produces perfectly stimulating (and delicious) coffee. Keep it instant: although a crime against coffee connoisseurs, there are some half decent instant coffees out there AND you can make a whole flask of the stuff to really keep you going. I would recommend trying Nescafé Azera.
Bottled water – bring a reusable bottle to work or university and fill it up at water fountains throughout the day. Save money and reduce waste. Win-win.
‘No spend day’ – once a week, dedicate one day to not spending at all (barring travel). You’d be surprised how difficult it can be, but it’ll help develop that saving mindset.
Carrier bags – it may only save a few pennies, but you’ll be doing good for the environment and not adding another bag into the ‘bag bag’. Pack a carrier into your handbag/backpack and you’re on your way. Here’s a guide to easily fold your plastic bags.
Weekend get-togethers – instead of hitting the clubs or visiting the pubs, spend some quality time with your friends. Go for a walk around the hood, have a picnic, meet for coffee, not cocktails, throw a little house party and check out this Spotify playlist to get the good vibes flowing.
Open a savings pot – in the long-term, saving for a rainy day can be easy. Various banks offer a ‘savings pot’ linked to your personal bank account that automatically rounds up every transaction to the nearest pound and saves the extra change in the pot without you even noticing it (Monzo is great at this).
Freebies and deals:
Rewards cards/apps – sign up to your local haunts for points, rewards and the occasional cashback.
Free coffee/tea – get yourself a Waitrose card, buy one item instore, swipe the card and claim a free cup of coffee every time.
Big Mac and fries for £1.99 – be sneaky and get your burger fix for cheap-cheap. Using a previous Maccers receipt, fill in a customer satisfaction survey online and you’ll get a code (write it on the receipt) that can be used to claim your discount the next time you visit. Do the same thing with the next receipt and enter the infinity loop of cheap meals.
And use your email to sign up for Latest Free Stuff’s freebies and get emails every day with the latest savings and freebies. Check out their top 20.
Whether you’re recovering from the Christmas spread or aiming to be thriftier for the long haul (‘new year, new me’), saving a few pounds where you can is always a good thing, so try these out and let’s make it a Frugal February.
If all else fails: Patreon.
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