A lot of us dread the end of the month, when most of us are holding on to the last of our pennies. It can be quite difficult having to wait for the next paycheck to arrive and not having emergency income for the times you need it most. We can often complain about not having a big enough income but when it’s not an option to increase income, we can look at our spending to find out where we can make some savings. It might sound impossible to live off only half of your salary each month, but read on to find out how.
Start At The Beginning Of The Month
Whether it’s saving money, cutting down on food spend or looking for cheaper leisure activities, always start at the beginning of the month when you get paid so that you can organise your month from the get-go. It’s also really useful to keep a spending diary to see where your money is going. We suggest keeping a spending diary for one month, working out where you can save, and then having a go at living on half your salary the next month.
Put a percentage of your income into your savings straight away
Invest in your future by placing as much as you can realistically afford in a savings account that you don’t easily have access to. Avoid getting a card for this account so you’re not persuaded to shop. You can set up a standing order every month so that your money goes straight into your savings and you no longer notice it leaving your account, meaning that when you check it after a year or so you could surprise yourself with how much you’ve saved up!
There are so many great supermarkets out there today that can provide you with quality food on a budget- Aldi and Lidl are significantly cheaper than some of the larger supermarkets but still offer quality, fresh produce. If you want to compare the price of a particular product, head to mysupermarket.co.uk – the site also displays the best deals each day from all 15 major supermarkets. Remember, you don’t have to do all your shopping in one place; if you are doing your shopping in Sainsbury’s but you know you can get chicken for considerably less in Tesco, then pick it up from there instead. It’s also important to set a clear budget for your monthly food shop and avoid grabbing dinner on the way home and unnecessary snacks at lunch- they all add up! And finally the golden rule- never going food shopping when you’re hungry.
Supermarkets and Cheap Eats
Always go to a supermarket with a list! If you haven’t got a clear agenda of what you are buying when you go to a supermarket you will soon be lured in by every deal and treat possible. stick to your shopping list! The tinned food aisle can be invaluable for when you’re looking to cut costs- lentils and beans are super cheap food cupboard staples and can be really versatile, serving as the base for curries, chillis and soups.
Stop The Morning Coffees
Buying flat whites every morning may look like just a few coins each day, but the average morning coffee habit costs £60 a month! Making your own coffee in a flask is a far cheaper alternative, and you can make your coffee just how you like it. You’ll also be helping the environment by not using a paper cup each morning. Rather than splashing the cash at coffee shops, treat yourself to a good quality brand at the supermarket; it shouldn’t cost you more than £5 pounds and guaranteed to last you more than a week (depending on the severity of your coffee habit of course…). The same applies to lunchtime meal deals; at £3-5 a pop, it’s fair easier, healthier and cheaper to prep lunch for the week on Sunday evenings, or to make a sandwich the night before, so you’re not in a mad rush in the morning.
We can’t say this enough- if you really want to save money and make it on half your earnings, take the time to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal on all your utilities, savings and repayments. If not, make sure you switch- you could save yourself hundreds of pounds a year.
Save on Eating Out
Sometimes when you’re trying to save money it can feel like all social activities and ‘unnecessary expenses’ are totally off-limits, but that doesn’t have to be the case. OpenTable regularly offers 50%-off deals if you book a table online with them. For diners in Scotland and other parts of the UK, 5pm always has special offers. And Lastminute.com often has good restaurant deals, many of which are up to 50% off the a la carte menu. Groupon is also worth checking out too.