Are you looking for quick, creative ideas for how to save even more money on expenses each month. Here are some ideas for cutting expenses to the bone, that you might not have already thought of. Some are easier to achieve than others – some may need a structured plan to help you on your way to success. You may be skeptical about how we could ever save this amount per year, but this is tried and tested. It’s a brilliant feeling to have more and more money a month to spend in the way that you chose, rather than feel that it has already slipped through your finger.
1. Learn to live on one income
This was the hardest way we have learnt to save money on a tight budget, but it really works. People who try Dave Ramsey’s approach will testify to this time and time again. See my post about how Dave Ramsey’s cash envelope system works and my approach to it. For us, this happened quite by chance. Mr Budget became unwell and needed rest time completely from working, so we learned to adapt to living off one wage only.
The advantage is that when he started working again, we had learned how to manage on a tight budget, so we were able to use his income for debt repayments and holidays. Now our plan is to build up our savings pot fast and then attack the mortgage finally.
2. Share your house with a lodger
This is the ultimate thing if you agree that you could live with someone else in your house. You can save much more money because you can get up to £7500 tax free on a lodger’s income for a year.
Examples from spareroom.com
Per week Per Month Per Year
Darwen, Lancashire £85 £320 £3840
Manchester £142.50 £570 £6840
Hounslow, London £150 £600 £7200
So that’s a massive increase in disposable income every month! I earned over £500 a month letting out two of my spare rooms. Read my article on how I rented out my spare room, when I had my first house and my tips and tricks for success.
3. Eat breakfast at home and pack your lunch for work
It really shocked me when I added up the potential amount my husband and I were spending on eating out. The money was trickling away, and we hardly noticed it!
This was our average spend a few years ago, before we got tougher with our budget:
Monday £4 £3.50 = £7.50
Tuesday £4 £3.50 = £7.50
Wednesday £4 £3.50 = £7.50
Thursday £4 £3.50 = £7.50
Friday £4 £3.50 = £7.50
Total per person = £37.50 x 4 = £150
Total per couple = £300 a month £3600 a year!
The amazing thing is that by cutting out buying breakfast on the run and packing our own lunch, we have saved the grand total of £3600! To put this in perspective, this is almost two week holidays for us in Lanzarote.
4. Buy a whole cooked chicken or a joint of meat and spread it over 3 days for your lunch
Nowadays Mr Budget has perfected the art of the Sunday dinner – I have to say it is amazing. One advantage of having this, is that we can buy a joint of meat or a chicken to roast. This then reduces our grocery bill, because we use the cooked leftovers to make packed lunches after. Here are two examples underneath:
Cooked Chicken (Aldi) £2.99
This pays for 2 x dinner on Sunday + 5 x lunches total
So price per meal would be: £2.99/ 7 = 43p approx
Cooked Roast Beef Joint (Aldi) £6.00
This pays for 2 x dinner on Sunday + 5 x lunches total
So price per meal would be: £6/ 7 = 86p approx
The beef is more expensive, but provides with variety, as we believe that variety keeps us motivated to reduce our household bills and keep them low. Look at how much you would spend on a lunch – it really is amazing how cheap this is in comparison!
I estimate that my total spend on my homemade lunches is (chicken) 43p + 2p for bread
75p for fruit – so total = £1.20
Over a working week I am only spending £1.20 x 5 = £6 The same as buying only 1 and a bit lunches from my local sandwich shop!
5. Quit smoking
Mr Budget managed to do this three years ago – the main reason being his health. Here is what we have saved as a result:
20 cigarettes every day = £12 x 7 = £84 per week = £336month
Per year , as a result we have saved £4032!
I’m not saying he found this easy, but he was incredibly well supported by the NHS stop smoking service. He took a pill called Champix, which is supposed to block the nicotene-craving part of your brain. The support from the nurse periodically was brilliant because he could describe any issues he was having, but also it gave him motivation to go on. Again, if you picture this in terms of treats – it’s another holiday, or a second hand car, or a hefty chunk of debt paid off!!
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6. If you drink wine, buy a wine box
To reduce our grocery bill further, we have shopped around and have found wineboxes that we both enjoy. These last us up to two weeks and led to a spending cut as shown below.
One box One bottle Two bottles a week (mid week) Bottles a Month Bottles a Year Boxes a Year
(3 bottles) (last 2 weeks)
£9.99 £5.99 £11 £44 £44 x 12 = £528 £22 x 12 = £264
So to summarise, we managed to slash our wine budget in half. To keep things realistic, this is just a representation of what you can save. What we did, was to treat ourselves to one really good, cheap bottle of wine every month, to keep us motivated to save money on our tight budget.
7. Drink at weekends as a treat
Maybe ask yourself the question – do you need to drink during the week? I find now that I am so much more energetic as a result of limiting a drink to weekends. Could you reduce your expenditure even further by doing this also?
8. Buy a bottle of wine at weekend, not individual glasses
A massive money saver over time is to share a bottle, rather than buying individual glasses of wine.
Money Spent Comparison
Wine by Glass Per Night Per Month Per Year Bottle Per Month Per Year
6 x 250ml = £3.50 x 6 = £21 £84 £1008 2 x £12.50 = £25 £100 £1200
As you can see, a saving of £192 on wine is enough to buy your wine boxes for nearly a year, based on the figures above!
9. Convert to reusable items
I now use a microfibre cloth to take off my makeup. It’s as effective as eye makeup remover. The best thing is, there are no harmful chemicals for my sensitive skin. Already I have saved about £20 on throw away eye makeup remover wipes. See my post on beauty products I recommend for sensitive skin, eczema and eye eczema. It’s great if you are looking to save money on beauty products in general.
My present coffee maker is hideous for being a plastic monster. So I have invested in reusable Tassimo pods for my machine. It gives me peace of mind that I am not throwing a piece of plastic away every time I use it, and is also a lot cheaper. Here is an amazing video guide to reusable pods. If you don’t want to make your own, as I didn’t, you can find them for approx £5 on sites like ebay.
Amount saved using reusable pods.
Costa Cappucino 8 pack – £5.50
Coffee – Aldi filter coffee Columbian £2.65 (enought to fill at least 50 pods)
Coffee pods – 2.65/50 = 0.053p per pod. x 8 = 42p
Milk pods – approx 1p each x 8 = = 8p
That’s a saving of £5 every time I have 8 coffees!
Per year = 8 coffees a week *52 = £416 saving just on coffee
10. Walk as Many Places as You Can
Ditch the car and try walking to local places like the town centre. This cut our fuel expenses by around 10%, when we lived not far outside our town. In our new house, we do this every Saturday, and make a point of having a treat coffee as we wander around the market, picking up cheap local fruit and vegetables. The other benefits we didn’t realise of this, until we started doing this was weight loss and also the chance to have a really good chat to each other.
So ten ideas for either saving a packet of money every year that you can start today, but also another idea for potential massive increase in your household income. Has it made you think about the possibilities of how you could save even more money fast and have a better quality of life? Has it inspired you to find a solution for any areas of overspend in your tight budget? Do get in touch and feel free to comment and share your big wins at money saving!