Have you looked at your bank account lately and felt a slight jolt of alarm? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Money issues are something that almost everyone has suffered from at some point, but there are a few ways that you can make yourself a little more financially secure by cutting back in various parts of your life…
Cook From Scratch
If you’re trying to find a place to cut corners, then cooking from scratch is absolutely it. If you tend to buy your lunch at the coffee shop near work every day, stop that – it’s time to start making sandwiches and salads the night before to take to work from you, along with coffee in a thermal travel mug. In the evenings, stop buying convenience food and ordering takeout – cooking from scratch might take longer but it’s a lot cheaper and in the end it’s a lot more tasty and pure.
Watch Out For Deals
When you’re out grocery shopping, it’s important to keep your eyes open for whatever deals that the store is doing that day. Sometimes at the end of the day, food can be discounted so that it sells before it goes out of date – this can be particularly great with fruits and vegetables, which usually have a few days more of freshness than their best before date proclaims. If there’s a buy one get one half price or similar deal, then just make sure that it’s something that you’d buy anyway – there’s no point in having extra bottles of a shampoo that you don’t use purely because it was discounted! Buying in bulk can often help you save money if you’re in a pinch, so long as you make sure that you have space to store it all, and coupons can often help as well. You could also make sure that you compare different prices of your favourite products at the different stores in your area to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.
Quit The Gym
If you aren’t the most avid gym user in the world then chances are, you aren’t getting enough out of your gym membership and it’s something that you could easily cut out of your life. This time of year particularly, it’s easy to get fit using the great outdoors instead of at the gym – instead of lifting weights or going to spinning classes, why not start hiking? Look up your local beauty spots and enlist your family and possibly your dog (or a friend’s dog!) to accompany you. You could also start doing yoga at home – this can be particularly good for your spiritual as well as physical health. Try out Yoga With Adriene for some great beginners’ videos.
Change Your Providers
Even if you’ve been with your current energy providers for years, it could be time to use a service like Simply Switch to find a deal that works better with your current lifestyle. You could also look for better bank accounts, better credit card deals, and better mobile phone deals – do you really need all that data? It’s time to consider what you and your family’s real needs are so that you can invest in providers and schemes that really work for your life specifically. Make sure that you talk to your bank and your providers to figure out a deal that can work for you – a lot of the time, companies will work with you to figure out something that will work if you can explain what exactly you need.
Stay In At Night
It’s time to change your social life! No one’s saying that you have to see your friends less – on the contrary, seeing your friends and being sociable does wonders for your happiness and general well being. But there are ways that you can save money while you socialise. If you and your partner have regular date nights – and who doesn’t, really? They’re a great way to make the most of your relationship and reconnect with each other – then you might find that they’re starting to get a little pricey. The cost of a babysitter alone if you have kids can be very expensive, plus a restaurant bill, gas, movie or theatre tickets, or whatever else you choose to do – all these costs can add up to make date night very expensive. Cut back a little and spend some more time at home to reconnect. Watch a movie with a bowl of popcorn, snuggled up together in a blanket fort, or spend some time together as you make your favourite dinner. You could even take a trip down memory lane by looking at your wedding albums! If you’re trying to figure out how you could cut back when you go out with your friends, try going out for brunch or lunch instead of dinner. You probably already know that dinner sometimes tends to turn into bars and clubs, which can rack up huge bills! Still – there’s no point in not letting yourself have some fun sometimes…
Lose Your Car
If you live in a city with a good public transport system, it’s time to consider whether you really do need your car or not. If you live out in a rural area then cars are necessary, and if you have kids then cars can often make life a lot easier. But if your main journeys are commuting to and from work, then it’s much better for the environment to take public transport – and it’s much better for your wallet too as you can cut down on car payments, gas bills, and of course however much parking costs you. While you’re commuting you can take some time out to relax and read or maybe even nap – it’s a whole lot more relaxing than driving, particularly if you think about how much money you’re saving!
Save Energy At Home
It’s important to start cutting down on your energy bills at home by making sure that you save electricity. Turn off the lights whenever you leave a room, and make a one time expenditure to improve your insulation so that you don’t need to turn the heating on nearly as much. Adding rugs or carpets to floors is a very easy way to keep your home a little warmer, as is opening the curtains to let sunlight stream into your home. You’ll be tempted to curl up in the warm pools of golden sunlight on your floor just like a cat – and remember it’s also a great source of Vitamin D.
Change Your Fashion
Never fear, if you love fashion then there’s no need to look bad just because you’re cutting down on your expenses. Vintage is always in and it’s time to make the most of that by shopping on eBay and looking through your local thrift stores. Think Rachel and Monica on Friends if you’re looking for a little nineties inspiration – dresses over tight t-shirts, wedges and denim jackets are all very much in and also, let’s face it, universally flattering. You can also look for drug store dupes of your favourite high end makeup products. Skincare can be much harder to dupe, so stick with your favourite brands for that, but brands like e.l.f. and Sleek make some great eyeshadows, highlighters and lipsticks for a fraction of the cost of brands like Mac. You should also check out NYX – not only is it an incredibly cool and well-priced brand but it’s also totally cruelty free, which means you can buy as much makeup as you want while feeling completely unguilty.