Thanks everyone for the comments yesterday. I know looking at your pee most of the day and carrying buckets of rain water around might seem a bit extreme but it’s not always about money. We have to look after this world too, all of us have to do our bit. My blogs this week are for the benefit of people who may have recently started reading or haven’t been following me for long. Between December 2009 and today, we have paid back almost £36K of personal unsecured debt and we took drastic steps to do it. Now, it all seems so easy but some of you who have to go on that journey may still be daunted by it. You will get there. If you’re reading, it’s would be lovely to know who you are and would be fantastic if you left a comment or became a follower.
Today is all about the easy stuff. Let me think about a once upon a time day for me in the distant past. I would go downstairs, open the door and get the milk in, pick up the paper off the door mat and go and eat cereal, with shop bought jam or marmalade and drink premium coffee. I would get to work and get a coffee out of the vending machine, may be buy a pastry or sandwich at lunch time. On the way home, I would pop into a central Sainsbury’s or city centre Tesco metro and pick up something for supper. Sometimes I would already have something at home, but I’d ‘fancy a change’. In the evenings, I might go to weight watchers or the gym and come home and use the Internet without caring what it cost me.
My first start is about the really easy frugal steps we can all take. There are so many but here are just a few that I used and still stick to.
1. Cancel all newspaper and magazine subscriptions. A paper a day and two magazines a week will cost you £624 a year. Now, we only read freegan mags and newspapers. Dearly Beloved commutes by train and will walk up and down the train when he gets on looking for mags and papers. We usually get one or the other every day.
2. If you buy lunch and a coffee a day at work, then you could be spending £840 a year on lunches and £600 a year on just one coffee a day. Take a packed lunch and a flask and save £1240 a year.
3. A cut and colour every other month used to cost me £70 and now I get Foster Mummy to cut it for me and I colour it. The colour I buy is £5 and I colour my hair once a month so I spend £60 a year on my hair. By ‘doing it myself’ I’ve saved £390 a year.
4. Make your own bread. Bread now costs £1.50 a loaf for ‘cheapy harry’ sliced white in some places and as cheap as 80p in others. I make bread for DB’s lunches. I make bread for 17p a loaf and as DB gets through two loaves a week, I’ve saved £138.32 a year.
5. Stop eating out and don’t buy take aways. We used to have a take away every Friday, either fish and chips or a ‘Chinese’. We could easily spend £15 to £20 a week, especially if we had a bottle of wine every Friday. As we don’t do this any more, we saved £1040.
I don’t miss any of the above, I don’t need them either and I now don’t know how people fall for the ‘you’re worth it’ marketing, which is actually saying ‘just give us your money for stuff you don’t need’. If you’ve added all of that up, in a year I managed to save, or should I say, stop spending!!! the sum of £3432.32 a year and if you know your tax codes, you will have worked out that it would have taken £5000 before tax just to spend that amount of money.
We still eat well, I still ‘have my hair done, I still have ‘artisan hand made bread’ on my table, we still read newspapers and magazines, we still eat every day but now we do it at a fraction of the price.