After a plethora of living-on-a-budget shows and fears about the credit crunch and how the world will pretty much end when we stop spending, I decided to embark on a mission. After doing a little research into the idea of not spending money for 6 months to see if it was at all possible, I decided I would give it a go and document my progress for future wanna-be thrift freaks.
I decide to start on 1st July 2013 and I will document my journey with useful websites, tips and thrifty ways to live. Let the mission commence!
Here are my 'rules' for my no-spend 6 month plan. I personally feel like i am thrifty enough already but lets see if i can reduce spending even further!
- Firstly bills, mortgage etc need to be paid and go out directly. These do not count as 'spend' but i will be looking at ways to reduce each bill in turn as i go.
- Food is capped at £100 per month (for myself and husband) thats £25 per week. Again i will be looking to reduce this.
- Petrol will be reduced as much as possible but i have to get to work somehow and it is too far to walk/cycle. Again going to try to reduce the cost here too
- re-use/recycle as much as possible. no buying clothes, treats (chocolate!) coffees etc
- I can buy items IF i can make extra money, for example selling on carboots, ebay or finding money on the floor!
- I have to try and live off freebies!
I have put a bag in the kitchen to collect things that i would throw away but could recycle (e.g steak pudding tins are going to be used for bird feeders, and plastic containers for storing tools etc).
I have also been looking on the floor everywhere for pennies and change which i am collecting in a used coffee jar for my next holiday - every bit helps! It is amazing how much you can actually find.
Well I have picked up so many great tips over the past few weeks, I wanted to share them with you. It has been really hard with the warm weather not to go and buy a nice cold beer or ice cream!
Here are my tips:
1) make a chart of everything you spend. I've done one in four columns. Black what I spend in bills and are unavoidable costs. Red for costs that are avoidable like chocolate! Green for money coming in via car boots or ebay etc and then a blue column on what money I have saved by acting differently e.g picking up and using discount cards or coupons etc. this final column is a real must - it gives you a much needed morale boost if there are any reds on the sheet!
2) take a saving a day, so think right, I am going to get quotes/ do comparisons for gas today, then tomorrow think about cutting the cost of water etc. I had a really productive day looking at food, after making my chart I realised I was running out of bread and had to buy more. Now I've put 2 breads and butters as it happens and I plan to freeze them. This will save me money because the local shop prices are high. On talking of gas/electricity I found the new quotes could not beat the deal I was currently on and so I found myself quite smug at the fact that I was already on the best deal.
3)sign up for freebie sites or cash for survey sites. At first it's really confusing and you get bombarded by apparently free stuff but you have to jump through loads of hoops to get to it and then you find it's not free, it's a prize draw! These things are really frustrating but stick with it. I used my shopping list and looked at the items I spend the most on, for example washing powder, dishwasher tablets. Just look for things that you need and will always buy look for coupons on these items too. I managed to score some free beer and coffee the other day.
4) use free cycle, craft websites and up cycle items. I do not seem to have much look on free cycle. People get there before me, I am in three different groups in my area. However in the past I have been successful, my best freebie was a fridge after mine broke. It was greatly received! Try your hand at making your own gifts/ crafts people appreciate the personal touch and you can make so many nice things, even though i am completely untalented when it comes to creating art, I have made some nice things. Give it a go. I am really into up cycling at the moment. I have managed to convert some Pringles tubs into hamster food storage, a pen holder (much needed in my house!) and a tool tidy. (and no I did not eat 3 packs of Pringles, a friend gave them to me empty)