My mind is completely revolving around money at the moment. But not because I’ve got loads of it and am about to purchase my entire ASOS basket. Living alone costs a lot and I am on minimum wage. Therefore, budgeting is vital.
I wanted to share with you how I am surviving on a budget, living alone and still having (some kind of) social life. I am doing things I never considered and it’s benefiting me, hugely. Most of it comes down to a change of mentality.
- Spreadsheets are your best friend. Plan out how much you spend on rent, bills, tax etc pretty much everything that you have to pay and add it all up. Then minus that from your wages, what you have left is what you have to live on. Divide it into weeks and then decide how much you want to spend on food, essentials and social activities. You may not even have enough to do all 3 so you need to decide what’s more important.
- Go back to cash. I take my monthly money out in cash and pop it into separate bags for each week of the month (so not to get confused and think I am minted). When you have cash in your purse and you physically see it getting lower, you consider your spending a bit more. When money is on your debit card, it’s not there for you to see. Dealing with cash makes everything easier for me.
- Save the pennies. Any left over money at the end of each week I pop into a pot and save for a rainy day. Sometimes by the end of the week I have £5 left from my weekly budget and that goes straight into the pot. You can view this pot as your extra spending money or a pot for the cost of items you don’t budget for. I use my pot to pay for things like, fake tan and a trip to the dentist. Two odd examples to give but that’s the last two things I paid for out of my extra money pot.
- Don’t buy big name brands. Growing up I was always a bit of a brand snob but actually, supermarket own brands taste exactly the same (within reason of the item anyway…).
- Question your purchases. Are you buying that because you like it or need it? Need should always win over like. I haven’t bought any extra make up, beauty bits or clothes for 6 weeks now because it doesn’t fit into my budget and because I actually don’t need anything. I don’t want to waste my ‘extra money’ on stuff I don’t need. Who am I, right?!
- Invite people over. You’re paying rent you might as well have your friends over when you want to be social. It’s not rocket science to know having a few beers in your garden/lounge is going to be a ton cheaper than going to the pub. Use the space you have.
Let me know if you have any helpful tips on saving money and budgeting. I am still learning and could do with all the help I can get.