Hello, my name’s Meridyth and I’m a spend-a-holic.
I'm in my third year of uni (one semester, one month and too many days in to be exact) and by now you’d think I would know how to save money, after all I have been trying to for over 2 years now. So, go on, ask me how it’s going. It’s fine, ask me . . .
It’s not going that’s how it’s going!
I try, I really do, but then I walk into TK Maxx and they have pumpkin candles and they’ve not had pumpkin candles in over a month, and I really wanted another one, cause they’re amazing and my favourite and how could I possibly live without it, y’know???? And then before I know it, by week 3 of SAAS I find myself alone in my room, looking around and trying to figure out where did it all go wrong? Was it those 14 plants I bought at Dobbie’s last week? Was it the book I bought in Waterstones that’s been sat on my desk - unopened - for 2 weeks now? Was it those pumpkin candles?! NO! It was when I thought I could be trusted with my money in the first place, THAT’S where it all went wrong.
That being said I’ve done my research and now know how to save you money. But don’t listen to me who’s sat in Costa with my hot chocolate, my pumpkin candles, and my new outfit that I just bought from Outfit. Instead, trust my words for they are wise.
- Set A Budget - And Here's The Zinger: Stick To It!
I know, I know, it sounds oh so simple and oh so obvious, but until you actually try setting a budget and realising how little money you really have, you won’t understand how difficult it truly is.
That being said, if you do need to save money, a budget is not a bad place to start. It’s fast, simple and easy! Plus, once you get over the initial pain of how poor you truly are (#studentlife), it’s not that bad, ESPECIALLY when you see how much cash you have left at the end of the month, y’know, when you don’t waste all that disposable income on pumpkin candles…
All you need to do is figure out your monthly income, your monthly spending, and how much you want to save, what to keep and what to cut, then just set yourself a weekly budget!
Once that’s all done just sit back, relax, and remember you don’t need the cinema every week, you have Netflix at home.
- Only Spend Money Using Cold, Hard Cash
Look, we all know shopping is fun but spending money is oh-so-hard and oh-so-painful. No seriously - spending money sets off the pain receptors in your brain. And what’s more? Studies have proven that spending hard cash is more painful than using your card or shopping online. Why? Because you actually see the money that you are spending, it’s not just a number in your head, it’s actual notes and coins, we physically see our wallet get emptier and emptier and emptier and that hurts… it really, really hurts…
So stop using your card every time you go into town and start using cash. When you actually have to stop and look at the money you're about to lose it’ll really make you stop and question - do I really NEED another pair of plain black jeans or are the 30 pairs I have at home enough?
And the answer of course will be... yes but I can’t afford it right now so I’ll wait until next SAASmas *sad face*.
There is no need for how expensive jeans are, absolutely none, at this point it’s a
crime! A crime I tell you! I have spent too much of my life going broke in the name of fashion, and most of the time it’s not really fashion, just sweats. Joggers are making me broke lads! It’s not on.
But here’s the thing, you don’t have to go broke for fashion! Stores just care more about earning that extra dolla than they do about the fact that I'm broke. And guys I'm really, really broke…
Anyway! There are 3 main ways to save money on clothes (I mean there’re probably more but I’m only telling you 3 because that’s all I know!)
1. Shop the sales! The jeans I bought today cost me £10 instead of £25, I beat the system just by looking at the sales rack and friend, so can you.
2. Thrift! Why spend £100 on a new jacket when you can go to a charity shop and find one that’s just as cute for £5? It’s also environmentally friendly so you’ll be doing good for your closet while doing good for the planet.
3. Upcycle! Turn old clothes into new! Your old dress could be your new top with only a few snips and stitches - your old clothes can be runway ready once again!
Check out Niamh's article on ethical clothes shopping for more tips on how to save money while helping the planet!
- Set A Goal And Visualize It
I want to go to Prague guys, I do, I won’t lie, it looks cool, many fire Instagram pics have been taken there and the culture just seems fab! But if I don’t change my spending habits I'll barely be able to go to Tesco’s let alone a foreign country (and I live right next to Tesco’s so that’s really saying something)!
So set your money goal, visualise it and then constantly remind yourself of it. Oh so you want a £150 jacket from ASOS, but you can’t afford it due to your candle addiction? BAM - make it your lockscreen! Every time you go to TK Maxx you’ll have to see it and then you’ll put that candle down and be £5 closer to that jacket!
You want to go on a girls trip to Disneyland but can’t because of your crippling addiction to online shopping? SHAZAM - mouse ears EVERYWHERE: on your desk, your walls, your mirror, everywhere. Are you really gonna make a £100 Lush order while looking Mickey Mouse in the eyes? I think not!
Awww you really wanted to eat tonight but decided to nip into Typo on the way home and are about to spend £25 on cool notebooks you don’t need? KABLOWIE - you best put a pic of some really nice food in your wallet so when you’re about to pay, you KNOW it’s at the cost of starvation!
- Stop Browsing
Look I know it sounds stupid, and it’s not a great money saving hack BUT I really wanted to give you 5 tips to save your bank account so I am GOING to give you 5 tips to save your bank account whether they help you or not *dabs*... *cringes*. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, stop browsing, but more than that, stop lying to yourself.
You can tell me till you’re purple that you're just going to ‘browse’ to ‘kill time’ but let’s be real, if you really wanted to kill time then you’d find a seat and watch YouTube videos like the rest of us. Instead of that, you go into a store to look at cute clothes, or books, or candles to find things that you like and want but aren’t going to buy? Please, no, that ain’t it.
What you’re doing is you’re shopping without purpose, you don’t have a plan, you don’t know what you want, so instead you go in and you browse and you pretend that you’re not going to buy anything but somehow a full basket falls into your hands and you’re broke. And don’t lie to me and say that that would never happen because it happens to me all the time, so I know it’s true!
If you have a clear purpose and plan for every store that you go into then you will buy less and be there for less time, not only saving you money, but saving you time too.
So there you have it! Those are my top 5 tips on how to save money! Please learn from them and try to do better than me so that you don’t have to live off of less than £50 until SAAS comes in next (#donttellmymother). Good luck, best wishes, and may the sales be ever in your favour.
A broke gal
Update: It's officially been a year since I wrote this, and while I still sometimes struggle keeping my shopping desires at bay, I can safely say I have taken my own advice and my bank account looks so much healthier at the end of each month! So take it from me, advice from someone who had no clue what they're doing actually works out!
A slightly less broke girl