I’m what one would call a ‘portfolio worker’. I have several strings to my bow – writer, blogger, digital manager, unpaid servant at home – and my thinking behind that is that, God forbid, if one of those avenues of work dried up (suspect I’ll always be an unpaid skivvy at home mind), I’ll have a back-up.
A back-up plan is incredibly important, especially if, like me, you’re a lone parent. I don’t have anyone else to rely on and that means that I always, always have to be careful with the pennies. Which is really rather annoying as I love spending money! But there you have it, I’m not alone I’m sure, and after losing my home five years ago, I’m just glad we’re safe, secure and have a roof over our heads.
Here are five ways in which I save money.
1. Stop going to cafes
As regular readers will know, I have visited cafes for years. I wrote all my essays for Uni there, found inspiration for blog posts there, I’ve even witnessed several near fights during the infamous ‘You can’t reserve a table in M&S’ years. I would always buy food and drink there of course, not being one of those annoying customers that would make a coffee last 8 hours – consequently, it became damned expensive. So I stopped going for a long time and saved a fortune. Yes, I miss the dirty looks when I get my laptop out, and the constant questions from the old ladies about what I’m doing, but it just wasn’t viable anymore. I now go as a treat, like today, and only when I can afford it.
2. Yellow sticker food
Because I work from home and I don’t have to do the school run anymore, I can go to Tescos, which is literally a 3-minute walk away from home, at the times I know they put the marked down food on the shelves. I don’t buy things for the sake of it, but if we need something for dinner that night, it’s a good idea to go at around 3pm to buy something that is going out of date that day. I also get a lot of our fruit that way … not that Dexter ever eats it.
You may remember me giving away lots of clothes as I grew out of them, and it felt good to do that, and invariably, I normally give my old clothes to charity anyway. But when you’re trying to save money, that’s not always possible. BUT … I just never have the time or inclination to go through the whole rigmarole that is eBay. So I found a brilliant solution. I was introduced to a lady who does it all for me, and we just split the profits! She comes to collect the clothes, lists them on eBay and packages them all up – all the things I hate to do – and then we go 50/50 on whatever we make. In fact, I’ve just messaged her to do another run for me this week.
4. Cashback websites
I started using Top Cashback last year when ordering items online. It is a cash back portal that allows you to earn money for purchases you make online. You can also earn cash for signing up for products, services and websites. For example, whenever I order from M&S, I just do it via Top Cashback and I get a percentage back in cash. You have to wait a few months before they pay out but I think I made nearly £100 last year, and a friend made over £300! It’s great if you’re buying insurance, or holidays, because you’re going to earn more if you spend more. I did sign up to Quidco as well, but that was only because they were doing a deal on Dominos and somehow I resisted the urge to order – incredible really. Come to think about it, I think my bank also does cashback on certain purchases, but I’m not sure how that works – something to look into.
5. Credit Cards
I’m paying off a lot of debts my ex kindly left with me, including credit cards, and one of the thigns I vowed never to do after that relationship ended (apart from actually have another relationship), was never get a credit card again. I see how useful they can be and I manage my money really well, so have no concerns that I wouldn’t be careful, but I do know how easily the balance can rack up by thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll just put it on the card and pay it off next month,’ … and next month comes, and you’re a little short, and it all mounts up. I remember that feeling of having bailiffs knock on my door and of me having to deal with them, so I’m uber careful about any debt I have now and I just won’t take the risk.
If you follow these tips and you’re still short of cash, you could always research the best way to get quick loans, but do your research and find the best deal for you. These are short-term loans that may tide you over but find a reputable lender that cares about their customers.
If you have any other ways you think I could save money, I’d love to hear them. Dexter is bending my ear about taking him on holiday during the summer holidays and after having to cancel our trip to Madrid earlier in the year, I’d love to surprise him. If only to shut him up, love him.
* This is a collaborative post.