Money. Unless you have enough to literally fill a room and roll around in it, it’s sort of like an eternal struggle. We go to work, get paid, pay our bills, spend a bit on having on a social life, then spend the remainder of the month counting every penny and avoiding Starbucks. FUN YAY.
Honestly though, I don’t think it’s all bad. It’s amazing how good you can get at keeping check on your money, and having a good financial head will put you in good stead for the future. When I first moved to Fulham I was constantly alarmed at how quickly money ran out. We don’t pay a huge amount in rent considering the area, it’s just everything else. I mean, who knew how much washing powder cost!?
I’ve become pretty good at being thrifty over the last couple of years, and making sure I can afford to do the things I want to in real, actual life and not just in my head (a dangerous game I do not recommend). So yeah, here’s some ways you can be a bit of a money ninja.
1) Set yourself a challenge. This is one of my favourite ways at attempting to not bankrupt myself. If you’re going to save money, you may as well make it (kinda) fun. I decided to try and not buy new clothes for a couple of months, instead only getting bits from charity shops and on eBay. I did it for three months. Did I become a bit obsessed? Yes. HOWEVER, I was shelling out on average £3 per thing I bought, which is pretty spectacular compared to even flitting to Primark on a Saturday. Another good one is not buying coffee. Sounds simple enough, but when you work in a city and coffee is basically a social activity, it’s scarily easy to chuck away £20 a week skinny chai lattes just because. Obviously, you need to tailor these things to you. But it’s pretty good way to slow down your outgoings.
2) Rounding down your bank balance. This sounds like a bit of weird idea, but I remember being told about it at uni, and when I started working I tried it for a while. Basically, you check your balance a few times a week and if you have say, £236 then you get out your online banking and put £6 in savings, so you round down the balance. It’s amazing how fast it can add up, even if it’s just a couple of pounds each time.
3) Sell things as soon as you decide you’re over them. I’ve made a bloody good amount of money over the past couple of years selling stuff on eBay. It’s all good having a clear out every few months and listing your old unwanted denim shorts and that weird, sequinned crop top you bought hungover, but I find the longer you hang on to things, the harder it gets to be rid of them. You start coming up with scenarios you might need a certain item of clothing for in your head. ‘Oh, I can’t sell this top with lions on because what if I go on safari in the next 2-3 years and then I want something topical to wear and then…’ STOP IT. Once you no longer have strong feelings for it, flog it, then treat yourself to something new from your Paypal balance. You might not save money this way, but you won’t ONLY be shelling out money.
4) This is a classic, but start making bigger dinners and take them to work for lunch. You don’t need to have a soup from EAT or sushi from ITSU every week. You know it, your bank balance knows it, we all know it.
5) Start taking notice of the cost of food shopping. Popping into Sainsbury’s or whatever shop is in the station makes eating expensive, and that makes me sad, as eating is basically my main hobby. If you don’t live near a cheaper supermarket or it’s a pain to get to one, shop online. If you can get to a market, go there for your fruit and veg. You’ll save a bloody packet. Forget paying 70p for a single pepper, at a lot of London markets you buy a basket for £1. It’s basically a modern day miracle. For reals.