Money Saving Tips

Looking at my salary is actually quite depressing – Compared to those around me I seem to be earning a relatively low wage for the hours I put in, yet I still get people wanting more hours for less money, and that’s even if they even decide to pay up at all! Times are tough for everyone I guess, but working freelance, as I do, is unquestionably an extremely risky business indeed! I wouldn’t have it any other way though and I’ve even manged to increase my wage year after year. I’ve always been someone who loves to work to my own set of rules, and working from home gives me the freedom that I need, to be a much more productive person.

Even though I’m a relatively low earner, I still manage to make the most of life. I’m sure that a lot of people we know actually think we are rolling in money because we manage to fit more into our schedule than they may think they can afford themselves. It’s not easy, but with careful spending and a few tricks here and there, you can achieve a whole lot more than you could ever imagine – All without any Fagin type pick-pocketing!

Here are some of the ways I manage to make savings in my life…

1: I don’t have children – An odd way to save, but a conscious decision we have made, so that we can live our lives to the max on what little salaries we have. I’m fully aware there is often ‘no right time’ to have children, but even on our combined salaries I don’t believe the time is now. (I’m also not much into dirty nappies)!

2: Home swapping – Regular readers of my blog will know I’m partial to a bit of holiday home swapping. Since I left school, I’ve loved to travel and these days I’m not much up for the youth hostels that I used to frequent! Home swapping offers us the chance to travel at a fraction of the cost – Rather than taking a holiday every few years, this opens the doors for us to travel to prime locations at least once a year, sometimes even twice. There’s no time to be possessive about your home if you want to travel more than your budget will allow.

3: I shop around – I have pretty expensive taste and often can’t afford many of the things I want, however if something genuinely catches my eye then I will happily spend hours, even days searching for it online. Combining voucher codes with hours of research has resulted in massive savings for many items in our home. Most of the furniture in our home came from ebay… Our best ever bargain was a 99p unit that stands proudly in our lounge! When it comes to clothes shopping, I’m not really one for the sale rack, as I find those clothes never get as much wear as they should. I tend to shop when I get downright angry about having nothing new to wear (not just on a whim) and often when sites offer codes and free delivery. I honestly don’t have many clothes at all and am actually quite happy to wear something over and over again, despite what Alex thinks! If I buy it I really have to love it.

Our 99p find, which stores heaps…

4: I sit in the dark – I don’t actually do this, but I am a bit of an annoyance to Alex when it comes to following him around the house and switching all the lights out. I’m tight with electricity and tight with the heating. When we had a water meter I was also tight with water usage – Luckily we have no meter in our current home, so I’m nagging about that one a bit less… Except of course the hot water, which is linked to the gas!  It all results in pretty cheap household bills and more money to spend on life’s little luxuries. Just add a few more layers, wrap yourself up in a blanket and bust out the hot water bottle! I often use the comparison sites to find the best companies – It truly is a must.

5: Eating and drinking out – I’ve done my fair share of spending a fortune on booze in pubs, clubs and bars, but these days I just can’t justify wasting the money.  If we go out to meet friends, I’ll have a few drinks at home first and then take it a bit easier when I’m out. We often find that we need to get the last train home to save on cab fares and if we are looking to stay out a bit later Alex will drive. Unfortunately for him, I don’t drive, so there’s no taking it in turns in that department.. One day, one day!
When it comes to eating out, we used to do that a lot more than we do now –  Often once or twice a week using vouchers for places like Pizza Express etc. There soon however came a point when we thought that we were missing out on some really nice restaurants, so we packed in the weekly visits and now treat ourselves to a really nice place a few times a year. There’s no way we would be able to afford our annual trip to Heston’s if we ate out every week!

6: I Don’t go to the high street unless I really need to – This one is REALLY hard for me. When you work from home, you can start to get a little irritated with your own company. Fat Cat helped me with this for a while, his company made all the difference, but he has never quite mastered the art of great conversation! Whenever I needed a bit of a reality check, I’d often take a walk down to my local high street, but I’d find that this resulted in me spending money on silly things that I didn’t need. Now we have a puppy I intend to hit the park instead of the shops. We’ll see if it works, but I know for a fact that there will undoubtedly be conversation, as Betsy attracts a sizeable amount of attention wherever we go.

So, there you have it. Just a few of my money saving tips, which allow me to continue living the life of a freelancer, but with a few little treats on the way. There are many more ways in which I manage to save money, but these are probably the most effective for me at the moment.

Do you have any money saving tips that you swear by?

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2 Responses

  1. Sian September 14, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    I am the same about the lights, Ian just leaves them on wherever he goes, even if he is just walking past a room he switches the light on! We now have his son living with us who gets up in the night and turns on the lights, “yeah thanks Oli! Less Christmas presents for you while we spend the extra on electricity” ;) xx

  2. Andrea Peace September 15, 2012 / 8:26 am

    Great posting – made me reflect on how life has changed for us since the recession (a lot less money coming in!). No big answers – small saving approaches – we get by through using comparison sites, voucher codes, shopping in sales for presents and storing them under our bed for up to a year, looking for events that are free to attend (e.g. Foyles author talks, competitions for gig tickets, Open House weekend etc), buying cards in packs, using last year’s calendar as wrapping paper, using Freecycle, selling things on eBay, doing a car boot sale, borrowing holiday accommodation from friends/family, asking family to buy things we really need for Xmas/bdays, oh and using our credit cards a lot more (to get us through to the next month when we pay it off again).

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