The Money Saving Diaries #1 (The Life and Times of a Millennial Attempting to Save Money)
A millennial attempting to buy a house? Impossible. Laughable. Never going to happen. But hey, it’s a goal.
Just over a year ago, I wrote a post on here about how I was trying to apply minimalism to my finances. It genuinely worked and by embracing the reality of an attempt to ‘have less stuff’, it genuinely paid off and I managed to get everything in check again. In short, a couple of years ago, I was in a position where I was spending more than I earned in order to present a type of lifestyle that was inspired by the endless hauls of youtubers.
But a year on, I’m in a position where I’m no longer avoiding looking at my bank account, I don’t have an overdraft (despite being a student), and I’m starting the process of saving for a house.
So as the first instalment to this series, I thought I’d lay down the ways in which I’ve built a groundwork for saving money. And it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.
Watch your food spend.
I could very easily end up eating takeaway for dinner every night. With Deliveroo and UberEats at my fingertips, I often find myself scrolling through the endless food options. But by enforcing a budget and shopping at supermarkets like Aldi, by keeping my food spend to a minimum and taking a cash only approach, has really helped. I set a weekly budget, and stick to it. This doesn’t mean that I refuse to eat out – it just means that if I’m eating out, it has to fit in my budget, which either means a week spent of eating everything that has been sat in the freezer for the past 4 months, or simply being more frugal with my food shop than usual. (Sidenote: every time I’m unable to shop at Aldi, I realise how cheap it actually is. Switching from a big name to Aldi or Lidl is the first step to making a difference!)
Cheap accommodation - don’t rent by yourself.
I’m a lodger – which means I rent a room in a house where other people live. Renting these days is so expensive that I’d highly suggest sussing out how the comparison between renting a room and renting a flat. Because I rent a room, it means that I’m not only paying far less than I ever would renting, but I’ve also eliminated all the deposits and fees that come with renting. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means an end solution – but I’ve given myself a max of 2 more years here before I need to buy a house.
It definitely has it’s downsides and means that I can’t really have friends over – but it’s in a great location and it’s ultimately going to help me get a house sooner.
Avoid online browsing.
In all honesty, many an evening this week has been spent online browsing – from furniture to clothes to accessories, my browsing history is full of it. And I’ve had to reel myself in – because I unfortunately occasionally get that “now now now” mentality in my head. So I’ve had to stop. I don’t have any shopping apps on my phone, and have actually blocked several key websites from my computer to stop the browsing. Fortunately the only purchase has been related to my work wardrobe for September, but I know myself, and know my trigger points. Online browsing may seem harmless, but know your weaknesses, and avoid them at all cost.
I regularly annoy my friends by texting them about how I’ve spent my weekend cleaning and decluttering, but it’s something that I find therapeutic. Not only is it therapeutic, but it’s a great way to earn a little bit of money on the side. Every change of season, I go through my wardrobe to make sure I’m wearing everything, going with the rule of whether I’ve worn it in the past 90 days or will wear it in the next 90. Thankfully, along with not buying things, means that my wardrobe isn’t very big to start with, but the odd item doesn’t get worn. Obviously the 90 day rule doesn’t apply for occasion wear or specific items, but it’s a good mind-set to have.
I also find as a blogger, I get sent quite a few items, so regularly make sure to avoid accepting something I won’t use, or purging my beauty stash regularly and passing on items to friends.
Because I’m renting a room, I try to keep my ‘things’ to a limited amount as I’m regularly aware that everything I buy or have, will have to be moved eventually!
Supplement your income if possible.
You may notice that occasionally I post sponsored content, whether it’s a guest post, or an active campaign that I’ve worked on. Because I’m currently in the final stage of my Masters, I don’t have a job outside of blogging, so I’m taking all the relevant opportunities I can get in order to adds to my currently limited income.
If you’re not a blogger, it may be worth seeing if you can get a Saturday job or take on freelance work – everyone has different gifts. When I used to do temp work over the summer, I would take on as much overtime as possible – perhaps you could do similar.
Living in a society where house prices are almost unattainable, I find it really important to have a clear set of ground rules in place before starting saving. If you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey, you may notice that I’ve adapted some of his ideas too. But with the goal of a house and a 2 year plan in place, I have that end goal – a goal which is hopefully achievable!
So there we go – the first instalment of my money saving diaries. Stay tuned for the next one – and hopefully some free resources to help you stay on track too!
What are your tips to saving money?