A few weeks ago, I posted my first post about how I'm going cash only and aiming to start saving money and I wanted to write up a little post update as to how I'm going because as I write this post, I have gone SEVEN weeks without buying anything that isn't part of my food budget or has been an essential toiletry so I thought I'd break it down and let you know how things are going and how I've been doing it.
I'm not going to lie, when I embarked upon this journey, I was unsure as to how it was going to go. I thought I might have slipped up or might have even had to encounter expenses that threw everything out of whack, but fortunately things haven't been too bad.
Writing Everything Down
This was probably the best thing I could have done. I used the standard notes app on my phone and quite simply, wrote down the exact cost of every receipt. This meant I was directly accountable for everything I bought and made sure I didn't let my spending run away with me.
Going Cash Only.
This was something I struggled with a bit initially as I used to keep my debit card with my bus pass so that I didn't need to drag my purse around but it meant that I lost track of pesky contactless payments. I must confess that I have used my debit card for expenses such as train tickets and travel insurance (as they were online), but other than that, nothing aside from one single Aldi shop has been paid for by card. I find this has made checking my bank statements much easier because there are only withdrawals!
Setting a Budget.
I knew roughly what I could spend weekly, and I do bear that in mind but I didn't have a more rigorous budget in place. It was when I cut down my food shops and went in with a cash only sum, that I really started to being able to knuckle down. I slowly make my way up and down aisles, phone calculator in hand, making sure that as soon as I hit my limit, I'm done for the day. I try to buy most of my toiletries from the same shop I'm buying my food but if I know that I need something that can only be bought at Boots, I drop my food budget by that amount and go from there. I've set my current food budget for under what I can afford which has allowed a slight accumulation for the unexpected.
Bringing Packed Lunch/Snacks.
This is SUCH a big deal but making time the night before to get a lunch or snacks ready for the next day really has made a difference. By knowing I have something healthy and yum, it makes it much easier and also reassures myself that I'm not going to need to spend money... This has also meant keeping a bottle in my bag at all times so that again, I don't need to spend money on water which may only be £1, but it adds up.
Planning for the Unexpected.
As a lovely turn of events, my family have booked to go to the USA after my graduation which has meant buying travel insurance (hello, pre-existing medical conditions) which was £36.44 that I hadn't expected. It's something that needed to be bought as an absolute essential but fortunately because I've been so ruthless, it wasn't a painful expense as I had room for it. I'm also off to visit family in Blackpool, which of course is really important, but train tickets were slightly more than expected so again, I'm glad to have come in under budget and have that slight space for error. Of course these expenses aren't regular but by sticking to my current budget, I should be able to accumulate an amount that will not only help in America but will also cover my new annual bus pass, annual batch of contact lenses and anything else that might crop up.
I'm pretty chuffed with how things have gone so far - they say it takes 21 days to break a habit so reaching this point has meant that I'm really pleased with how things are coming! What more would you like to see in this series? Would you like more figures or just general updates?
Are you on the money saving bandwagon like me?