So, I’ve accidently got myself into a situation that requires an immediate spending ban. Said situation *might* be because I got a bit too giddy with the payday treats and don’t want to dig into my birthday money too much because then I can’t get an iPad next month and yeah, the biggest first world problems… I know.
For the whole of this week (and next) I’ve been avoiding unnecessary purchases. So far I’m doing alright but I’m probably going to dip into my aforementioned birthday funds for my friends birthday this weekend, and for my weekly (ew, adult life). APART from those things though, I’m not spending a penny. Honest. I’m not even going to have an “omg I have nothing to wear must. go. shopping” meltdown on Saturday. Well, I might, but I’m going to avoid the shopping part and probably end up in the same dress that I wear every other time I have nothing to wear.
Here are my 6 tips for watching those purse strings. Or wallet zip, whatever you carry cash in.
Avoid Boots AT ALL COSTS
Boots is one of those magical stores, a bit like New Look or Primark, where you come out £50 lighter even though you only went in for a packet of cotton wool or a pair of knickers. I’m not sure if they employ layout strategists but if they do… they need a payrise. Seriously. You walk down the hair aisle and before you know it you’re in the makeup section and then you might as well just check out the whole shop because why not, you got paid a few weeks ago, you did your time in the office, you DESERVE this. (even if this does consist of 4 different blushers and 5 new hair products. You do you. Treat yo self).
So basically, if you want to save any money, DO NOT ENTER. Just don’t. Buy your toothpaste from Tesco, grab your tampons from the corner shop, whatever you do just don’t go to Boots. You’ll either leave with an empty wallet or you’ll leave with empty hands and an empty soul to match. Window shopping isn’t fun for anyone.
Don’t use plastic
When things are getting tight, it’s easy for the little purchases to add up ESPECIALLY if you’re paying by card. £3 is nothing until you realise it’s the tenth time this week. Draw out the rest of your budget in cash, that way you’ll be able to see it go down, plus it gives you some leeway time wise for any outstanding card transactions to leave your account. Nowt worse than thinking you’re richer than you are because of late card withdrawals.
Rather than buying lunch on the go, make your own. Most workplaces will have cupboards to store things in, so grab your ingredients at the start of the week then make your dinners just before you eat them to avoid any soggy sandwich scenarios. At the moment I’ve been having cottage cheese with chives, soft cheese spread on sesame seed ryvitas and some baked crisps for my dinner, which works out at less than a fiver for a week’s worth when bought at Aldi.
Determine needs from wants
Let’s get this straight. You need a new deodorant, you want a new perfume. When the budget gets a bit tighter some life’s luxuries have to take a backseat. Whilst ideally you want to replace a product when it runs out, you can manage without a new blusher for a week or two (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a few in your stash to dip into anyway).
Eating on a budget is easier than you think
It doesn’t matter whether you’re more Kale or KFC, eating on a budget can be simple whichever way your tastebuds swing. I’m a big fan of easy, quick meals that can be thrown in the oven after work. One of my favourite things to cook at the moment is tortilla pizzas. Just spread some tomato puree on a tortilla wrap, throw on whatever toppings you like and bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Simple and as cheap as you want to make it. Jacket potatoes are another cheap and easy option, as are omelets or stir frys.
Each week I buy food to take to work for breakfast/dinner, then ingredients for 5 evening meals for two (plus snacks) and I usually spend about £25-30 in Aldi. Lidl is great too, but if you’re nowhere near either of those it can be worth checking out supermarket comparison guarantees – for example I received a £3 voucher back from Tesco the other week because my online shop would have been £3 cheaper elsewhere.
Another quick tip, if you happen to be doing an online shop, google discount codes before you pay for your shopping. Sometimes you can get as much as £15 off.
Make a staggered wishlist
After avoiding Boots, making your own dinners and using every ounce of willpower you have not to online shop, payday can make you feel like the biggest baller in town. Especially if you’ve already mentally spent your money three weeks previously.
Before you go make it rain, though, consider staggering your wishlist purchases over the month. It’ll be harder to resist buying ALL THE THINGS when you finally have the money to, but this way you’ll be able to treat yourself throughout the month, not just the first day.
Making your first and last treats of the month something you really want means you curb the spending itch with the first item, and in order to still have enough money for the other item, you’re less likely to waste your money in between on things you don’t really want or need.
So there’s my top 6 tips on surviving a spending ban. Is there anything I’ve missed off? Have you ever tried a spending ban?