I know that right now that finances suck for some of us!
We have a mixture of friends that are still working, some furloughed and others unemployed. Sheesh, Lord, help us!
Hubby and I totally appreciate how fortunate we are to still have our jobs and to be working from home, but we can never be sure how long that will last.
Within the ministry I work , a lot of the work I usually do is not available, so I’ve already taken on work that doesn’t sit within my usual duties. To be honest, I don’t know how long that will last either!
So, at the beginning of lockdown we decided, to put our heads together, do some calculations and come up ways we could save money for an even rainier day!
1) We’ve calculated what we are not spending on travelling
As hubby usually works and lives in Folkestone and while I’m part-time at our main home in Northampton, we spend a lot of cash travelling to-and-fro. We calculated how much we spend between that us and instead of allocating it elsewhere, we’ve shoved it in a savings account.
Think about the money that you are saving from petrol money, bus and train passes, and even if you can’t keep it all try and put a portion of it aside.
2) Reduced takeaway collections and deliveries
I’ll be honest, eating out is one of our favourite pastimes. Since the lockdown, many eateries are moving to an online delivery service, via apps like Just Eat and Deliveroo! But we are resisting the temptation! Rather than ordering in, I’ve googled and asked friends for the recipes for some of my fave dishes.
So far, I’ve mastered 3 of my favourite Nigerian dishes. I’ve perfected a banging Chicken Chow mien. I mean it tastes just like the one from a Chinese takeaway and the best fakeaway McDonald’s breakfast muffins. (Just in case you want to know, I have double sausage, and egg McMuffin and hubby has bacon and egg McMuffin both double-loaded with cheese. (You can check them out here in my story highlights! Yum!!!)
Not only is buying the ingredients and making them at home savings us big bucks, but you’ll also get more portions for your money if you make them yourself!)
3) Homemade lunches save a small fortune
Back in the office, one of my favourite phrases was “I’m going to eat healthy today”. But my friend & colleague Heather (miss you Hev) will vouch that I usually ended up at the ‘fat-van’! Fat-van wasn’t its real name. However, it’s what we called this mobile food van that came around every day, tempting us into buying sausage rolls, cheese and onion pies and monster munch! (Tempting us and usually succeeding I might add.) Shortly after the fat-van left, the Marks and Sparks van popped by too.
One of my colleagues bought an M&S lunch almost daily. We calculated his average yearly spend on lunches at £1410. That’s not included the Starbucks.
Now calculate how much money you’re saving on shop-bought lunches? Can that be reduced by making your lunches at home? If yes, stick any money you can save into your rainy-day pot!
4) I love yellow sticker shopping
To be honest, even when we’re not living through a pandemic, I love a bit ‘a yella’ sticker’ shopping. Next time you go into a supermarket look for all the yellow stickers that indicate an item has been reduced. In shops like Morrisons, Tesco’s and Asda, they usually have a fridge dedicated to reduced goods. Sometimes they are near their sell-by or use-by date, but we simply cook them straight away or shove them in the freezer! I love that bargain buzz I get when I know I’ve chopped the cost of my shopping down by 2 thirds! Plus, it also stops that food from going into food waste, so not only are we saving money, we are helping the planet too!
5) Negotiate with utility providers
This is my husband’s area, and he’s excellent at it. He’s always looking for deals, and he’s a champion at negotiating with our providers. Right now, providers just want to keep you, so strike while the iron is hot. If you have a contract that needs renewing, don’t be afraid to push for the best deal or shop elsewhere. Haggle haggle haggle!
6) Cancelled the subscriptions we don’t/can’t use
How many of you didn’t actually use your gym membership months before the lockdown even start! Guilty! I cancelled my gym in exchange for some free YouTube workouts and activities like gardening! Most gyms these days will also allow you to freeze your membership temporarily!
Are there any other subscriptions you can cancel?
7) A D.I.Y beauty Regime & Self-Care Sunday
Now that lockdown has stopped most us from being able to get our monthly, weave, highlights, braids, steams and treatments, D.I.Y options should be saving us some bucks. Threading sessions, facials, eyelash extensions and moustache waxes at the beauty spa, should all be on hold, so grab your old tweezers from the bottom of your make-up bag and hold onto those pennies you’re saving too!
Before I did the big chop on New Years Eve 2019, yes I shaved off all of my hair (but that’s a whole other blog post), my beauty-bill was HIGH! Whilst I don’t buy a lot of make-up, my husband was shocked to find out my salon visits could cost anywhere between 10 to 15 times more than his £10 hair cut!
Dominic and I usually travel for our wedding anniversary. We celebrated our third anniversary last month. Yay! Well done us! We saved a lot of money from not travelling and instead, at a fraction of the cost, Dom bought me a Tropics Skin Care package which I LOVE. Self-care is still a priority and staying hydrated on the inside and the outside is super important to me especially as I’m expecting.
8) Sell Sell Sell
While I have some time at home, I’ll finally get those things I’ve been saving for eBay, actually on eBay!
Remember, people are still shopping online and hunting for bargains! As they say ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. People are always looking for gifts, entertainment, clothing and other goodies and probably on a budget. So make the most of it, clear out that closet, basement and loft and tap into your inner wheeler dealer!
You’ve Got This! You are going to make it through!
I hope my little saving tips can help someone out there, but I know times are extremely hard for some of right now and saving is not even an option. If you’re really struggling, PLEASE DON’T STRUGGLE ALONE. Talk to someone. A quick Google will turn up several organisations that can give you free advice on financial support and debt management.
Check out organisations like Christians Against Poverty that upload lots of helpful information. Reach out to your local church and food bank. Let trusted family and friends know about your situation. A problem shared is a problem halved!
And remember to pray! God cares, and God listens! In my past, especially when I was a young single mum of two boys, God turned up for me in miraculous ways in my time of need. He also used me as a miracle (unknown at the time to me) to turn for others during their time of need. Keep praying and keep the faith. There is hope.
You’ve made it through 100% of your challenges before. You can make it through this!
With Heart and Hope,