When it comes to money and saving, where do you see yourself? Are you more of a savvy fox, a big spender or slat bang in the middle?
Money in some way shape or form is pivotal in our lives, whether we think about it a lot or not, it is the crux that allows us to live, be it for our basic human needs or extra pleasures we wish to pursue in life.
After an evening well spent discussing and gambling on life goals versus fake money during a Leeds blogger event with the giffgaff gameplan team, the coins and notes that figuratively make the world go round has had me pondering.
Certain you’ve heard off giffgaff before – if not think mobile – well over the past year or so, the giffgaff team have expanded, looking to revolutionize our education, understanding and process of personal finance.
Heading up this mission is the giffgaff gameplan crew who want to ‘help you smash your goals in life’.
As part of their expansion and hub of advice and services, giffgaff have launched an exclusive designed Spend or Save board game, to play a practical game of life. Like Monopoly, you circle the board by rolling the dice, picking you chance cards along the way. You might be dealt a pretty mean expenditure such as that much-needed shopping spree, or actually, be rewarded by receiving a monetary gift for the excellent result of your freelance work.
All the while, whilst still trying to achieve life goals such as buying a car, or a house, getting married and so on. Each had their own perks, whilst balancing the ups and downs that life could throw at you.
The game was fun and unpredictable but managed to mirror reality and show how easy it can be to be out of pocket. Although I made it to retirement age with a decent pot of money, there were a few close calls when my buffer of pennies was tight.
Some players had been hit with crippling debt, scams, illnesses… the works, and were left in the minus numbers. Game over.Two key lessons learnt from this game- a) work towards having a good about of saved up money for bits and bobs and b) really consider life goals and prioritise them on what you can afford and your desire.
Just a game, but definitely food for thought.
I’ve been rather fortunate, and have always felt comfortable with money, both saving and spending. I grew up with a rather simple motto that if you don’t have the money, you can’t have it. At least not until you had the pennies…
And then when you had the money, and you got it, you felt rather proud. The first thing I remember buying with my saved-up pocket money was a Gameboy Colour and Pokémon Yellow. I had my priorities right.
I’m pretty sure a lot of it comes down to how you’ve grown up and how you’ve experienced your parents with money, as well as life in general, what it throws at you that has a real impact on your relationship with it.At 14 I started earning bits of cash from things here and there, mostly through babysitting which was still one of the best ways I got paid. The children were hassle-free and went to bed shortly after turning up, meaning that the sweet cupboard, couch and tv were the only things needing attention.
For a little while before uni, I helped our neighbours, who ran a B&B, clean the rooms and restock products, although tucking in the bedsheets was not my forte. Then during my studies, I freelanced for a business magazine and tutoring company and had regular bar shifts.
So, I always had enough money coming in, but I put in the time and effort for it, without it impacting my education. It might not be for everyone but it’s how I kept myself in a good place.
Looking at life now, working full time, blogging leisurely and keeping busy after work and on weekends, we have it real good. We spend and save.
Yet if there’s been one overarching method that has helped financially over the past seven years of being with Nathan, it’s living together. In terms of rent, it’s been a real winner, as alone this one shared cost, outside of student housing, if you looked at the average rent of a Leeds household at £850, saves us around £200 per month each.
As of summer last year, we also decided to get a joint account, where we tend to transfer usually 15% of our salary to. The intention of this money is for any joint spends, outside of our rent and bills, so for food shops, eating and drinking out, presents, holidays or just day to day spends.What was useful to see was how often we really needed to refill the account, or how much we were left with. Of course, this changed seasonally, so with Christmas we had to replenish the account several times, yet during Spring it balanced out as it was little quieter in terms of spends.
Even with knowing we were adding more to this account, we were at least aware if our funds were low. For me, this is important, as I feel it’s just far too easy to be spending money left, right and centre without seeing the physical money due to one-click online transactions and contactless payments. There’s obviously nothing wrong with this at all, but it’s easy to see past the actual value of items when you don’t really see the money come and go.
Some of the simplest ways I’ve been able to save money in general though have just been by making slightly different day-to-day choices. These are my five tips that can help you save a bit extra too.
Each month, try to stash away one-quarter of your earnings. In doing this each money, even if you do dip into this during the same month, you’re at least in the habit of putting money to the side. Over several months, there’ll be a nice pot of money there which you can continue to save on or treat yourself to that item you’ve wanted or holiday you’ve desired.
Keep your eyes peeled on products you often buy that you could buy in bulk. Often, although the price is more for the one-off payment, it is cheaper overall. On the price of products, take a further look at the price per kilo as opposed to the current buying price… you might only be saving a few quid here or there, but you might as well if it’s the same taste or quality.
A super easy way to save some money is by making your own work lunch as opposed to buying it in. Especially if you’re into batch cooking, you’re pretty much onto a winner. Whether it’s vegetable soups, salads, overnight oats, pasta or couscous, there are so many healthy and nutritious meals you can make at home, that’ll probably be half the price of meals you’ll buy. And you may also be less tempted to buy a few extra treats here and there, or grabbing a takeaway coffee that you could essentially make at work.
Where we live, I’m a 15-minute walk to work. I know it’s not a luxury everyone has, but if you’re within walking or cycling distance, why not pledge to leave your car at home or skip the bus ride. Prior to this house, I used to have a 50-minute walk to work, and whilst yes, it meant an earlier wake-up call, it was a refreshing start to the day. I’d play a podcast, a mindfulness stream or a language 101 course with a coffee in hand.
There are so many deals and discounts out on the web, you could drive yourself crazy browsing through them. And often, if you’re searching through the best deals, it’s easy to be tempted by a good saving, when you didn’t need it in the first place. That being said, if you’re looking to do an online order, planning on eating out or having a day trip, definitely have a nosey online to see if there is a discount code available. It might be a 2-4-1, a Groupon voucher or a free delivery code, and it’s just those little extras that can make the difference.
And that’s it from me. Are there any tips you find useful that helps you save money? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.