I no longer work full-time but I have more money working part-time! I know…how does that make sense?! Last year I started working three days a week and it’s the best decision I’ve made to living a happier life, but my main concern was money and how I’d be able to afford it.
I can appreciate that I’m talking from a position of middle-class privilege, and there are a hell of a lot of people who struggle to make ends meet in full-time jobs, have to rely on food banks, or can’t even find any job. Decisions like the one I’ve been able to make are nowhere near options for some and aren’t choices everyone can make – I totally get that.
But, if you’re looking to make a change, chase your dream and go part-time, or you want to have more money at the end of the month to put in your savings, then I’ve got some simple changes you can make that’ll make you feel more in control of your finances.
So, how have I gone from having no money at the end of the month whilst working full-time to having more money now I work less hours?
I used to get to the end of the month, pay my rent and have no money left to put into my savings. I was living just to my means and some months I was having to dip into my savings to cover my rent. I was rubbish with my money and just wasn’t tracking how much I was spending. I was a classic fritterer, I couldn’t even tell you what I was spending my money on but it was disappearing. So, when I had less money coming in each month I had to make some serious spending changes.
My top tips to spend less:
- Buy less stuff – Now I earn less, I question every consumer decision I make. Do I really need another cookbook? No. Do I really need a new item of clothing? No. We are literally bombarded with advertising – everywhere. It is so easy to buy into the fact we need more stuff. We don’t. If you need something, see how long you can go without buying it, you might end up changing your mind, finding a cheaper option, or wait until the end of the month and you might have a bit of extra cash to buy that item.
- Meal plan – I found that I was buying more food than we could eat and it ended up going to waste. Now I make a rough meal plan for the week before I go shopping. That way I can make a list of ingredients I need for the meals I’m going to cook and not waste money buying items that are of no use that week. Of course, there are always your store cupboard essentials you need to replace. I use Google Keep to note down what I need and then I can just tick them off as I go round the supermarket. I’ve managed to save on average £10-20 per week with this method, over a month that adds up!
- Cancel your subscriptions – I had Netflix, Amazon Prime just for Parks and Rec, a charity Direct Debit. Cancel them – even the charity one. It’s pretty straight forward to do. I now sign in on Netflix thanks to my sister’s boyfriend’s account – they used my login for a few years, so they owe me! I’ll give to charity in a more ad hoc manor. Direct Debits can add up, and they come out on different dates so it can be difficult to track how much your spending.
- Don’t upgrade your phone – my phone contract is just about to end. Usually I’d be excited about the possibility of an upgrade. But, I’m now excited about making another saving. Make sure when you get to the end of your contract to get in touch with your network provider and negotiate a cheaper rate, or leave and get a pay-as-you-go sim. I’ve been spending about £35 a month on my phone for two years, now the phone is paid off it is mine! Yes – it’s got a crack through the middle of it, and the thumbprint recognition doesn’t work AND the battery life is shocking – thanks for nothing Apple, but it still works for now.
- Have no spend days – see how many days a week you can actually spend nothing. It’s easier than you realise. If you take a packed lunch to work, have some snacks and drink in your bag, stop online shopping, stop popping to the supermarket for one item and coming out with ten. It’s the little purchase that add up, £2 here, £1.50 there – you’ll honestly be surprised.
- Be that person that doesn’t want to split the bill – I never really worried about splitting the bill, but if you’re watching the pennies and not wanting to miss out on your social life, ask your friends if you can all pay for what you had. That way when you’ve made your meal decisions based around keeping things low cost you’re not having to pay for someone else’s wine when you had tap water and one course!
I’d love to hear if you’ve got any more tips on what we can do to spend less.
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