Well, I can’t believe I’m two months in to my Frugally Fabulous Year! Time is marching swiftly forward and guess what? I’m still somewhat withering around my sewing machine at the moment. Those ace clothes are NOT going to sew themselves! Luckily, for me, I have the wonderful Laura Strutt here – not personally but in book form, to show me the ropes and I’ve been looking forward to settling down and overcoming my fears for a very long time now! I guess February just ran away with me…
What with the chaotic wonderment that was #MidsBlogMeet, our #CraftBlogClub challenge, Mr J’s Birthday, the arrival of Mortal Instruments from Lovefilm AND about 6 other writing and crafting WIPs – I have barely had time to sit down and think about my sewing machine, let alone fathom my fears.
The trouble is, whilst I’ve been busy with life this month, everything else is starting to fall apart; the buttons on my coat have nearly all fallen off, my oven gloves have seen much better days, my slippers are cracking on the soles and my wardrobe is starting to look somewhat lacklustre. It’s time to face the music!
On the other hand….a good Tweeple Buddy asked me the other day about how I might track my savings through my Frugally Fabulous Year? It got me thinking about how I could do this – without boring the pants off my readers with facts, figures and somewhat personal accounting! It’s tough – the majority of our money comes from Mr J’s earnings and, whilst we are trying to live frugally, we are also paying off debt. The good news? My final payment from my previous job FINALLY arrived this month and has allowed me to pay off a debt I incurred whilst I ran Miss Berry’s. It feels amazing to have that relief wash over me – I can only imagine what the end of my Frugally Fabulous Year will look like! I spent just £8 on cosmetics this month – extremely frugal in comparison to an average of £20-30 when I was working full time. But perhaps I need to start monitoring even more closely? For now…here are my Frugal Tips for tracking your savings!
Mr J is not big on financial budgeting, but I see it as a necessity to ensure we know exactly what we have coming in and going out each month. I don’t always profess to be as meticulous as I should be – but I’m definitely getting there. In particular, setting yourself a food/entertainment/travel budget for the month is a great way to really monitor how you’re spending and also look at how/where you can save.
2. Change Your Ways?
Whilst we are on the subject of food budgeting, this is one of the areas I am really looking at saving. For ease, I have often booked one to two online shopping deliveries a month, whilst stocking up on fresh produce at our local greengrocer’s. Recently, I’ve turned my weekly shops into several smaller shops, where I can, whilst really looking at where I can make the best savings. Ok, so carrying my shopping can be a bit of a drag, but I’m saving about £10 a month on delivery costs. Plus, shopping with smaller, cheaper brands or local suppliers has also meant a saving of almost £12 a week (yup, I’m becoming THAT person) – which translates roughly to a saving of £624 over a year – that’s some festival tickets and a chunk of the ‘Swedish Dream’ right there! I have already started to draw relationships between Money and Convenience, it seems if you are serious about saving money, convenience has to go out the window!
When I was pregnant, like most people, I stood in the middle of Boots baby aisle, completely befuddled by the sheer amount of branding, products and general colours being thrown at me. I have always prided myself on keeping things to a good, but necessary minimum – I’m not easily sold on baby gadgets especially – the trick is to sort through what you need and what you don’t! It’s easy to get bombarded with constant 3 for 2 offers and discounts – the new parent market especially is a hive of activity for offer emails, special events and what not. But in making your purchases, no matter how ‘loyal’ you think a brand is, remember that all they really want is your money (I see Johnson and Johnson, I think ‘Johnson and Formaldehyde’)! Clever advertising can go a long way to make you feel you are missing something important by not making that purchase, but the truth is you can most probably go without it – or at least go without the last minute eye-catching add-ons and special offers.
4. Don’t Turn Your Advantage Points Into Disadvantage Points
All that aside, if you shop religiously at one place, get all your cosmetics from Boots or drink all your coffees in one coffee house, then make sure their loyalty cards ARE working for you. These days, most big names are offering a loyalty card at practically every paying counter you head to. Prior to having D, I picked up loyalty cards for Starbucks, Holland and Barrett and Waterstones – to name a few. Well almost a year on these cards remain redundant in my wallet, they’re not worth the space they take up and they certainly don’t encourage me to want to spend any more with these companies. Now I’m probably not the best to judge, being that the whole point of my Frugally Fabulous Year is to NOT shop on the High Street, but it seems to me that if you do shop with one shop, you might as well make sure you get the very best of their offers and points benefits. Why not have a look through the loyalty cards you have stashed in your wallet? Have you got cards that are encouraging you to spend more than you should in places you know you shouldn’t? Do you have loyalty cards that could work much harder for you? This will take all of five minutes, but could save you a little bit of cash money AND make sure you are shopping in the RIGHT places for you!
5. Make Yourself a Joy Jar!
Once you’ve done the hard work – if you find you save a little bit – be it £1 or £10, why not physically take that money out and pop it in a ‘Joy Jar’? Here’s one I made earlier! I think there is a lot to be said, psychologically, for being able to see, in the flesh, just how much money you are saving. Once the jar is full, you can pop it in a savings account, sort yourself out with a much-longed for treat or p**s it up the wall, it really is up to you! I intend to start using my jar to physically chart how much money I save each month – why not do the same?
Well, it is with a fondness that I bid my Frugal February adieu…it’s been wonderful, full of love, lust and knitting needle clicking – I shall see you on the other side in March, which wil undoubtedly be one of the most special months for me this year!
Stay Peachy x