Having to relearn how to live your life is never an easy thing to do. I just got back from an 18-month adventure that spanned the majority of South East Asia and, although it’s good to be back, transitioning back into my “regular” life has been tough. However, I love to find the silver lining in everything. By being forced to learn how to do everything again, I’ve found new, better, and cheaper ways of doing all the things I did before!
Here are five tips and tricks to opening up more of your monthly budget and enabling you to invest more.
1.) Stop paying for the gym
One of my closest friends recently just moved into one of those new building estates that you see popping up. It’s fantastic with the following amenities; 24-hour concierge, close to a Sainsbury’s local, and has a 24-hour gym. Every time I walk past it, it’s empty! Rows upon rows of unused muscle machines. So one day I said to my mate, “So that gym, huh?” Surprise, surprise he doesn’t even use it. The conversation progressed and I asked him if I could use it, and he said, “sure, why not?” And now I save myself £20 per month.
Another way of doing this is to find a friend that has a gym in their office building and use that one instead. Although, a lot of offices I’ve tried this with have a strict, and enforced, no non-employees rule.
You can also use the time after you go to the gym to hang out with your friend and build a better relationship with them.
2.) Make Amazon a last resort/Don’t Prime on your own Dime
At my leaving party of my old job (before I went on my 18-month adventure) I was kindly given a £50 Amazon voucher. The only problem was; they don’t have Amazon in South Korea. Learning how to navigate the complex world of Korean online payment system’s is a story in itself. Anyway, being back, I’ve relearned just how incredible Amazon is! It has yet to fail me on anything that I try to acquire (100 Ladybugs, anyone?).
The problem I have is this; I really want that free shipping! So, the majority of my orders are over £15 because then I’ve convinced myself that I’m saving money. So, I’ll feel compelled to buy more unnecessary “want” items to hit the £15 target. Which brings me to Gumtree.
Gumtree is a goldmine when it comes to finding bargains. People will buy things that they don’t need, use the thing twice, wait six months, then just want it out of their house, so they post it on Gumtree. I’ve found; weights, Georgian tables, kitschy 50’s calendar, 50 bottles of wine, books, bikes, and loads of other stuff at a heavily discounted rate.
My top tip is when you find yourself browsing Amazon, search on Gumtree for the same thing and compare prices.
If you absolutely have to use Amazon and need something the next day. Give the money to one of your mates with Amazon Prime get them to get it delivered to your house the next day.
3.) How to be frugal and have a healthy social life
Moving back to London, after being away for so long means that the majority of my friends have moved to other cities. Finding myself with just a small fraction of the people I once hung out with, I’ve made it my mission to rebuild my friendship group. So I started going to Meetup groups.
Meetup is a website where people can start groups and organise events that are advertised to people in the group. For example, if you’re really into ghosts you can join a group that organises trips/socials/events with a focus on that subject.
So far I’ve; attended personal development seminars, learned about freewriting, and had art discussions, all for free. Similarly, there are a number of groups that bulk-buy tickets/make a deal with event organisers to get tickets for gigs, plays, comedy shows, and other stuff, at heavily discounted rates.
Part of being wealthy is having the freedom to experience new things and to meet interesting people. Meetup gives me that ability at little, or no, cost.
4.) Be more like Arnie/ Know your cuts
Keeping a detailed list of your expenses (which I do) is one the best ways of reducing your outgoing costs. One of the things that I noticed was how expensive meat is. A solid 30 to 40 per cent of my shopping budget was spent on buying meat. What I’ve done is taken Arnold Schwarzenegger’s advice and cut down my meat consumption. I’ve gone from cooking meat every day, to cooking meat twice a week. This has dropped the amount I spend on meat a week from around £20 to roughly £5.
Also, I’ve swapped out the more premium cuts of meat for cheaper ones, and I really haven’t noticed that much of a difference in terms of flavour. For example:
- Instead of chicken breast fillet I buy the thigh fillet, saving about a £1 per kilo
- Instead of beef sirloin, I buy the rump steak, saving roughly £4 per kilo
- Instead of pork tenderloin, I buy shoulder steaks, which gives savings of around £3 per kilo
You’ll want to do your own research for meat cuts, different cuts are better for different things. Talk to a butcher and look online, you can probably find an as tasty cut of meat that’s far cheaper than the ones you currently buy.
5.) Unleash your inner Walter White
Due to the incredibly low-cost of living in South East Asia combined with the lack of regulations, I found it gave me a greater peace of mind when I bought branded medicine from pharmacies. So I’d choose the more expensive Tylenol over the bargain bucket generic paracetamol (despite them being the same thing).
Now I’m back in the UK, it’s amazing how much more expensive branded drugs are. Once you learn the generic names of the medicines you buy, you can find the same the same drugs at a fraction of the cost.
Because it’s summer, let’s use hay fever medication as an example. Here’s the branded Piritize, on the ingredients bit look for a word that you don’t understand or sounds like a chemical. With the Piritize, we can see that the active ingredient is “Cetirizine hydrochloride,” so, with a quick Google, we can find that medication for a fraction of the cost.
Here are some examples of brand name drugs and the generic active ingredient names:
|Brand Name||Generic Name|
|Anadin||Aspirin (Anadin has added Caffeine)|
Also, another website that’s superb for cheap medicine and multivitamins, as well as some prescription medication is Chemist Direct. They often have deals on multi-vitamins and supplements that are about to go out-of-date, the thing is, that vitamin tablets don’t really go off. If you continue to take multi-vitamins after their sell-by date, all they lose is potency.
I’m not suggesting that you buy vitamins that are several months out-of-date, but if you buy some that “go-off” in the same month, you’re fine to continue to take them.
Having looked back over the list, it’s plain that the best way of saving money is to educate yourself about the things that you consume. Similarly, getting to know people and utilising their assets is a fantastic way of saving a few pennies, just be sure to reciprocate the favour.
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