Saving money doesn't mean you have to miss out on having a good time. In fact, it's entirely possible to live life to the full, even if you're on a tight budget. It's just a matter of prioritising. Make a few cuts here, a few compromises there, and you'll soon be on your way to an impressive savings account.
Get a grip on your ‘disposable' income
The first thing to do is set yourself a weekly budget. This way you'll know what you can and can't spend. Start by looking at your monthly wage and subtract your outgoings from it: bills, rent, bus fares, etc. Be sure to subtract some money for savings, and then divide whatever's left by four: this is what you can spend each week. If you're having trouble budgeting, try our free Money Dashboard finance software. It gives you a clear view of exactly where your money is going, making it easy for you to spot where to cut back in order to free up some funds for the finer things.
Plan to spend only a certain amount of money on a night out, and bring it with you in cash. You can have a great night out with your friends with no danger of going over budget: once you're out of money, it's time to head home. Just remember to keep enough back for the taxi, or better yet, the bus.
Make your hobbies more cost-efficient
Little luxuries like buying cosmetics and going to the cinema every week can add up, so look at ways you can save without giving them up. For example, Cineworld offers a monthly subscription package for £15.90 a month. If you go to the cinema more than three times a month, this can be extremely cost effective.
Learn to cook
The average Brit spends £1,320 a year on fast food. To save cash, ditch your takeaway menus and cook at home. You don't have to spend hundreds on cookbooks and lessons, either - you can find cooking demos for free on YouTube, and buy spices at your local Chinese or Indian supermarket, where they're generally much cheaper than the supermarket. You can use your new cooking skills to make your own packed lunch - this alone could save you around £25 each week.
Make the most of group buying websites
You can get great deals on days and nights out on websites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Keep an eye on these emails: as well as cheap restaurant and hotel deals, you can sometimes find quirkier things to do like clay pigeon shooting and stand up comedy nights. Get your friends involved and you'll have a better social life than ever.
Take time to appreciate the small things in life
It's hard to live life to the full when you're worried about work, wondering how to save money, and are genuinely feeling stressed. Try to slow things down and make time for the smaller things, like walks in the woods and Sunday morning lie ins. Relaxing more will give your life a more luxurious feel - even if you aren't spending a penny.
Posted by Money Dashboard