How to survive the January blues: Money edit

How to survive the January blues: Money ››

January is essentially over! How fast was that? (Ok so there's still a good two weeks, but we're on the last legs guys, chin up. It wasn't as depressing as we thought, eh?)

My final post in the series, How to survive the January blues: the money edit, is all about ways we can start looking after the pennies and the pound will look after themselves. I saved this one 'til last to give you all a chance to raid the January sales, get all your shopaholic tendencies out of your system, and start thinking about how you can make cut-backs to save towards your dream home/holiday/car/*insert relevant here* come February.

You've probably heard me rabbiting on about how I'm saving for a mortgage during 2014. Here's a few of my tips on how you can make small savings too. Remember 'little ripples make big waves!':

Pack a lunch

We spend an unbelievable amount of cash on buying meal deals for lunch every day. £3 doesn't sound like big bucks, but multiply that by 5 (working days a week) or 20 (working days a month) and you've saved enough cash for a pair of your favourite topshop boots every month. Imagine what you'll be saving if you did this for the whole of 2014? Bring your own lunch to work!

Plan meals in advance

I'm fed up of going to do a weekly shop, buying what I think are essentials and never getting round to using the fresh produce so it gets flung in the bin when it's off. I've learned to plan meals better by cooking up large dinners and freezing leftovers for another eve, only buying frozen veg with a longer shelf date, avoiding take aways and microwave meals at all costs and using tins or noodles in the cupboard instead of immediately hitting up the shops. You wouldn't believe the amount I've saved already in being more thrifty and planning meals. My weekly food spends have gone from £25 (including a take away at the weekend) to about £7 (for a whole load healthier home cooked dishes).

Shop in Aldi

Don't judge. Aldi is the cheapest supermarket I've ever walked into (yes, cheaper than Lidl... I often go there too). At my family home, we regularly shop in both the Co-op (for the products Aldi don't do well in, like cat food, litter, cosmetics, herbs and spices etc) and on average we spend about twice as much in the Co-op as we do in Aldi. For a £30 weekly shop in the co-op, you'll buy all you need and more in Aldi for about £15. It's an excellent place for cheaper fruit and vegetables, meat, nuts and snacks. Shop in Aldi and you'll never go back to another food store chain again!

Look for alternative things to do

Brighton is a hub for quirky things to see and do. However much you spend on your social life, the chances are there's a whole load of other things you could be doing that are less costly and half the price. For example, myself and Neil loved spending our weekends in local pubs, chowing down on roast dinners, heading to comedy clubs, or hitting up the cinema. We realised just how costly this was and have since made sacrifices for 2014. Instead we look around for groupon deals of things we'd like to do in Brighton as a treat. We swap going to pubs with going to museums (free admission) and we no longer eat out in restaurants, but invent new recipes we can cook together for fun. It's such a satisfying feeling watching savings creep up and up. It makes all those sacrifices all the easier.

Sell your clutter on eBay or ASOS Marketplace

Like any other lass in their early 20s, I have a mountain of clothes, samples, products and unwanted presents that sit collecting dust, messing up my bedroom floor. What better way to add to your savings and give your room a clear out than to spend a day photographing and listing all the bits you don't want. I once bought an authentic Burberry scarf in a charity shop for £1.50 and I earned £28 for it on eBay. Remember it's always good to time your listings around pay day, when buyers are on the prowl.

What ways are you saving money during 2014? Have you set yourself goals, or made a small fortune on eBay?

Check out the other posts in the series...and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' or GFC if you likey :)