Before I even start, let me say that I am the worst at saving money. When I get money I just want to go out and spend it on things I don’t need. So, I am not claiming to be a money expert and I know that there are plenty of things that I can do to be better at spending more wisely.
With that in mind, Glen and I found a few simple ways of saving money. In our first year of marriage we started living more wisely and our spending began to fit into that lifestyle. We are far from perfect but I figured that things like this which come naturally to us might really benefit a newly married couple.
Shop once a week
Or maybe you shop once every two weeks (something I am currently experimenting with) or even once a month. The point here is that if you shop every day you are going to spend more money than you would if you had to shop less frequently.
Shop with intent
Make a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t just buy things you feel like eating now, but keep the rest of your week in mind. Also, don’t be caught out by upsells – you know, those chips and sweets at the counter.
Create a meal plan
It really helps to stick to your shopping list when you know what meals you want to eat. Keep your meal plan handy, or you might end up with a “mystery box” of ingredients to work with.
Buy house brands
You usually pay extra for pretty packaging and the product inside usually doesn’t taste much different from the cheaper house brands. Of course, you might be fussy about your wine, for example, so buy your favourite brand. However, if peanut butter all tastes the same to you, buy the cheaper one.
Buy fresh veggies
If you have the time to peel and chop your own veggies, don’t pay extra for someone else to do it for you. Those items are there for convenience and a good way to save money is to just buy a whole butternut and chop it up instead of buying butternut cubes.
Don’t buy packets of sauce
We very rarely purchase ready made packets of sauce, or even those packets that require a bit of milk. Rather stock up on garlic, spices, olive oil, lemon juice and honey. They last for ages and are packed with natural flavour.
Related: Meal planning for newlyweds
Related: A weekly planner [free printable]
Not only is it great for your skin and overall health, drinking water keeps you fuller for longer and is a great way to stay hydrated without spending money and consuming sugars. We don’t keep juice at home, because we don’t enjoy it so we drink water with our meals. We’re also in the habit of ordering water when we eat out.
To avoid late night trips to the convenience store, we always have snacks at home. We like fruit, yoghurt, popcorn and sugarfree rusks.
Blankets, not heaters
What’s the best way to spend all your money in winter? By using heaters! Your electricity or gas bill will go through the roof if you aren’t careful. Instead, use hot water bottles and warm blankets.
A lot of restaurants have “2 for 1” deals. Make the most of any special offers and save money while eating out.
Have nice food at home
Now, there is nothing wrong with going out for a nice meal. However, Glen and I tend to do that when we aren’t particularly excited about the food we have at home. If you buy nice things, you’ll be less tempted to eat out.
If you’re having friends over, get everyone to bring something and cook together. Gourmet burgers, pizzas and mexican food like tacos and nachos are some of the things we love.
Who says you have to go out to be entertained? We’ve got a lot of board games and card games and we’ve really enjoyed playing them with friends.
You don’t need takeaway coffee
Glen, are you reading this? My husband is a big coffee lover and he always wants coffee. Always. When we’re out shopping, we are usually tempted to treat ourselves to a warm beverage. So, to combat this we always have nice hot chocolate and coffee at home. We’re less tempted to get takeaway drinks if we’ve got nice stuff at home.
Shop where there are benefits
You know those stores that give you points when you shop? Even if those points only result in getting a small discount or cashback voucher, you’re getting something in return.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you never treat yourself you are more likely to succumb to a shopping binge. Every so often I buy myself a magazine, pretty nailpolish or a slab of my favourite chocolate. Those smaller treats aren’t super expensive and they prevent me from splurging on bigger things that I really don’t need.