Challenge 57: DIY to Save Money

DIY one

You may remember that way back when this blog was still a child, I started a budget http://100waystohappy.com/2015/02/22/challenge-15-budget/. Back then, my main focus was about what I was going to use to help me stick to this budget, I talked about analysing your spending, setting yourself a limit and making sure to record everything you spend. I’ve gone through phases but on the whole I’ve stuck to this, and one of my lovely readers suggested I try using a mobile app if I ever found it hard. I’m now a devout follower of Toshl Finance which allows you to record your daily finances and categorise them too. It’s really helped me to keep recording easily and also to keep track of what I’m spending on.

The app has highlighted a few things which I regularly spend money on which you may class as ‘luxuries’. Not clothes or holidays or evening out kind of luxuries, but other things which I was definitely doing too much of. I identified my indulgences as the following:

  • Takeaway morning coffees
  • Meals out with friends
  • Smoothies/drinks with my lunch

Obviously these are little things that I love so I didn’t want to cut them out altogether. I’m still living at home and earning a normal salary so I can afford not to completely scrimp, however I want to seriously save for the future and cutting down on these little things would help. What I decided to do was still indulge but find ways to DIY and save money.

Takeaway Morning Coffees:

Every now and again, I have one of those mornings when a cup of tea just will not do and I need a caffeine hit. On these days I always turn to the coffee shops which line the central London road my office is on and find myself spending that £2.70 to get my day off to a smilier start. I love this little indulgence, I probably only have it once a week on my tiredest day but, whether placebo or not, it does genuinely make me feel better.

BUT what if I could still have my coffee and not spend that £2.90. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Iced coffee has been my thing this summer so I learnt to make it at home. I bought a nice powdered coffee and some caramel sauce from Costa and made my own. Here’s the little recipe in case you’re interested:

  • Put a spoonful of coffee into a mug and mix with a small amount of boiled water
  • Put 10 ice cubes into the Nutribullet (or other blender) and add the coffee mixture, blend!
  • In a cup add one teaspoon of caramel sauce and fill to a quarter with semi skimmed milk
  • Pour the iced coffee mixture over the top
  • Ta da!

Then I bottle or jar it up and take it on the train for a refreshing, early morning caffeine hit which costs much less than my takeaway coffee habit and tastes just as good.

Meals Out with Friends:

DIY 3

I’m not a big fan of the night out, don’t get me wrong every now and again I’m up for a drink and a dance. But I think I’m getting old because now I much prefer some good food and a natter. The problem is that whilst my lack of nights out is certainly saving me money, going out for dinner with friends is definitely starting to add up. A few weeks ago I realised I had gone out for no less than 4 meals in one week! It was time for something to change.

I mentioned in my Instagram a day post http://100waystohappy.com/2015/02/05/challenge-10-record-every-day-for-a-month/, that at the beginning of the year I started a Wednesday dinner club with my friends in Surrey. Every Wednesday, to stop ourselves becoming depressed midweek, we’d head round to someone’s house, one of us would contribute ingredients and we’d all cook something yummy. We tried all different cuisines, from Mexican to Greek to Thai and it was both delicious and a lot, lot cheaper then going out for dinner every week. I think on average I spent about £4 per week and I got to see my lovely friends to catch up on all their goings on.

Smoothies/Drinks with my Lunch:

DIY 2

This is more of an odd one but I noticed on my budget that everyday I’d go out and buy something for lunch at work, adding a little extra. I have soup and toast nearly everyday and I usually buy a loaf of bread and two soups at the beginning of the week, then in the week I’ll pop out for my bananas. However, bananas cost 25p in my local Sainsburys and these expenses were definitely not 25p.

Because I (or maybe my app) had been super organised, I recorded everything I bought and tagged as ‘lunch’ and a lot of it tended to be some sort of drink, usually a smoothie. I’m a sucker for a deal and so often Innocent or Little Miracles are on offer and I can’t help but pick them up. On noticing this, I decided to start making my favourite home green smoothie the night before work and bring it in for a lunchtime treat. Here’s the link if you want to make my smoothie: http://100waystohappy.com/2015/06/18/challenge-46-make-a-happiness-smoothie/ I make enough for two and transport them in the little Nutribullet containers.

These are just some of my little tips, if you want to give it a go I’d say use a budgeting app and keep an eye on those little troublesome expenses. They’ll probably be easier to eradicate then you imagine, whilst not actually having to cut anything you love out. Let me know if you’ve got any favourite DIYs to save money?

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