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12th July 2017
It can sometimes feel like your money runs away from you. You might get to the end of the month (or let’s face it, well before that!), and wonder where your money has gone.
The facts are that many of us spend too much on things like convenience and treats, perhaps to pick ourselves up after a hard day’s work or a trying day of looking after the kids. It can feel well-deserved, and it probably is, but things like nights out, convenience lunches and fancy coffees can really do damage to your bank balance.
For example, picking up a coffee on your way to work can feel like a necessary pick-me-up, but if you make a habit of it, your caffeine hit will cost you almost 900 pounds per year!
Instead, you could get handy in the kitchen and learn how to make your own coffees. We estimate that regular coffee-shoppers could save hundreds by playing barista at home. Espresso machines are fairly cheap to pick up nowadays, so it could be the perfect thing to ask for as a birthday or Christmas present. Making a cappuccino at home with an espresso and milk can cost as little as 14p per cup!
If you don’t have the time to learn how to make your own coffee, or if convenience is king, using instant coffee for your daily coffee hit would cost you an amazing 52p per week. That’s just £27.04 per year. Much easier to swallow than £894.25!
Getting to work can, ironically, be a real drain on your finances. Especially if a car is your transport of choice. In a city, you can expect to pay £7 per day to park, so unless you can park for free at your workplace the cost of parking can really hurt. Statistics also suggest that the average working-age driver drives an average of 288 miles per week, which works out as approximately £5.91 per day in fuel. Those costs really add up if you’re paying it every day!
If you can, look into the public transport options in your area. Those in London can save significant amounts by taking the train to work, and regional buses can cost you less than half the cost of driving to work and paying to park. Do your research to see what is best for you where you live.
Even if you’re not travelling to work every day, you may still find yourself in the car regularly, ferrying your kids to school. This can also rack up significant costs, as the average parent drives 3 hours and 40 minutes per week taking their brood to school.
Since the average school journey is between 2 and 3 miles, consider walking if you can – it’s a great form of exercise and gets your blood pumping in the morning! It will also save you an incredible £1,714 per year on average if you walk every day. While it may be unrealistic to walk to school every day without fail, if you go just when there’s good weather or half the week, that’s still potentially hundreds of pounds to be saved, and provides a much healthier way of getting around for both you and the environment.
Another option is to team up with another family and share lifts. An arrangement like this means you’re driving half as often, so your school run will cost you half as much. It also helps another family in the process, and is a much greener way of getting the kids to school.
When you’re getting up early to go to work, probably the last thing you want to do is prepare your lunch for the day. That means you end up popping out for lunch, paying £3.50 for a meal deal in places like Boots or WHSmith, or an average of £7.81 for a takeaway or restaurant lunch. This habit is devastating to your budget, and also can mean you end up eating much more unhealthily. While we all find ourselves in need of convenience food from time to time, making this a regular occurrence can cost you thousands per year.
Instead, get yourself into a routine of prepping your lunches before you head to work. A homemade lunchbox can take just minutes to prepare, and you can quite easily make your sandwiches the night before and pop them in the fridge if you’re not much of a morning person. The easiest way by far, however, is just to make an extra portion of food with your dinner and pop that in a plastic box for tomorrow’s lunch. Easy!
We all need to let our hair down from time to time, be it to celebrate a promotion at work or even just the long-awaited arrival of the weekend. We Brits love to see our friends and family and paint the town red. In fact, stats suggest that 40% of us go out at least once a week.
According to the express.co.uk, by the time you’ve paid for transport, drinks and entry to a club or bar, the average night out costs us £60. As a weekly cost, that adds up to the best part of £3,000 per year!
There are, of course, other ways of having fun. Consider going out every other week to save money, and make a night of it at home instead. Pick a movie you really want to see, open a bottle of wine and relax. You might even find that you have as much fun as on a wild night out down your local pub!
Alternatively, if you go out regularly with a group of friends who are also wanting to save a bit of cash, propose that you each take turn to host each other at your homes once a month, perhaps with a dinner party with themed, home-cooked food. Think ‘Come Dine with Me’, but with people you actually like! It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, you can look for frugal recipes online or even challenge yourself to make an exquisite banquet on a budget. Challenge yourselves and make it fun!
Do you have any other areas that are drains on your finance? Can you think of any money-saving alternatives that could save you buckets? Let us know on our Facebook page.