It’s been a long old slog – quite the marathon – but at last I have repaid my massive overspend from Christmas: a whopping £1,000.
Fortunately this was savings money I had borrowed from myself so I didn’t have to pay any credit card interest. That doesn’t mean it’s free cash. It means I’ve been without my full emergency fund for a couple of months. Luckily, no major disasters happened during that time and I’ve been able to repay myself. It’s a nice feeling to be at full complement. This is how I did it.
1. Stayed in
Mr Minted did a dry and meat-free January. There was little point in going out just to eat vegetables and drink Diet Coke so we spent all the weekends at home. Most of our friends were skint too and confined to their sitting rooms so we didn’t miss out.
2. Not drinking at home
Because of dry January, we weren’t boozing it up at home either. I’ve also been ill with the flu and lingering cough for several weeks which was a big disincentive to quaffing. Tea and McMafia all round, all weekend. It’s dull but it is money-saving.
3. No expenditure
I stayed away from the sales, full stop. I also imposed a ban on buying discounted deals at the supermarket, such as three-for-two on baked beans or tinned tomatoes when I only required one can. This doesn’t work out cheaper over the long term but it does wonders for your short-term cash flow.
4. Used what was in the freezer
The Minted menu has been a little eccentric over the past few weeks. We’ve had Christmas canapés for lunch and ancient fish-cakes for dinner several days in a row. Blackberries with everything. With a little imagination, it’s amazing how long you can feed yourself for out of the store cupboard.
5. Delayed big ticket purchases where possible
There are a couple of items in my life which need replacing, notably a stick blender for soups and so on. I’m fed up with my rubbish cheap ones which keep breaking. I’d love a super-duper steel one by Braun with all the extras but that’s just shy of £200. So I put off buying that or its equivalent until I have more cash in my hand. It also means I haven’t got the three new pairs of woolly tights which I wanted. But the snow’s over now, spring is here and the need for warm clothing is less pressing. I’ll have to get them next year but for now it’s a £20 saving.
6. Absorbed tips from other bloggers
Saving and going without is easier when you know others are doing the same. For encouragement and savings tips, I’d recommend perusing this list of our fellow money bloggers compiled by our frugal friend, Becky Goddard Hill, who writes on family budgeting here.
You could check out our SMM guide to getting out of debt here. In the meantime, I’m off shopping!