You're burning your hard eanred money if you do these 6 things

Do you ever get the awful sinking feeling of watching your bank balance fritter away, with no idea where the money is ending up?

Well, it’s a horrible feeling and here’s where you might be slipping up. Don’t worry, I have the solutions too!

You shop when you’re hungry

1.) First and foremost, don’t shop when you’re hungry! Whenever I say this to people it makes me chuckle slightly; though It’s not a laughing matter as the amount of rubbish food we buy as a result is no joke. I guess it harks back to the days of going out on the town, then eating my body-weight in food the next day to try and soak up the alcohol.

The thing about shopping when you’re hungry is that you won’t be thinking rationally. Your greedy stomach will be doing the thinking and not your logical mind. You’ll likely come back having spent double the money, or you’ll have a selection of delicious treats, with no prospect of a meal, insight… Let alone seven.

You shop without a list

2.) It makes sense then, to mention the list situation next.

In terms of groceries, I do believe that the majority tend to write some sort of list as a reminder of what to buy for the week. Though if you don’t, please start!

However, food is not the main culprit here.

Gift buying. Where do I begin?

The thing about gifting is you can get seriously carried away and spend far too much money.

I have a love-hate relationship with gifting.

For me, finding the perfect, thoughtful gift for a good friend and watching them open it is a truly joyful experience. However, I’m ashamed to say that often don’t give myself enough time to think and look for the item; which in turn causes me a huge amount of stress and anxiety when I have to scramble around to find something!

If I succeed in finding a gift, I then proceed to overthink it even after I’ve given it to them. Did they like it, did I spend too much, did I not spend enough, should I get them something else, do they hate it, do they hate me now?! It’s a problem.

One major cause of clutter I see on a regular basis is hoards of gifts. Wardrobes, chest of drawers, endless boxes, all full of gifts that have not yet been wrapped and with no sign as to who the gift is for. My guess is that you don’t have the space, nor the money for this excess.

The other point to note (and I know I’m not alone in my thinking) is that, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a gift that you feel cost too much money, it can make you feel quite awkward.

In conclusion, always shop after you’ve written a list. Whether that be for food or gifts and pretty please stop buying extra last minute.

You shop without taking an inventory of what’s already in the cupboards, fridge and freezer

3.) You set off merrily on the weekly food shop clueless of what you already have in.

Not only is this a dangerous way to shop in terms of missing what you really need. It’s also a prime opportunity to spend way more money than you wanted to because, well, just in case.

It’s likely that you’ll end up with duplicates or even more. This isn’t such an issue with longer life items, such as tins, but it’s going to be a real problem for fresh produce. If you can’t use them in time, we know where they’ll be heading. Straight into food waste, or landfill if you don’t have a compost bin and your council doesn’t take food scraps.

When you add food to general rubbish, it goes into landfill where it slowly rots releasing methane. Methane gas is more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. Eurostat states that the UK throws away over 14 million tonnes of food every year, horrifying. In terms of monetary value, WRAP states it’s around £700 a year wasted on food (for an average UK family with kids). I don’t know about you, but I can think of much better things to spend £700 on.

Look out for a new post all about how to prevent food waste, but for now, let’s just try not to overbuy!

You don’t plan your meals for the week

4.) Once you’ve filled out your food inventories, you’ll be able to plan meals incorporating items you already have in stock. This will use up existing produce, causing less food waste and will of course save you money on the food shop. You’ll feel a real sense of achievement, I assure you.

Something I always try to do is cook meals whereby I can make double the amount and either freeze the extra portions or take them for lunch the next day. This will save energy costs and your time spent cooking.

Great options for making extra are, chill con carne (or with meat-free option), vegetable daals, curries and lasagne.

I recommend using a meal planner that you can stick on the fridge door or wall. This is great if you have kids as they can see what’s for dinner every night.

You take advantage of multi-buy offers when you don’t need the extra items

5.) Aimlessly walking up and down aisles, chucking things into the trolley willy-nilly is something that’s bound to happen if you’ve not pre-planned, as above.

The whole point of those brightly coloured offer stickers and signs is to entice you in. They aim to catch you unawares and those of us who haven’t got a list are the prime candidate to fall into this supermarket trap.

You are only getting a good deal if you need it!

Buying 4 bags of potatoes because it’s a bargain is in fact, not a bargain if you can’t eat them in time. Instead, you are eagerly lobbing cash down the pan.

Another big problem with multi-buys is space. Loo roll is regularly on offer (excluding the mad loo roll panic-buying era, circa March 2020). Of course, loo roll isn’t going to “go off” but what’s the point in buying three super 24 pack rolls if you live in a one-bedroom flat with non-existent storage?

Moral of the story? Only buy what you need and what you can fit in your home easily.

You don’t budget

6.) Finally, let’s talk about budgeting.

Now I’m no financial advisor and I don’t claim to be. However, I know how to do a basic budget and you should too.

First of all, grab a piece of paper, you do not need to do a fancy Excel spreadsheet for this!

At the top of the page make a note of your monthly income. Next, list all your fixed monthly bills, plus any credit card, loan and finance payments. Don’t forget childcare or child maintenance and pet insurances etc.

I like to work out what’s leftover and then make a monthly spending budget from there.

Whether you have £50 a week or £500 a week, try to stick to it.

An Update on the January No-Spend Challenge 2022

Firstly, if you’ve not yet joined this challenge, it’s not too late.

Granted we’re halfway through January now, but you can still make a difference and save some cash. Head over to my Instagram page to join in the fun and click here to download the FREEBIE! For a more in-depth read, click here for the previous blog post which contains all the details.

I practice what I preach… I can happily say that as of today January 15th, I’ve not spent a penny on non-essential items! In fact, I’ve actually made money by selling an item of clothing on Depop, I’m £12.94 up, who would have thought it?

Oh and we didn’t need to do a food shop until Sunday 9th. I made meals from Christmas leftovers, raided the freezer and pantry to within an inch of their lives and I became very inventive and resourceful. It felt great and this has to have been the best start to a new year I’ve ever had. If you want to see what I made, head over to my Instagram page and click the No-Spend Jan highlight to watch my stories.

My reasons for starting this challenge were simple, to stop spending without thought and to save money. Nowadays, it’s all too easy to think of something you might need and before 10 pm it’s sat on the doorstep.

I needed to change the way I think about spending and you might be feeling the same way?

Well, it’s worked, not only has it curbed my spending, it’s totally changed my mindset and outlook beyond all recognition. I’ve never been so excited about saving in my life. I actually went a bit crazy the other evening and wrote out an entire years budget and financial plan… I’m a changed woman.

How have you got on? Let me know in the comments below!

A helping hand, or should I say Printable PDF?

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve been working on something to aid your – “new year, improve your situation” resolutions.

These have taken me weeks to create and personally test out, but I wanted them to be accessible to everyone so they are super affordable.

What’s on offer you ask?

Of course, you can download the January No-Spend Challenge PDF for free, by following the instructions I mentioned earlier. However, If like me, you’d like to carry this on into February and beyond. I’ve made a general Monthly No-Spend Challenge pack. Containing 4 PDF’s with 31-day, 30-day and 28-day months and a notes page. These are printable, so you can print as many off as you like.

The best part? They are all under £2.75 to purchase, starting from just £0.95. A small price to pay for the money you’ll save by following the no-spend challenge and tips given in this post!

Click here to shop on Etsy (you don’t need to download the Etsy app, simply click “open web” on the bottom right of the page).

Why not spend a few hours this weekend getting super organised with planning for a fresh start next week?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Amy x

*Just make sure you don’t buy the January No-Spend Challenge PDF as you can get that one for free.