I was frugal by birth perhaps. I was born in to a frugal family. There are many who turned in to frugal by their own choices. On this blog I talk about getting reach by being frugal, by saving one cent at a time and by earning one more cent at every opportunity. Chris, our guest poster today, has a catchy blog name “Spend it like Beckham”, if you are a soccer fan, you must have heard about English star David Beckham, who was famous for his bending, like a banana, free kicks. There was a movie which own academy awards titled – “Bend it like Beckham”. I guess Chris got motivated by that movie title.
Anyway, this guest post from Chris, as you guessed – from UK, will talk about how he started saving money. Albeit an accident, but it was a good accident to have. Read as this may motivate you to save money, if you’re not already doing so. Enjoy the post!
How it started
Often when people ego on a money-saving journey it begins with a decision. The decision to reduce financial outlay, and hopefully watch the money pile up.
In my case, it all happened by accident. It all began one day in the bathroom when I was using the scales. Ordinarily I’m a little bit phobic of this contraption – and for good reason: it tells me how overweight I am. On this occasion, it was telling me the usual – that I was overweight. However the amount was only 5.8 kilos (13 pounds, for the non-metric).
I resolved there and then that I would lose this weight. After all, it was an achievable amount, and with a little bit of effort I was sure I could easily get rid of it. So I set about losing the weight.
Now, I’ve never been one for miracle cures, quick fixes or fad diets. I just started cutting the non-nutritious things out of my diet, and also some of the stuff that was undoubtedly adding to the problem by being too calorific. So I cut out a fair bit of stuff, including the following:
· Carbonated drinks. These had become a habit, and it was a habit that needed cancelling.
· Burgers, kebabs and fries from local fast food outlets. Tasty? Oh yes. Good for me? Not in the quantities I was consuming them!
· Ready made supermarket meals. No control over portion size, fat or sugar content. I opted to stop eating these too.
- Sugar-laden breakfast cereals
How it began to pan out…
I began to substitute one thing for another. Instead of fizzy soda pop, I’d just have a glass of water. At first this seemed miserable, but now I far prefer it to the syrupy stuff. Much more refreshing!
For breakfast I now have porridge. Mere pennies for a big bowl that keeps you feeling full right up until lunchtime!
And so on, and so forth. But a curious thing started to happen –the more and more I became a non-presence in the fast-food queue and the fizzy drinks supermarket aisle, the more I noticed my daily expenditure start to slump. And I mean by some measure, too. The lunchtime sandwich plus potato chips plus chocolate bar plus can of fizz had cost me a little bit of money every work day. Replacing it with home-made soup and a hunk of bread suddenly meant cheapness as well as healthfulness.
So I took the cue that the cosmos seemed to be sending me, and started to look for ways to save in every corner of my life.
Where I am now
Okay, so I wouldn’t say I’m exactly getting filthy rich – but I am in a far more comfortable place financially – as well as being physically more chiseled!
Apart from buying food wisely, I made some other long-term money saving changes. I renegotiated or shopped around for new contracts on various things: my cell phone contract, other media, utilities and so on. I also scoured current set ups for savings. In one case I was paying extra for a paper monthly bill when I could just set up a auto payment, forego the paper and save a little every month.
Again – quite by accident – I also managed to get myself a savings target. I was looking at a compound interest calculator and realized that, by squirreling away a moderate amount every month, the amount would be quite substantial in just a few years.
But to get to that happy place I needed to find other savings. This is where it got maybe a little bit obsessive, but it’s all for the good of the savings balance. Among the other savings I found were:
· Unplugging the wireless router. I used to leave this thing plugged in 24/7/365. Then I found out that the amount of power it uses in standby (while not much) still adds up. In fact it’s only a few bucks a year. But it’s all counting towards my happy place!
- Shopping at discount supermarkets. Again, the savings
may only be pennies on some items, but think of those pennies (as well as the after savings that poop up now and then) adding up over time
· Buying travel tickets in advance. Depending on your geographical location and the operators/providers you use, there can be some very tasty savings!
· Researching web alternatives. I needed accommodation in the beautiful Hungarian city of Budapest recently. The usual hotel websites had some good offers. Then I remembered that you don’t need to stay in a hotel and can get a private rental. Ker-ching, more pennies in the jar!
It’s been an accidental journey – but I am glad I’m on this road.
Saving money has taught me to shop around much more effectively. And it’s made me a much more creative cook (give me some flour and some leftovers, I can now make a very inexpensive pizza).
But most of all, money saving has made me happy. Strange, but true!