Tightening The Belt: Cutting Back on Luxuries For Better Saving

The little luxuries in life are what make it worth living. A weekend away, a delicious meal out at a restaurant or some new clothes for example can make life that bit nicer, and can make the long hours and hard work we put in all seem worth it. But at times, tightening the belt is needed. Maybe you’ve been hit with an unexpected expense and need to free up some extra cash, or perhaps you want to get out of debt once and for all. Maybe you want to save up for a deposit for a house as you’re sick of wasting money on rent each month. Either way, you might be looking for ways to cut back your outgoings so that you have some extra money. Here’s how you can go about it!

Chris Lawton

Think About Your Car

Cars can be expensive to run, and depending on your situation you might be better off giving it up entirely at least for a while. Without the cost of insurance, road tax, petrol and repairs you can free up money that can be used elsewhere. If you only ever do short journeys, consider walking or biking, it’s kinder to the environment as well as your pocket. Of course not everyone is in a position to give up their car, and if you need one to get by there are still things you can do. Upgrading to a better car might seem counterproductive when you’re trying to save money, but can actually save you money. A hybrid or electric vehicle for example will save on fuel costs as well as road tax, but any newer car is likely to have better fuel economy and will be more reliable. You could even lease one of these if you don’t have the budget to buy a new car. You won’t own the vehicle, but you get to drive a good quality car for one monthly payment, and most are covered by warranty so no big repair costs if anything goes wrong.


Find New Ways to Socialise

Nights out with the family or friends can take a significant chunk of your budget. From day trips to evenings in the pub, the cinema and restaurants, if you add up all of the money you spend socialising you’ll probably find it’s more than you think. You don’t need to stop socialising with friends, instead come up with new ways to go about it. You could host a barbecue and ask everyone to bring some meat and a bottle. You could host a potluck party, or you could throw an afternoon tea. Some sandwiches, homemade cakes and lots of tea needn’t cost much, but it’s an elegant way to spend time with friends in the garden when the weather is nice.


Get Creative In The Kitchen

Food is another significant expense, but most of us spend too much on it. From forking out on expensive takeaways regularly to wasting food there’s plenty we can do to bring down costs. Make eating out a special occasion, and limit takeaways to once every few weeks. Instead of buying lunch at work, pack some sandwiches, salad or homemade pasta instead. There are plenty of ways you can make it interesting so you don’t need to feel like you’re going without.


Dating On A Budget – Why You Should Try Dating Locally


Dating can be expensive – we all know that. But it doesn’t have to be. So much money is spent on dating nowadays from the outfits and the makeup to the date itself. But what expenses people forget to tell you about are the travel to and from the date, the potential hotel stays. We’ve all heard the stories of people who have met The One on an online dating site only to find out that one of them lives at one end of the country and the other lives at the other end.

It is important to keep to your budget if you are strapped for cash and we have one simple idea for how you can date on a budget – date locally.

If you use your local dating sites (such as the Strathclyde dating site if you’re living in Strathclyde), then you have a much better chance of keeping to a budget. You don’t need to stay at a hotel in order to meet someone, you know the most affordable places to eat or drink without looking too cheap and you both know the free stuff you can also do to make your date fun – we all have local parks and sights, after all.

Perhaps you are from Northern Ireland and looking to date Belfast singles – you would surely use a Belfast site to find local men and women who may be interested in you. You may be in Fife in Scotland and want to date Fife singles – why would you be looking at southern England for dates?

If you’re in the Midlands, there are plenty of single women in Birmingham looking for someone – don’t go searching further afield!

Dating locally is not only much better for the wallet but it can also be so much more fun. How many of us have gone on rubbish dates where it wasn’t actually your dates fault but the venue or location? With both of you living locally, you know what places are the dives and which places are much better to visit. You don’t want to be wasting your hard earned money in a place that isn’t going to appreciate you and that will tarnish your date. Knowing the area really helps to minimise the chances of this.

Whether you are looking for love or a little bit of naughty dating, using your online dating sites will surely help you find the right kind of people that you are looking for. You will find people who know what you know, who like what you like, who understand the area just like you do.

If you are keeping to a budget, why not try dating locally instead? Give up on the national dating and meeting guys or girls from across the country and find people who live close by who don’t require a ton in travel expenses in order to see them! This will definitely help lighten the load on your purse strings without you compromising on having fun when dating.

What is a no spend week?

If you’re still feeling the pinch after enjoying the festive season, now is a perfect time to consider doing a no spend week. Not only will this help you save some money, but it’ll help you to spot any bad financial habits you’ve gotten into.

A no spend week is a week where you don’t spend money on anything, other than your weekly shop, transport costs and other essentials. Although this might sound like a challenge, the financial experts over at icount, the prepaid MastercardⓇ providers, have put together their top tips for making it through no spend week. Read on to find out more!

Top tips for making it through a no spend week

These simple tips and tricks will help you to breeze through a week without spending any money.

Clear out your cupboards

A no spend week is the perfect opportunity to clear out your cupboards and discover what treasures you’ve forgotten about. There are likely to be lots of tempting treats hidden at the back of kitchen cupboards, which will help you with your food prep during your no spend week. Who knows what you’ll uncover!

Ditch the coffee

If you’re guilty of grabbing a coffee on your commute to work – stop! Not only will this cost quickly add up over the year, but plastic cups are bad for the environment too. If you can’t go without a little caffeine boost in a morning, try taking your own coffee in a reusable flask to save some money during your no spend week.

Make your own entertainment

A week without movie downloads, trips to the cinema or nights out can be tough, but there are easy ways to have just as much fun whilst still saving money. Invite friends over for a potluck dinner party, where everyone brings their signature dish, or opt for a night in instead of your usual date night. Make sure to also look at what free events are available in your local area during your no spend week.

Try homemade alternatives

No matter what product you need, there’s probably a homemade version that can be made. From skincare products, to washing powder or dishwasher rinse aid, you can make your own versions for a fraction of the cost, with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboards. Have a Google for recipes, or take to Pinterest for even more inspiration.

Make the most of freebies

There are plenty of freebies available to take advantage of if you know where to look. Scour local Facebook groups for free events or items, look on Gumtree for household items you may need, and make the most of competitions or giveaways from your favourite brands.