8 Ways To Save Money, Get Debt Free, And Have Fun Doing It.
Following my recent blog post : How I got Debt Free, Worked Less and got Happier, I thought that it might be helpful to accompany this with some of my top money saving tips. Some of these may help, some may not for you, but they have all been very useful for me, and have contributed to me becoming debt free, happy and working less.
1) Start to pay off your debts using the ‘snowball method’.
The snowball method basically means that you pay your smallest debt off first, and this acts as a motivator to keep going. While It’s good advice to usually pay more than the minimum repayment on a credit card, if you have more than one, it has been proven to work better to continue paying the minimum on the larger debts, and plough everyu spare penny onto the smallest debt, until it is paid off. The then more onto the next smallest debt, and do the same, with the theory being that with every paid off debt, the available money to pay off goes up, and your enthusiasm and motivation keeps maintained due to seeing balances being paid off. It really works, I know from experience.
2) Ditch the Flix.
If you are seriously in debt, you should not be subscribing to Netflix, or Amazon Prime, or anything like that. Despite what society tells you, these are pure luxuries. If you like films as much as me, my advice would be to get back into DVDs. You can go to almost any charity shop these days and find DVDs for under a pound each. Limit yourself to one a week, and this halves the Netflix bill. Even better, make it a challenge to yourself to only watch free movies. There are loads on Youtube if you look around, there are free sites such as Crackle that occasionally have the odd hidden gem in, or maybe arrange a DVD exchange with a friend, and swap collections. There are just a few ideas re film watching.
3) Ditch Sky TV.
Look, do you want to work all day, slump back in a chair and scroll through 200 channels you aren’t interested in, and finally plump on that thing you half wanted to watch as it’s the best of a bad bunch? Or so you want to work less so that you can fill your time with more meaningful activities like spending time with your kids, or mountaineering, or board gaming, or swimming, or bird watching, or walking, or camping etc etc. Get rid of Sky, get Freeview, and put the extra £30 towards your debt. £30 is three hours less work you can afford to do.
4) Look at money differently.
Look at every pound and consider its value. Instead of saying £10 will buy me three pints, or a DVD, consider that £10 is worth one hour of your time at work. (or whatever your hourly rate is). The more £10s you can save, the less hours you can afford to work. This really opens your mind up to the possibilities of part time working, once you have your debts cleared, and have made savings in your life.
5) Ditch the Gym.
What can you do in the gym that you can’t do out of it? Do you go to the gym just to do cardio? If so, you may as well be burning your money. Go out running, get out on your bike, take up walking, climb a mountain, whatever. All of this is just as good for you, but includes free fresh air. If you do weights, get some weights at home. Do you need to go to the gym to show people your gainz? If so, stop. A £400 a year gym membership would buy a superb home set up.
6) Join a Board game club.
A personal favourite of mine. Board games are now hot. They are the new video games. Board gaming is an amazing, potentially free, time consuming hobby that gets you out to meet people, while making your brain better. It’s only a matter of time before hipsters are taking vintage shots of the board games they have ‘always been into’, so get in there early. It’s generally free entry, you can play other people’s games, have fun and meet new folk. Modern board games offer the same kind of satisfaction as videogames, but have the added bonus of being sociable and civilised. (and if playing someone else’s, it doesn’t cost £40). If you think of Monopoly only when it comes to Board games, you need to have a rethink. New games are incredible. Watch Shut Up And Sit Down on YouTube, join a club and try it. Just don’t get into the buying board games obsession. Trust me, if you belong to a group, you might never need buy even one game.
|We're gonna need a bigger table.|
7) Take up Geocaching.
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt where you find hidden caches using GPS co-ordinates. It is a fantastic hobby that is just about free, if you have a smartphone and decent walking gear. It is healthy, a great activity for kids and adults (Hello? Treasure hunting?), and is something you can dip in and out of. You can easily pack a lunch, and be out for hours with the whole family and not spend a penny.
8) See saving money as a game.
Challenge each other, if you are a couple, to save more money. Give rewards and prizes for who does best (use your imagination!). Secretly do a car boot sale, or sell a load of things on ebay to get your score up. Both of you put what you’ve saved into debt payment, or into savings.
I may add to this list as time goes on. There are so many that I will feel the need to put other things, so instead of multiple blogs I will do that. Anyone got any good money saving tips, light up the comments.