The pandemic has taught us many things, including tons of wise money-saving tips! I’ve asked Amy from @twentysomethingfinance to share with you her 10 money saving tips from the pandemic – ones that should most definitely carry on once things return to normal.
Amy is a twenty-something navigating the world of financial wellbeing, who believes that the best path to financial prosperity is a balanced approach that makes room for doing the things you love! She is the face behind @twentysomethingfinance, creating content to inform and empower women to live their best financially secure lives. Amy champions a non-judgemental approach and shows that personal finance is individual – not one size fits all! She is also documenting her own journey to becoming debt-free and increasing her income, whilst sharing money-saving ideas and long-term strategies to make your own money grow and go further.
What is your favourite takeaway? Have you done the scary thing and added up how much you spent do takeaways? Teach yourself how to make it from scratch! Not only does this save a lot of money in the long run and you guarantee the quality of your ingredients, but it could also be your ‘go to’ party dish post pandemic. If you don’t want to make from scratch or you don’t have time, you can always buy from the supermarket and freeze it for when the craving arises!
Dominos Order: £20 (on a good day)
Supermarket Pizza: £6
DIY Pizza: around £5 for all the ingredients, making 4+ Large pizzas.
Tip: you can freeze pizza dough into portions, so you don’t have to make the base from scratch every single time. Just take it out to defrost a few hours before pizza time.
Disclaimer: I absolutely still get takeaways when there is a special occasion / celebration!
Invest in skincare, and you will spend much less on makeup and treatments.
Last year not only was I wearing a lot less makeup, but at 27 I realised I should probably start moisturising – lets hope its not too little too late! I bought a full daily kit (cleanser, moisturiser and hyaluronic acid) for £15 that lasted me over 3 months. Full disclosure, I also bought some extra serums from the same company, so my total came to £25. Obviously it’s an investment, but I don’t feel the need to wear foundation anymore, my favourite used to cost me about £28, and that’s without the additional expense of corrector, primer and setting spray. My skin hasn’t looked this good since I was about 12, and I like to think I have saved myself some seriously expensive anti-ageing treatments in the future.
Foundation etc: £200 per year
Botox: £250 per session
Skincare routine: £100 per year
The 20 Day Rule – online shopping
This tip I stole from my younger sister and it has definitely paid off! If there is something online that you really REALLY want and cannot live without, copy the link and save it into your notes. Delete the browser window. I hate to break it to you, but you have lived without that item so far, you can manage another 20 days without it. If by the end of 20 days you can still remember what the item was and you’re still obsessed with it, you can make the purchase! I have done this a lot with stuff from targeted adverts, and it has saved me a significant amount of money over the past year. What happens is it’s usually an impulse purchase from very clever targeted marketing, and by having some breathing space I end up forgetting about the item in a couple of days. Life happens and you will forget about buying the thing you thought you loved, because it turns out you didn’t really need or love it in the first place, the adverts just told you that you should.
The Shopping List
This is another handy tip, make a list of things you genuinely need to buy. Not things that are on your regular grocery list, but miscellaneous items like a replacement shampoo, a gift you will need, a new towel or a charging cable (why do we always leave that until last minute?!). When you get the urge to do some online shopping, order these things that you will actually use, then you get the shopping fix without buying stuff you didn’t really want or need.
Delete your saved card details
This little trick also helps stop the impulse purchases, having that time to step away from your device and find your card gives a bit of breathing room to evaluate your decision. There’s no guilt in buying something you value and/or will use, but I have found that little process of reading the numbers off the card makes me realise I am actually spending real money.
Bread / Treats / Birthday Cakes made at home.
We all know that coffee at home is cheaper than to go, but there are other things that taste delicious homemade, that are also cheaper too! I’m not suggesting we all jump on the sourdough bandwagon again (please no), but the process of making ‘normal’ bread can be really rewarding and tasty. I won’t be giving up my sliced Aldi loaves any time soon, but as a weekend treat it makes brunch a bit more special. Talking of special, baking a cake or cookies for someone is a really great way to spread some love, I always think home made cake tastes far better than shop bought ones, and they are cheaper too!
Personalised giant cookie from bakery: £25
Home-made version with extra toppings: £7
Love your neighbour – they are wonderful, and you might get free stuff
It doesn’t cost anything to smile and have a socially distanced chat with your neighbour. I am very lucky because we have lovely neighbours each side! If you don’t know yours, maybe reach out, even a little ‘Hello!’ will help break the ice if you haven’t spoken before. It will make living wherever you are more enjoyable, and there may be some bonuses coming your way! This year I have been very fortunate to be given gym equipment, home made candles, cakes, a car wing mirror, and the loan of an additional computer screen to help me do my assignments. None of these things were requested, and a side effect of their willingness to help out has saved me a small fortune. Of course we do things in return too, being and having good neighbours will always make the world a nicer place to be.
Socialising and drinking at home
I don’t really feel the need to go in depth here, but one bottle of reasonable wine is £6-£10.
One large (is it really large though?!) glass of wine out-out is around £7-8.
I’ll let you figure out the maths.
Another major plus to this is not needing expensive post-midnight taxis home or blisters from standing all evening, and you won’t get forced to drink damn jagerbombs. I will definitely be continuing in-out instead of out-out.
Bottle of wine out-out: £20
Bottle of wine in-out: £8
Sell your pre-loved items on local online pages & groups
It is a little weird not being anonymous on Facebook* marketplace, but I have sold items in minutes using groups and local pages with specific interest in what I was looking to sell. Selling things locally saves on packaging, postage, platform fees AND reduces carbon emissions. You are making money, saving money, and helping the planet at the same time – it’s a no brainer!
*other platforms are available.
Double check your bank statements, always.
This year has been a year of really focused debt paydown for me, and I am now very aware of my spending. Checking my statement on my banking app meant I spotted:
A £20 per year recurring payment active since 2014
A regularly inflated phone bill
A double amazon prime payment
Old insurance still on direct debit
Incorrect furlough payments
And you know what happened? Every single one of these issues got resolved almost immediately. Payments were refunded, corrected and no problem at all.
Always double check, always be polite, and always stand your ground.
And one money saving habit I will not be continuing:
Zoom quizzes instead of pub quizzes. I need overpriced crisps to fuel my brain cells.