Frugal: Past, Present, and Future

Standard

I should start by saying that the money that we want to save is more of a luxury than a necessity; neither of us have debts other than student loans, but we want a concerted drive towards a deposit for a house. I was not much of a saver until around 2009, before which I lived mostly in my overdraft. My girlfriend has been saving seemingly from birth, and her good habits rubbed off on me and led me out of my overdraft and beyond. We could do better though, and much like the diet plan, we think that this will be born out of taking more responsibility for our actions. We will think before we spend.

Shopping lists

The thinking starts with our shopping lists. Last year we could easily spend over £100 a week on supermarket shopping – this would be because of poor planning and impulse buying. At the end of the week, we would throw out a lot of food that we hadn’t gotten around to eating, or had just forgotten about. So the first step was to make a shopping list (based on planned meals for the week) and stick to it. We are budgeting for £60 a week between us, and we think that it should be very do-able. We have also moved our weekly shop away from ASDA to ALDI, which according to mySupermarket is cheaper for what we buy. Our first shop at ALDI has been surprisingly good – it is less crowded, the checkout assistants are more efficient, it has everything that we need, and there is less temptation to impulse buy. Also, it was indeed cheap.

Cooking

The meals that we are cooking are also more frugal. Because we are dieting as well as saving money, portioning out our food is especially important, and we hope that what we buy will last us longer. One of the areas we plan to save on is soups – I eat them every weekday and would spend more than £1.50 per portion. By making my own soups (and we will be providing recipes soon!) we can get the price below half of what I was paying before (depending on where I purchased the soup).

Spend awareness

We have a Google document recording our outgoings for the month, which is forcing us to see what we are spending in hard cold numbers, and see how this is affecting what we are likely to save for the month. The aim of this is to make a firmer connection between handing over a credit/debit card for goods or services and the financial implications of doing so. Where possible, we are trying to withdraw cash and spend it rather than spend on our cards. This again makes what we are spending more tangible.

Every little helps

Finally, we are going to shop around and try to take full advantage of any vouchers or cashback deals that might exist for purchases that we want to make. For large purchases, this becomes immediately worthwhile, and for small purchases these should add up over time. We will look in to ways of making extra money, and making the money that we have work harder for us

So that’s the plan! Feel free to comment or leave feedback. We’ll keep you posted on our progress in due course.

Mission statement

Standard

As part of a new years resolution, my better half and I have decided to save more money and to lose weight (original, I know). You won’t be surprised to hear that this isn’t the first time we have tried this; unfortunately we are both big fans of food and, although my partner is a religious money-hoarder, I love pubs, bars, restaurants, bicycles, computers, whiskey,…, you get the point.

What sets us apart (we hope) is that between us we have the knowledge to achieve both of our goals. I recently dropped from around 16 st to around 14.5 st by following the 5:2 diet, which I have stuck at for more than a year and a half now. As previously mentioned, my better half has always managed to save money, and we are both perfectly happy to try being more frugal under her expert guidance.

This blog serves three purposes:

  1. A commitment device to encourage us to stick to our resolutions
  2. A method of disseminating anything useful we learn along the way
  3. A method of documenting how well/poorly we are doing

The idea is that the future posts will be a mixture of progress updates, opinions, strategies, and maybe even the recipes that we are following.

Here are the cold hard goals for the year:

  • Both reduce our BMIs to 25 (the top end of “normal”)
  • To save £6000 each

For a bit of context, we are both in out late twenties and both work full time. My BMI started at 26.54 and my partner’s 28.44 – so we are both over weight by definition. Last year I saved about £2500 (good by my standards!) and my partner saved around £3000, which by her standards is a bad year given full-time employment.

Neither of us are healthcare professionals, nor are we financial advisers. Everything on this site is opinion, although we will try to back up what we say with references (sometimes not even from Wikipedia!). If you decide to try anything that we mention, you do so at your own risk.

We hope that you enjoy reading about our journey, we’d love to hear any feedback that you may have!