Financial Friday #GreatBritishBudget - Cutting back without missing out (too much)

February 28, 2014

This is a toughie!

This post is aimed at those of you who want to cut back on your spending but don't want to miss out on life's little luxuries either.

Let me clarify though - if you really are struggling to make ends meet you are going to have to bite the bullet and cut right back. If you want to get out of debt or anything else serious like that then you are going to have tough times ahead I am afraid, you will need to make sacrifices.

Here are some little money saving ideas which help you cut back whilst still enjoying a treat.

Meals in for Two 

Want a romantic meal but can't afford the bill, baby sitter, etc? Try one of the 'dine in for two' meal deals that run at Marks & Spencer's, Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco's etc. You know exactly how much it will cost (usually £10) and it covers 2-3 courses, sides and a drink. Little to no preparation or washing up required so you still feel (a bit) like you've gone out for a meal.

Pizza Express Vouchers

Last week I told you to un-subscribe from shopping and offers emails and now I am contradicting myself and telling you that one good offer scheme to be part of is the Pizza Express one, they regularly offer buy one get one free or 40% off. They also offer you a free bottle of bubbly for your birthday!

Choose what is worth paying for, stop buying what isn't!

Do you pay for a gym membership but rarely go there? Do you have a Love Film subscription but barely watch any films? Do you have a cinema pass that you use just once a month? If you are paying for something but not using it then that is not only a waste of money but it stops you buying something you do want.

Buy Samples instead of full sized products

This is a new thing that I have been doing and especially applies to us 'green' girls. Beauty products can be expensive but if you buy the sample size then you still get to experience the product without paying the hefty price tag. Also, this will save you money in wasted product - if you don't get on with the full sized product then you will have spent a lot of money with nothing to show for it. 

I have been doing this with make up - I have a very small collection at the moment so I have been buying sample blushers, bronzers and eye shadows so I have a nice selection of make up to choose from without spending hundreds of pounds building up a big range of different colours.

Gift card spending limit

I don't know why but I am a bit of a sucker for a Starbucks. There is one a VERY short walk from my work (less than a minute, under cover) and it is hard for me to stay away. So I devised a new rule for myself... I got myself a Starbucks gift card, put £10 on it and that had to last me a month, once it was gone it was gone! And, believe me, it didn't last very long at all! But, spending more than £10 a month at Starbucks is silly (to me) so I needed this physical barrier to highlight to me how quickly I can drink away my hard earned cash!

Final Thoughts

Having said all of this my ultimate message to you would be - treat yourself when you need it. Don't go over board of course and don't spend money you don't have but don't be too hard on yourself. We all need a little treat here and there.


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12 comments:

  1. Some good tips here! I definitely agree with the samples, I've found products I really want to buy full size, and I've also been glad I've tried products which I know I will never try again. And the gift card limit is such a good idea too! Forced self discipline :) x

    Chesca @ fernandmoss

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    1. Thank you :-) and yes, samples are a life (pocket) saver! Plus you feel like you're still getting a treat but at a fraction of the price. xx

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  2. I´ve found all 3 posts really interesting. I think they´re full of useful information. I have 3 children (who eat like there´s twice as many!) and so we are careful with what we spend. However, we don´t necessarily stay at home or never eat out. We use Tesco´s vouchers for Pizza Express (£10 or vouchers is worth £40 in Pizza Express) so we can still go out and feel that we´re getting a free meal (drinks are not included). We often take them to the cinema. Cineworld does films for a £1 per person (actually, I think it´s £1.50 now but if you buy the tickets in advance online you get 10% discount). This is on weekends and during holidays and it´s older films that have been out for 3 months or so but for that price we don´t mind! If they want popcorn (which I sometimes I get for them), I get a big bag and then divide it for each person as getting a little bag for each would cost about £8 more! We also shop in Lidl. I actually find the quality of the fruit and veg, pasta, cereals and other non perishables is really good. I don´t buy fish there, though, as I don´t like it so much and I get meat at my local butcher´s which is actually cheaper than the supermarkets and much better quality. One can make sacrifices but not necessarily stop ourselves from having fun. Of course, noone is perfect and I have wasted money in the past on things I didn´t need or like (like impulse buying clothes that were the wrong size just cos they were on a sale...). I´d like to add that I also love cards that give you points and you get vouchers with them. I have one for nearly every place I go to, including Costa!

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you did :-) Tesco vouchers are good - we have switched to an Asda credit card this month but for a long time we used a Tesco credit card as our main card which meant we earned points even though we don't have a Tesco near us. We have used the vouchers for all sorts - even car parking at the airport!
      I agree on the Cineworld £1 tickets, we've been a few times and seen some great films (Walking with Dinosaurs, Wreck It Ralph and Monster's University) yes, they had been out a while but they were still new to us and it was a fun, cheap morning out. I looked at the price to go to see Frozen and it would cost the three of us £19!! Whaaat! You could buy the (Blu Ray) DVD for that much!
      Do you have a John Lewis near you? We have one near us and I have a JL loyalty card that gives you a free medium hot drink and a cake once a month! No strings attached! normally I'll have the hot drink and Maddie has a little cake ;-)
      great to hear from you, love all your tips and ideas, they're all great! thank you!
      Rach xx

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    2. I have a Waitrose card which gives you a free drink every time you go to their cafe but not a JL card. I might have to get one too! :-p

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  3. Samples FTW! Tho I feel that skin care samples can make it a little hard to decide whether or not it's working, since sample sizes don't usually last long enough. But I'm totally for make up samples, since I don't use a lot of make up, and things like foundation and concealer colors are hard to determine on the computer screen.

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    1. I don't really use skin care 'products' as such (just honey for cleansing and oils for moisturising) and when I did try out some different samples my skin freaked out! But, I love, love, love buying make up samples! As I'm starting from scratch again with my make up it's great to order blush and eye shadow samples so I have loads of colours to choose from without paying a fortune!
      Thanks for reading and commenting :-)
      Rach xx

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  4. I have really enjoyed these posts. I wish more companies had makeup samples x

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    1. Thank you :-) I find that the American make up brands are best for samples - all natural face, Brija, etc. Have you ever looked on cocktail cosmetics? Lots of every day minerals, etc, samples on there. I got some lovely blush samples from there. Rach xx

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  5. I don't really use skin care 'products' as such (just honey for cleansing and oils for moisturising) and when I did try out some different samples my skin freaked out! But, I love, love, love buying make up samples! As I'm starting from scratch again with my make up it's great to order blush and eye shadow samples so I have loads of colours to choose from without paying a fortune!
    Thanks for reading and commenting :-)
    Rach xx

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