Do you know how much you are spending on food, toiletries, household items & other necessities every month? Even if you don’t think you spend a lot, vouchers and some other simple strategies can help you save a lot. Let’s talk about them!
Use Vouchers for regular purchases like wine from Laithwaite’s
Okay, I will concede that wine is not a necessity. Hardcore FI’ers will tell you to ditch it and put the money into your retirement investment, but you have to live your life too. If you enjoy a glass of wine in the evening then make smart purchasing decisions, use a discount code to save even more, and move on. And obviously you can use vouchers for a lot more than just purchasing wine.
I highly recommend Laithwaite’s for buying wine for a couple of reasons. Number one is their unbeatable prices. You can put together your own sampler pack of 12 bottles of wine, and the prices can be as low as £7.99 per bottle. If you want to try some new wines you can also choose one of their pre-selected cases. They usually are on a theme like ‘Festive Reds’ or ‘Sparkling Wines’. The prices on those are excellent as well, and if you keep a sharp eye out or join their mailing list they have sales on cases quite frequently. The other reason is that their catalog is quite extensive. If you like to drink it, chances are they have it. And if they don’t, talk to one of their wine experts who will be able to point you in the direction of something similar.
Set up a subscription for items that you need regularly
I’m going to sound like a real lush here, but Laithwaite’s also has a wine subscription service. They send you a case at the frequency of your choosing. The prices are probably the best you will find, and the convenience factor is very nice as well.
You can also subscribe for non-alcoholic items. You may have seen Amazon’s ‘Subscribe & Save’ program offered on various items. I tend to shop around a bit, sometimes Amazon has great prices and sometimes they are on the expensive side. However if they do have a good price on something and you need it regularly, their subscription service gets you 5% off the listed price. You can choose a delivery frequency between 2 weeks and 6 weeks, and you also have the ability to skip a delivery. Aside from the savings, you also won’t have to run out to the shops at 10pm on a Thursday because you forgot to buy cat food again.
Some subscription services for novelty items or meal delivery are certainly fun to get, but they won’t necessarily save you money. However if you can find a good voucher code and it’s something you would really enjoy, I say have at it.
Plan meals ahead of time
I know, it’s not the sexiest thing to do. However meal planning/prepping not only saves you a lot of money, it’s also much healthier than getting pizza every night. It’s really not that difficult either when you get into a rhythm. I try to avoid multiple trips to the shops in a week right now, and planning ahead helps me to get everything I need for the week in one go.
Some people think of ‘meal planning’ as a massive grocery shop on Saturday and then an epic day of cooking on Sunday. I’ll be honest, I don’t hate to cook but I don’t love it either and I would not enjoy spending an entire day on it. Here’s what I do: I’ve got a bank of about 20 recipes that are easy and inexpensive to make, and I just cycle through them. I make dinner every night, and I make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Breakfast is always eggs with something different on the side: toast, porridge, or potatoes.
All I have to do is pull out 7 recipes before I go shop and note down anything I need to pick up in addition to staples like milk, eggs, tea, etc. Easy! And since I’m never heading off to work (currently in my living room) without anything to eat for lunch or staring into my fridge at 6pm with zero notions on what to make for dinner I don’t order take-out and save myself a lot of money.
Small changes make a big difference
Even something as simple as switching to the store’s in-house brand instead of buying name brand can make a big difference. Especially if you are buying something very basic, a can of beans is a can of beans whether it’s name brand or not! Saving 30pp on a single item might not seem like a lot, but if you add up the small savings over several trips, months, and even years it gets to be a significant amount. And then if you turn around and put that money into your investments? Even better!
So sit down and gather a few recipes, make a list, use your voucher codes, and get to saving.