Money. We all need more of it. But even if we had more, we’d still want… more!
Having graduated over a year ago, and moved out from my parents pretty much straight after, I’m well aware of the veracity of adult life and how a number printed on a bit of paper can determine your future.
That’s what leaves me needing strong cocktails on a Saturday night.
I’ve always been a voluntary saver, but now that I’m looking to upgrade to a bigger house in a more secluded area, saving has become mandatory.
And here lies the problem.
As someone who’s considered active and adventurous, you won’t find me sitting in front of the TV for hours, or lazing around.
Exploring the world, trying new foods, wearing different clothes, staying in amazing hotels… that all costs money.
Determined to not put my social life on hold whilst saving, I’ve discovered ways you can put money aside each month and not have to stay home, bored out of your mind.
Become More Socially Aware
People think that saving means you have to stay at home doing nothing, but here’s the thing- you want to be doing the complete opposite.
Since the age of 16, I’ve been putting my earnings towards something: My first car during college, studying abroad at University, moving out after graduation, and holidays in the past year.
During some of these times, it felt like working wasn’t beneficial; I wasn’t actually seeing any of the money I was making. So, this time around, whilst saving to move home, I was determined to not become frustrated with not having spare cash.
Invite Friends Around
Money buys you lots of things, but it doesn’t buy you happiness.
If you’re hankering to hit the clubs on a Friday night, then invite friends to your house for cocktails and bring the party to you. Buy some of your favourite ingredients (for me, that’s vodka) and create your own recipes.
The ingredients for this drink were:
- Woo woo mocktail
The ingredients for this drink were:
- Apple martini mix
- 4 grapes
I know what you’re thinking… but alcohol costs money? True, but for a night of drinking around 4 cocktails, it cost around £3 per person. If you can all agree on a main spirit (in our case, vodka), then you can split the price.
To make the night fun, leave all the ingredients out in the kitchen and have everything on hand (a cocktail shaker, coloured ice cubes, measuring glass), so guests can make their own variations.
‘Come Dine With Me’ At Home
I’m easily pleased if food is involved, so this is probably one of my favourite things to do at the weekend. Going out for a meal can be expensive and waiting for food to arrive can be boring.
Host a dinner night at your house and ask friends to join you. The idea is that the host cooks a surprise for the guests.
The average cost for a meal in a restaurant is £15, but purchasing your own ingredients from a supermarket is significantly cheaper, and there’s something about creating your own meal that gives you a sense of pride.
Make the night special by encouraging guests to bring a bottle of wine and have a ‘no phone’ night so you can spend a few hours having healthy conversations without wandering hands scrolling through Facebook.
(Unfortunately, neither of these images are mine as I’m still learning in the kitchen).
- Broccoli and Stilton cheese soup for starter, with grated cheese on top.
- Burrito stuffed with kidney beans, rice and chicken. Layered with cheese and dips on the side. (So delicious, but I had to leave to save room for dessert).
- Not one pudding, but two! Blueberry cheesecake and lemon custard (still convinced this was bought and not made from scratch!).
Great memories and fun times. It doesn’t matter if you’re not proficient at cooking – you can buy tasty food from your supermarket and still save money.
But why not use it as an opportunity to develop your kitchen skills? (Just warn guests first).
Find A New Hobby
This is another of my favourites. As an ambitious and self-driven person, I try not to get stuck in a routine because that can make you feel bored of your life.
And once you feel bored, you’ve fallen into the trap of stressing about money and wondering of all the magical things you could be doing if your bank account was looking a little bigger.
Occupy your mind with things you enjoy. Create healthy routines so that not partying on a Saturday night doesn’t feel like you’ve achieved something, but it becomes the norm.
Instead of moping around winging about having no money, I’ve indulged myself into learning and finding new hobbies. Trying new exercise regimes has become a regular occurrence to keep my mind and body healthy.
Sworkit is a personalised video workouts app that is free, and you can soon become addicted.
As someone who enjoys singing, I spend time researching the vocal anatomy and deriving new vocal exercises. It costs nothing to do, gives me a purpose and prevents boredom on a Saturday afternoon.
Think back to a time when work and sleep wasn’t all you did, and write a list of things you enjoy. For me, these include:
- Watching TV
- A recent obsession with playing on the PlayStation
- Exercising (Well, not enjoy, but you know)
Make it mandatory to fit the things you enjoy doing into your life and improve in your areas. Take up learning a language, or start a part time business.
Saving money doesn’t mean you have to stop living.
It’s nearly 9pm on a Friday night and I’m working… and I’m actually not hating life.
Don’t be like the one in four Britons who hate their job, because then you’ll feel like you’re getting nothing out of life if you’re working and having to save every penny.
Pause. Reflect. Do you dread getting up in the mornings? If yes, then it might be time to speak with your boss or look for new opportunities.
For the small amount of you who enjoy your job, focus on improving your craft.
How can you help the business increase its profits? In what ways can you be a better employee? Are there part-time courses you can take to fill your time?
Working takes up the majority of your life, so it helps if you love what you do. That way your career actually feels like a hobby.
Money doesn’t control you. Saving doesn’t have to be hard and filled with jaded nights. Appreciate your family and friends and spend more time with them.
They’ll leave you feeling better then money ever will.
Why’s it always someone’s birthday? It feels like every other week someone has to remind you that it’s so-and-so’s birthday. Communicate with them and explain that you’re saving.
It’ll make you feel a lot less guilty about not getting them something huge.
Quit complaining about what you don’t have and focus on the beautiful things you have in your life.
Although, money has become a focus on my life, I don’t allow it to control my happiness and transferring money into my savings has become a habit.
Anyway, I’m off to play on the PlayStation now…
Quick Tips To Save Money
- As soon as you get paid, work out how much money you need for rent, bills, phone contract etc. and put this in a different account straight away (a direct debit is better!).
- Reduce your outgoings. Do you need a £30 gym membership when you can work out with a fitness app?
- Don’t visit shopping centres, because they’ll just tempt you!
- Stop checking your balance. Staring won’t make the figures increase, so just allow it to build on its own.
- Budget yourself a reasonable amount to treat yourself once in a while. (I draw out £20 a month and keep aside for if I need it).