Over the past month I've tried 12 ways to save even more money from an already frugal budget. Here's how I got on:
Challenge 1 - packed lunch - Woohoo, I did it! I do usually bring my own lunch, but in February I bought lunch in the supermarket five times because I didn't have time to make it. That means I saved £15 in March by keeping soups and instant noodles at work!
Challenge 2 - see a penny... - I've got to admit, I got carried away by the bright lights of The Boyfriend finding £10 on the floor. I collected a whopping 13p in change during March. Oh well!
Challenge 3 - stay in with friends - This month we've had some great times with friends either at our flat or their homes; we made pasties, sushi (vegetarian for me!), and had roast dinner and brunch cooked for us! I don't really have an estimate for savings here, but it definitely would have cost a lot to eat out for each of these days!
Challenge 4 - £50 extra income - I earned £19 for two psychology experiments and ~£66 for demonstrating in Undergraduate practicals! Total earned: ~£85! How did you do?
Challenge 5 - £1 meal plans - We've stuck to evening meal plans for the past three weeks and I like it! There's no pondering what to have for dinner and you can fit meals around both the ingredients you have and how much time you'll have to make it! We spent £26.15 less on food this month!
Challenge 6 - save money on bills - I signed up for Money Saving Expert's Cheap Energy Club, which checks that you are on the best tariff for you and alerts you if that changes! Pretty handy! Looks like I can save £71 a year by switching suppliers.
Challenge 7 - save money on gardening - I have windowsills full of egg boxes, seed trays and milk bottles. I cut the top off the milk bottles to put a pea seedling in each of them, to get a head start on spring! WHEN WILL IT BE WARM?? No real estimate here, but I haven't bought the things I thought I needed!
Challenge 8 - enter a competition - I won a free Malteser chocolate bunny from Tesco! Haven't heard back yet about which amazing holiday I have(n't) won, haha! I am still in the process of writing an entry for the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize (check it out, fellow scientists!). Winnings: 60p (value of a Malteser bunny!)
Challenge 9 - No Spend week - We had to get milk, booooo! But we only spent £3.78 (milk, margarine, bread etc.) so I guess we did ok.
Challenge 10 - find a better ISA - I still can't find an easy access ISA with a better rate than inflation (I still only have a small Emergency Fund and don't want to tie it up too much), but I will definitely be opening a new ISA this month to get a better rate!
Challenge 11 - batch cooking - I've been stocking up the freezer with healthy meals rather than the "freezer crap" like pizzas and veggie burgers. So much cheaper and healthier, still very little effort involved. This probably saves at least 50p per meal I make instead of pizza/burgers, so currently about £3.
Challenge 12 - make a gift - I made a cake and cheese straws as a gift for my parents when I went to visit, which cost a lot less than a bottle of wine and was more thoughtful to boot.
So all in all I saved £200.88 during Money Saving March! :) That's not even including better interest rates and the cost of gifts, gardening and meals out! Woohoo!
How did you do? Did you manage to earn extra money, plan meals better or switch to a better internet provider? Let me know! :)