I always enjoy sharing my money management tips here on Prettygreentea. I’ve talked about the importance of general money management, how to save money during a city break and simple ways to save money throughout the working week. I like to document what I’m doing at various points in the year because not only does it give you some inspiration but it also helps to keep me accountable.
I recently agreed to get involved with the #SagaPlanYourYear campaign for 2017. The folk at Saga want to encourage people to kick-start the year by getting financially savvy. Even though we’re nearing the end of January there’s no excuse not to get organised. I’m all for setting goals at the start of the year (you can see my goals for 2017 here) but I think it’s equally important to make monthly goals and have fresh starts throughout the year.
Just for a little background info, the equity release service Saga provides is for those over 55+ who are looking to release equity from their home to use for other things such as home improvements or travel, which is why it can be used to gain greater control of your finances.
I think being mindful about what you spend and managing your income is very important. With just a few little changes each month you can save a nice little sum by the end of the year. I’ve also found that even though it can take a little organisation to get started it will quickly become a habit. The more you do it, the more you save and the more you enjoy finding ways to curb your spending. Setting these kinds of habits from today means that you’ll only improve upon them each year throughout your life.
Here are 4 ways I plan to become more financially savvy in 2017:
Meal planning – I’ve talked about meal planning on multiple occasions. Not only is it a good way to save money on a weekly basis but it also saves time when you’ve had a busy day at work. Another reason I do this is because I’m trying to eat as healthy as I can this year. If I don’t plan out my meals then that’s when I’ll reach for the easy and usually, less healthy options.
I need to improve upon this in 2017 by planning out my lunches. Before I always had a few breakfast options and then 5 meal ideas for the week. I now work from a co-working space and I often buy lunch out. I don’t mind doing this from time to time but as I have to avoid dairy it can be quite hard to find an affordable, simple lunch. So, I’d like to aim to have the ingredients to hand so I can make lunch at home and take it into work.
Reusable bottles/cups – I’ve already started to implement this because I want to cut down on the amount of one-off plastic I use (water bottles and coffee cups are the main culprit). I currently use a Water Bobble which I take into my work space, to the gym and on any day trips. The only time this is a problem is when I have a smaller bag, but generally I’ve managed to fit the bottle into my handbag.
Let’s talk coffee. This is where a lot of money is spent each week for many people and it also has a huge impact on our environment. I’ve started taking my Ecoffee Cup with me as often as possible. I tend to make my tea or coffee before I leave the house (thank goodness for my Nespresso machine) but if I don’t have time then I’ll buy one on the go. It does mean that I won’t be saving any money but I will be making my contribution to the planet.
Say no to takeaways – I don’t mean avoid JustEat all year, although that would be a good challenge. Simply aim to drop the weekly or fortnightly takeaway and instead treat yourself every couple of months. The amount you can spend on one takeaway could be split across a few tasty, home-cooked meals for the week.
At the start of January I stocked up on some tasty treats for the freezer. They aren’t super healthy but they’re a much better option than ordering a takeaway. On the nights where we crave fast food we now make a tasty bean burger at home or knock together a curry. We have a bunch of paratha breads and samosas on hand to give the meal that takeaway feel. It means we save a bit of money but still get to curb that takeaway craving.
Save money at the start of the month – Saving money at the start of the month, after your fixed costs means you can see how much disposable income you have for the rest of the month. I already have this set up. Each month a set amount transfers into each of my savings accounts. One is for a rainy day and one is for travel. I like to have separate savings accounts for different goals.
I’d like to increase my monthly savings over the next few months. By cutting back on coffee, takeaway and planning more meals I hope I’ll be able to do this.
I hope this post has given you a little inspiration for saving money throughout 2017.
Leave a comment below and let me know how you’ll be saving money this year.