Living on a lower income has its challenges but having less money has taught me a lot. I respect, value and enjoy money more than I used to. I use it more wisely and creatively and have a more positive relationship with it. I can now distinguish between a need and a want. I know that my wants change from day to day (different coloured boots one day, Orla Kiely handbag the next) whereas my needs can't be ignored (when your socks have holes in they need replacing). I realise that I can't have it all.
How I spend less money
- Having reduced our mortgage I don't want to take on any more debt. So I no longer consider buying things I can't afford and flash expenditure doesn't interest me. I haven't had a credit card since my twenties so I am lucky not to have any debt other than our mortgage.
- I rarely impulse buy.
- I waste less food.
- I buy less ready meals apart from the occasional curry dish.
- I follow fashion less slavishly and buy garments with lasting appeal and style.
- I am more interested in buying ethical or second hand products.
- I avoid sales.
- I buy less throw away items like magazines and flowers.
- I buy less from charity shops and fewer cheap brands – buying lots of bargains soon adds up.
- I don't buy people surprises very often. I ask what they want, buy them consumables or give vouchers.
- I have more no-spend days.
- I try and keep a spending diary.
- I budget for big expenditure throughout the year and know where all my money is going each month. I have spending limits for certain areas such as groceries and try and stick to them.
Some of the things I like to spend my money on
- A decent haircut at a reputable salon. I don't go to the salon director any more – I find I get a better cut and attention from an enthusiastic junior.
- A holiday once a year – no where fancy but a break away from routine is so beneficial. If we can't afford to get away we have a staycation and make sure we avoid normal everyday tasks and get out and about locally.
- A car wash. At around £3 I think this is good value.
- Window cleaning. This wouldn't get done if we didn't pay someone.
- Decent food. I try to keep my grocery shopping under control but sometimes buying special ingredients for ourselves or for entertaining is rewarding.
- Lunch or coffee out – cheaper than eating out in the evening.
- Online grocery shopping saves me time and gives me more control. It keeps me out of the shops avoiding temptation.
- Books – I love buying books but I try and pass them on to people afterwards.
- Selective clothes buying. I still enjoy clothes but with a reduced wardrobe.
How about you? Has you relationship with money changed? What do you think is worth spending money on?