Some lads have got their financial profile in check. They never seem to want for anything, have plenty of material possessions, pension, savings and cash to spare right before pay day.
However many of us look forward to that day when our wallets and banks get replenished, the end of the week or monthly pay day can’t seem to come soon enough. Then for that brief period of time when you feel rich y te da igual de todo you’ll spend like there’s no tomorrow and you’ve not a care in the world. Until you’re half way to the next pay day and realise you’ve not a pot to piss in. Sound Familiar?
It doesn’t have to be that way, we seem to live in an age where everyone wants to live the champagne lifestyle on lemonade money. It’s important to live within your means and this article looks to give you 10 simple ways to spend less money, in the hope of a first step towards better financial management. Because ultimately #MoneyMatters.
Make a shopping list before you go shopping
I used to never make a list before going shopping, I’d go to Morrisons for eggs and bread, and somehow walk out £50 lighter. Every. Single. Time. But making a shopping list before going food shopping has two similar advantages; the first is that when I’m writing a list I’m consciously checking the kitchen for items I need, more than I want – I need tea bags, I don’t need several varieties of chai and fruit teas.
Secondly, once I’m at the super market I stick to the list and am not swayed into throwing things into the trolley just for the sake of it.
This is easier said than done. I’ve quit several times in the past and have picked up smoking again, so I can completely emphasise how difficult kicking the habit is. But aside from improving your health and not having ashtray breath, you’ll also save yourself £79.50 per month, based on a lower priced packet of cigarettes in Gibraltar being £2.65.
Cancel that unused Gym membership
I’ve nothing at all against people staying in shape, if you’re using the gym daily then you’re certainly getting value for money for that monthly fee.
However if you’re not, then stop kidding yourself. January is over and if you haven’t turned the tide by now you’re probably going to hit the beach this summer looking like Shrek. You may as well save on the £40/£50 per month that you’re not using.
Invite friends round for a night in
As well as being a no brainer in terms of spending less, this adds a bit of diversity to your nightly social life. Nights out are usually a great laugh, but then so are nights in with the right company.
If you’re having 4 nights out a month, then having one of them at home with a few beers or wine, or spirits will cost no more than £20, compared to a full commitment ‘vamos liarla’ night that can cost £60 upwards without dropping a sweat. Call it another £40/£50 saved next month.
Take the bus or walk
En serio? Yes. If this one saved you even just a measly £5-£10 a month it would still be worth it. Why? Traffic and road congestion is possibly the biggest pain in the arse in Gib, we’re all too comfortable taking the car for a 5 minute drive or dropping the kids off 500 meters down the road and picking them up.
Local air quality is of concern; levels of Particulate Matter (PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide have surpassed European limits and although a fair part of the air pollution is blow in from prevailing winds, it’s hard to deny local traffic congestion does contribute.
Lastly, it’s free. I tell friends in UK and beyond that we don’t pay for public transport and they are shocked at how lucky we are. You should take advantage of that.
Drive & Park Sensibly
If you missed the previous point, then take the bus or walk. If you’re still going to take that 2-5 minute drive to work, then drive and park sensibly.
Using your phone, speeding or driving recklessly is wholly discouraged because you’re endangering other peoples lives, as well as your own. That aside, you’ll pick up speeding fines along the way, fines for using your phone (I see people doing this daily) and it could end up affecting your insurance premiums too. Same with parking, fines are not a good way to spend less money.
Cut your own hair
This may be a bit harder to apply if you’re going for some Cristiano look, but if it’s skin head or short back and sides, it couldn’t be easier to cut your own hair. I’d pay £10 – £15 for a hair cut once factoring in a tip and shave. You can buy a decent set of Wahl hair clippers for £20 – £40 in town and save £40 – £60 a month in the process.
Plan free or cheap days out
A day out doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. We’re fortunate enough to have a beautiful nature reserve on the upper rock for free. Tourists pay through the teeth for Rock tours and we have it on our door step for free. Picnics on the beach or at Commonwealth Park, walks on the Med Steps and strolling through the Alameda Botanic Gardens are all free days out. The upper Rock is one of my favourite places and if you’re feeling really adventurous, check out #5 Reasons to do the 5 Med Steps Challenge.
Shop around for better value
Take car and home insurance as examples. I recently had to renew my car insurance and with a simple 5 e-mails I had quotes that ranged £100 in price difference. For 30 minutes of my time just me e-mailing around I’d saved £100 for my car insurance.
With phone and internet this was harder in Gibraltar. But before when we only had Gib Telecom as a network provider, now there is U-Mee, Gib Fibre Speed and Limba. With this choice comes better value dependant on your needs. Shop around for quotes and see which offers you more for less.
Budget & Plan
There are numerous more ways to spend less, subject to your personal finances and outgoings or philosophy on money, suggestions may vary. But if you do want to spend less to save for a down payment on a house, a holiday or just to have a financial cushion, then budget.
Write down a list of everything you spend on a weekly and monthly basis, keep receipts to support this and take some time out of your schedule to review your finances. Once you have this intel, you can plan around that accordingly. Click/tap here to read our article on budgeting.
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