There’s a saying that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. Having very little income has made me realise how true that really is. Sums of money that previously seemed trivial become vitally important when you don’t have much coming in.
For example, I always used to buy canned beans – they’re so cheap that I didn’t feel the need to make any more savings. I figured the extra cost was worth it for the convenience. Now I think the extra effort of cooking dried beans is worthwhile because of the money it saves me.
I have a discount card which gets me 10% off at a particular supermarket, which I didn’t previously bother with if I was only getting a couple of things. But now I’ll use it even if I’m only buying a 75p tube of toothpaste, because I recognise the value of those few pennies.
Likewise, a return to Bristol on the train is 40p more expensive than the equivalent bus ticket. It used to seem like a pretty insignificant difference, but not any more.
I’ll even think twice before making a phone call or sending a text. Most calls are only 10p on my network, but even that adds up if you do it often! It’s usually possible to use Facebook or Skype instead, so I tend to do that.
I’m also careful with the electricity I use – I only use the lights if I can’t see what I’m doing, and switch them off even if I’m only leaving the room for a couple of minutes.
Often when people need to save money, they focus on cutting out major expenses like gym memberships. That’s definitely a good place to start, but why stop there?
All the tiny savings I’ve made over the past few months must have added up quite considerably, and I don’t think making these savings has had any kind of negative impact on my quality of life – quite the opposite.
Many people would call me a cheapskate (and they’d be right!) but I have no regrets when it comes to living this way, because it means I can afford to work far less than most people and have more time to do the things which are really important to me. Spending very little money doesn’t make me miserable – in fact, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
I find that once you get into the mindset of saving as much money as possible, it starts to come naturally and you do it without thinking. Having said that, if you find yourself obsessing over it to the point where it stresses you out, it may be best to back off for the sake of your mental health! I’d also like to add that it’s good to treat yourself now and then – besides, you’ll feel a lot better about doing so if you’ve saved on your day-to-day expenses.
Do you make any tiny savings? I’d love to hear what they are!