Man who stashed £15,000 in one year shares his top tips for saving money12/29/2020
We’d all like to be putting away a bit more money.
So when someone’s actually managed to bump up the numbers in their savings account, we’re going to listen to their wisdom.
Tom Bourlet, 33, is one of those people.
In just one year, Tom has saved £15,000 – and yes, that’s in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic as a backdrop.
Tom, from Brighton, was working as a marketing consultant and blogger with a comfortable salary before Covid-19 reared its head.
When the first lockdown came into place, work started to dwindle, and Tom saw 50% of his income disappear.
While working on his own website, CBD Sloth, helped to bring in some more money, Tom realised it was time to invest some time and effort into sorting out his finances.
The pandemic prompted Tom and his girlfriend, Raquel Mitchell, 31, to tighten their budget and get serious about their savings.
The couple hope to use the money they each put away towards a property deposit for a home in Brighton.
Here, Tom shares his top tips.
Do your food shop online
Tom said: ‘I have been making a lot more recipes from scratch but most of the meals I make use a lot of the same ingredients.
‘I’ve therefore saved an online shopping list, which I use as my shopping base when doing my weekly shop.
‘I don’t click on any of the other sections on the website, meaning I don’t virtually walk down the cookie aisle as such.
‘This stops me from being tempted by spontaneous purchases and also helps with the waistline a bit.’
Swap pricey takeaways for home-made fakeaways
An easy change you can make right now: stop ordering in overpriced meals.
‘When my girlfriend and I have wanted a specific meal, instead of getting a takeaway, we’ve looked up the recipe and bought all the ingredients,’ said Tom.
‘This has saved us a lot of money but it has also been a really fun experience.
‘We’ve learned new skills and new recipes for whenever we might host, or just when we fancy eating something special.’
Do a skill-share day
Rather than paying for odd jobs, Tom opted to swap his skills for someone else’s.
Tom said: ‘Rather than paying for costs that come up throughout the year, e.g. a designer, developer, etc, I’ve done a ‘skill-share’ day.
‘This is where people do a day’s work for me for free and I do a day’s work for them.
‘I network with others within the industry or I email people in the relevant industry whom I’ve previously met.
‘You might need to think outside the box on what you can offer but everyone has a skillset and a group of people who would be interested in this, so work out what you can offer in return.’
Do your research and find discount codes
Before you hit ‘buy’, do a dig around to check you can’t get that purchase cheaper.
‘Before buying anything online, I’ve now got into the habit of quickly emailing the company to see if they have any discount codes live,’ said Tom.
‘While you might not be able to find them on the branded website or on a voucher code site, they might have a number of codes which aren’t listed but are still live.
‘This has saved me up to 50% off various items including beds, electronics and food.’
Ditch the daily luxuries
You know this one: that daily latte just isn’t justifiable when you’re trying to save more cash.
Tom said: ‘I used to love having a coffee out but when I started planning to buy a house, I listed all my finances and worked out it was coming to £1,000 per year, whereas the coffee at work was free, so I tried cutting it out.
‘Once I started working fully from home, I started having Tassimo pods, as these were much cheaper but they were still excessively more expensive than a normal instant coffee, so the price started adding up.
‘In the last year, I’ve cut them out and gone back to instant coffee, which will have saved me a huge amount over the last year.’
Quit the gym
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the power of an at-home workout.
If you’re hardly using your gym membership, now might be the time to ditch it.
Tom said: ‘I bought some equipment and made do with what I had in the house and completely quit the gym.
‘There are so many YouTube videos available for free for my cardio training, such as HIIT workouts, while I can do weight training from home to an adequate level.’
Swap expensive leisure activities for free ones
‘I used to love going out to the cinema, bowling or doing various other cost-based activities,’ Tom said.
‘I didn’t want my weekends to be empty, so I filled them with other activities during 2020, such as cycling or table tennis.
‘This offered an incredibly fun use of my time, it was a great exercise, and most importantly, didn’t cost a penny.’
Keep track of your spending
You can’t save money without knowing exactly what you’re spending.
Tom used an Excel spreadsheet to document every expense, but you could try automated apps if that sounds like too much faff.
Tom added: ‘Record all of your outgoings and analyse which are essential, and which you can either drop or find a cheaper substitute for.
‘It’s only when you truly analyse what you’re spending money on that you realise where you’re leaking a lot of money.
‘It can be the small things; from a coffee while out, to a pint in a pub over drinking at someone’s house or paying for a gym membership, but these costs add up over a year.’
If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook group, Money Pot.
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