The frugal community on social media is such an inspiring one and I absolutely love picking up their money savvy tips. It has always been important to me to keep on top of my spending habits and prepare for the future, but there has never been a more significant time than right now. With a baby on the way and a pandemic to deal with at the moment, finances have become a priority for myself and my husband. Here are my five frugal things for June 2020.
Affordable Anniversary gifts. Mike and I celebrated our first anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Whilst we love to celebrate special occasions like this, we’ve never been into spending a lot of money on gifts. As it is impossible for me to get to the shops at the moment I had to get creative with gift ideas. Thankfully, I managed to pull it off and the day ended up being a very affordable one!
As year one is paper, my immediate thought was a print of some sort. A quick search online found me the floor plan of the town hall in which we got married and it was perfect. (We’re both architecture geeks, I realise this might sound a bit boring to a lot of people.) A couple of pounds to have it printed professionally and I was all set. To finish my gift, I also had around 30 photos from our first year printed. I opted to use Snapfish and my total bill came to just over £3!
Christmas in June. So I don’t mean actually celebrating Christmas in June, it’s too early even for me. No, this month I am beginning to plan for Christmas. It seems that every year, no matter how well I prepare, the cost of the festive season always manages to catch me off guard. I’ve even spoken before about topics such as frugal gift ideas, but it still always seems so expensive!
This year is set to be the most expensive of all as we have our first baby on the way. To make sure that money is the last thing on our mind, I’m starting to save now. To keep the money safe I’ve decided to use Prolific, the survey site, as my saving method. I leave the window open and answer surveys as and when they appear. This normally earns me around £50 per month. Instead of withdrawing the money regularly as I normally would I’m just going to leave it in my account and allow it to build. I can then withdraw it when I begin my Christmas shopping and know exactly how much I have to spend!
Minimal maternity shopping. At 20 weeks pregnant, I’m struggling to fit into most of my tighter clothes. My jeans in particular, are far too tight to be comfortable now. Most days I rely on comfy clothes like leggings and joggy bottoms. When I need to go to the hospital however, and when the world eventually opens up again, I’m going to need something a little less casual to wear.
At first I was ready to jump online and order from several different shops, but then it occurred to me I’d be spending a lot of money on clothes which I’d only be wearing for five months or so. Instead I opted for some staples. A pair of blue jeans and a pair of black. Two t-shirts, one black and one white. A maternity summer dress for the warmer days. I can get by otherwise with what I already have. There are lots of summer dresses in my wardrobe from last year that should fit me through the warmer months. When the colder weather comes around, my love for baggy jumpers will definitely pay off!
Overhauling our entire garden. This point is one where a lot of money is spent, however I would consider it to be frugal because of the value that it has for my husband and I. In the three and a half years we have owned our house, we’ve always had a bit of an issue with our garden. It’s a nice space overall, but it is segregated into some awkward patio and lawn areas and the whole things sits on a slope. Not ideal when you are trying to relax with a beer and a pizza but can’t sit upright. We have spoken a number of times about levelling it ourselves and earlier this month Mike began to dig. Then came the realisation of just how much work was involved.
With Mike working full time and me as useless as a chocolate fire guard at the moment, it would take us months of work to complete the garden. Of course family can’t come round to help, and there would be material cost involved too. A lot of it. Instead we’ve opted to pay a team a fair amount of money to do everything for us. They’ll be done in under two weeks. The value here to me is not just that we will have a beautiful garden to enjoy for the majority of summer. It will save Mike a lot of time and stress and allow us to spend the time we have left as “just us two” relaxing. As an added bonus, the completed garden will add a lot of value to our home. It is a big expense, but it will be worth it’s weight in gold!
Using my Amazon wish list to avoid unnecessary shopping. I know I won’t be the only one who has spent a lot more time browsing online shops since lockdown began. In fact I know from scrolling Instagram that loads of people have been overspending simply as a way to keep themselves occupied whilst stuck at home.
To save me a lot of money, I’ve been adding any wants (but not needs) to my Amazon wish list and then checking back a week or so later to see if I still feel like buying it. More often than not, the purchase just doesn’t seem as important any more. I’ve even been using my wish list to save items for the end of the year when baby arrives. There are so many hyped up gadgets nowadays for newborns and parents which I guarantee will seem completely unnecessary in November.
Not only can you save items to your wish list to buy at a later date. You can also share your list with friends and family. Perfect if, like me, you never have an answer when asked “what would you like for Christmas?”