In this guest post, Jess and Alice of savvy-saving Instagram account the Fru-gals share their top tips for making the most of every pound, from virtual car boot sales to budgeting basics.
When we first set up our Instagram account, @the_fru_gals, the first lockdown had just begun and many people were learning to live on tight budgets for the first time. Now, with savings accounts dwindling and patience wearing thin, it’s time to drill down on your finances to make sure that you’re getting maximum value out of every £.
But life is tough enough at the moment without cutting out all joy in the name of frugality! With that in mind, we’ve handpicked these easy-to-action tips that will not only help you save money, but could also bring some joy to gloomy winter days.
If you can learn to find joy in spending consciously and wasting less, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier money mindset!
Having a nice dinner to look forward to is one of the simplest ways to brighten up a day. But don’t be tempted to reach for the Deliveroo app; learn how to make your favourites in your own kitchen. From sushi to burgers, Nandos to Wagamama, get practicing now and you’ll be all set to host the first post-lockdown dinner parties!
Top tip: don’t be afraid to make frugal recipe switches. For example, swap chicken breasts for cheaper chicken thighs, use honey instead of maple syrup or bulk out meat dishes with pulses (beans, chickpeas or lentils).
Lockdown weekends provide ample time for you to clear out your unwanted clutter, clothes, old electrical items, fitness gadgets, toys and books. Whether you choose to sell them on eBay, Depop, Facebook Marketplace or even at a virtual car boot sale, these are our top tips for a successful sale:
Regular exercise is vital for our physical health and mental wellbeing, but keeping fit can come at a price. The average gym membership costs £40 per month and that’s before you factor in the cost of expensive clothing and specialist kit. Since lockdown began, home workouts have exploded in popularity, and more people than ever are enjoying the benefits of getting fit for free. Here are some of our top tips to get you started:
There are so many fantastic apps out there which we use to keep track of our spending and save money on every-day purchases. Here are some of our favourites:
We often justify our splurges by telling ourselves “I’m saving so much money by not going out” and “I deserve a treat to cheer me up”. This may be true, but using those excuses every time you want to buy something can result in some serious over-spending.
If this is a problem for you, try estimating the amount of money that you would spend on going out per month. Allocate half that amount to your savings, and use the rest to spend on takeaways or other treats throughout the month. That way you can still enjoy nice things without any guilt!
Electricity, gas, internet, phone, insurance… if you think that you might be paying too much, now’s the time to compare, switch and save.
When you decide to switch, it is always worth contacting your existing provider first to see if they can offer you a better deal. If not, get yourself onto a comparison website such as MoneySuperMarket or GoCompare.
If you are looking to save money on your energy bills, it’s worth exploring the Money Saving Expert Autoswitch tool. You tell it your priorities (eg, price, service, name you know, green, fixed, exit penalties) and it then compares and picks your top tariff based on that. Then, annually, with just a one-click verification, it auto-switches you to your new top deal, based on those preferences. If you have a Monzo account, also remember that you can earn up to £50 credit if you change energy provider through the app.
So there it is! We hope that this quick guide has given you some new ideas that will help you make more of your money this year. We have over a hundred money-saving tips on our Instagram page (follow @the_fru_gals) where we post content every week. If you have any questions we would be happy to answer them -just message us directly on Instagram!
Hornsey-based Amos Schonfield is the founder and CEO of Our Second Home, the UK’s youth movement for refugees and migrants, and a Jewish social justice activist.
Marie Le Conte is a French-Moroccan journalist and author who has been living in London for 13 years.
Francesca Specter is the writer of The Shoulds newsletter, author of Alonement and host of an award-nominated podcast of the same name. She has lived in Primrose Hill as a household-of-one for four years.