The Saver's "New Beginnings" Diary

Im not sure if I'm on my own here or whether there are others out there like me?

Basically, I'm not a Debt-Free Wannabe or a Mortgage-Free Wannabe. If I have to be pigeon-holed (and I guess I do so that this post is in the right place!), I'm a Saver who wants to improve the quality of my life and future, but without the journey taking too much fun out of it.

For example, I won't ever give up my Douwe Egberts coffee (£5.69 for a 200g jar :eek:) but I have started car-sharing more with my OH to save on petrol costs.

I guess I'm doing a personal "off-setting" - ditching old and unnecessary spending habits so that I can afford the occasional luxury that I enjoy, and improving my savings.

I'v been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and I figured the best way to succeed is to go public and post my intentions here.

So, now to draw up Week 1 of my "New Beginnings" and exactly how I intend to get there....

£5 per day challenge
Grocery Challenge


  • I wasn't sure how to approach this so I made Week 1 the time to look around and see what I genuinely want and, just as importantly, what I'm prepared to do without.

    I've started in the bathroom as, like many ladies, I have a whole host of goodies that I've never/hardly ever used: magazine samples, freebies (Race for Life) and some very expensive hair products.

    I've been using the products every day. (It's actually been quite a fun experiment). The face wash and moisturisers have definitely made a difference (I didn't do either before :o) but they are full of parabens :naughty: so I don't feel happy using them regularly. Instead, I've decided to use them all up (I can't stand waste!) and then switch to parabens-free products in future. Cost: £23 for 50ml :eek: (not sure how long this will last).

    Now, to meet my challenge of offsetting, I need to work out what I can give up that will allow me to afford the nice moisturisers. I've sent off a whole load of CDs to Music Magpie (I haven't listened to any of them for over 5 years) - that will bring in £13. The remaining £10 I can easily save by reducing my weekend shopping trips. I currently go twice a fortnight but I'm going to reduce this to once a fortnight. (This will save about £10pm in petrol and about another £5 on parking costs).

    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
  • PrimulaPrimula Forumite
    953 Posts
    Well done and good luck. Keep posting.
  • Good luck with your new diary and keep posting
    Pixieface x
  • I've listed the changes that I've tried and made so far, and whether I think I will continue them. Compared with many MSE'ers, my changes hardly count but the point of my particular challenge is that I don't want to make massive changes that don't work for me or my family.

    Blackberry picking - I've noticed loads of blackberries along the hedgerows whilst walking the dog. I've started picking them and have used them with muesli (for breakfast) and for a blackberry and apple crumble (apples were from a friend's garden). Result: a bit of effort required (and the dog got a little impatient at times while I was picking them) but I will definitely keep doing this until the season is over. Blackberries are really expensive in the shops and I can always freeze them

    Toothpase - the toothpaste ran out and I cut off the bottom and kept using it. I couldn't believe that it lasted me another week! (OH and children have their own toothpaste). Result: no real effort. Will definitely keep doing as this saves money and makes me feel better about trying to reduce wastage in the house.

    Soap dispensers/Washing-up liquid - did the same with these. The soap dispenser I took the top off and balanced it on top of a new bottle to let it fill it up. Was surprised at how much was left in the old bottle when I thought it was "empty". I couldn't take the top off the fairy liquid bottle so just rested it in the cupboard, upside down. I think I got another 3 or 4 uses out of it, maybe more. Result: a little effort but will definitely do again, for the same reasons as the toothpaste tube.

    Reduce shopping trips - I haven't been since I started this challenge. My next trip will be this weekend. Result: saved on petrol money/car parking fees already. Also, knowing that I'm only going shopping once or twice a month has made me start writing lists of what I need to get. This should stop the impulse buying and will focus my spending habits a bit more.

    Add fillers to meals - I've added extra veg to pizza (onion, sweetcorn, peppers etc). This makes it healthier and more filling. I've added the same to bolognese (+ thrown in some green lentils) and shepherd's pie. This has stretched the meal and made it a slightly healthier version. Result: little effort. Reduces wastage if you use up things that you didn't have a meal plan for. Makes the meal healthier and more filling. Will do again but don't intend taking this too far (e.g I won't start using half the amount of mince and replacing it with lentils as I know this will affect the overall taste and this isn't in keeping with my challenge).

    Reduce postage stamps from 1st to 2nd class - almost everything I send through the post can be sent 2nd class, with just a little more planning. I've gone through my diary to flag up birthdays 4/5 days beforehand so I can send the cards earlier and use 2nd class stamps. Result: initially a little planning is required but overall, no real effort - just a change of mindset. Saving is 9p a time - not huge but definitely worth it.
    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
  • edited 21 August 2009 at 2:12PM
    The_Saver_2The_Saver_2 Forumite
    97 Posts
    edited 21 August 2009 at 2:12PM
    I'm sure everyone else already does this but it really does pay to:-

    a) be organised and
    b) do some research before you go anywhere/buy anything.

    My OH and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal out yesterday. Before we went, I checked out which restaurants were located near where we were going and I then checked out Martin's special deals to see if there were any special offers on. We managed to get 2 meals for £10 - a saving of just over £10! The food was delicious too.

    Also, my DD said she wanted to go swimming tomorrow. I was originally checking out which of the 3 nearby leisure centres was the cheapest but, I couldn't believe my luck, when I found out that one of them is participating in a special government scheme. I knew some leisure centres are taking part in a "Over 60s swim free" scheme but I didn't realise that this is for the under 16s too! There is an initial £2 registration fee but, apart from that, there is no cost! The one thing you'll need to do for the 14 - 16 year olds is to take their birth certificate or passport to show proof of age. There'll be the cost of petrol to get there but I was due to have my shopping day tomorrow anyway and I'll go there instead of one of the other city centres. The only thing I'll need to do is pack some food and take it with us as she'll be starving afterwards and I don't want to un-do my good work by having to get some food out.

    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
  • bunny_toobunny_too Forumite
    266 Posts
    Hi The Saver just wanted to say well done and keep up the good work.
    I started to make cut backs at the start of the year and to my delight have managed to save £500. Will be foolwing all your great tips
  • Well done saver you are getting there and you are making interesting reading keep up the good work.
    Pixie x
  • I've decided to reduce my shopping trips to just once a month as I'm still a bit short on being able to afford the nice moisturisers. It also feels a bit more of a treat, knowing I can only go shopping once a month.

    I'm very lucky that there are 4 town centres near me so I've calculated which one is the cheapest to go to.

    First, I did an autoroute to see how far away each city centre is. My car tells me how many miles per gallon I'm doing so I was able to calculate the approximate cost of petrol but, if yours doesn't, some of the autoroutes tell you these days the approximate cost of petrol anyway.

    I then factored in the cost of parking. At one of the town centres, I can park on the outskirts of town and walk in (about 20/25 min walk) and in one of the others I have to pay £1.00 per hour :eek:

    This means that I've now managed to achieve my 1st aim of paying for the indulgent moisturiser. The process of getting to this stage has really made me think hard about what I can afford to cut down on. Some of my savings haven't generated any money that particularly makes a difference but it has resulted in me being less wasteful and, therefore, kinder to the environment.
    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
  • I've just ordered my expensive moisturiser... I got free P&P, 10% off (as I'm a new member) AND they are sending a 50ml bodywash out (Neroli and Grapefruit zest) with every order! :j

    I think this is a sign that I need to carry on my challenge of ditching my life of old things and old habits, and welcoming in things I really like and really want.

    I felt a bit guilty with a couple of my early posts as I don't have any debts and I can afford to save. BUT.... I do think it's important to enjoy life and I'm just trying to focus on filling my life with positive things. I'm making sacrifices for me and, I believe, it is making me appreciate things more.
    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
  • Just a tip to others who don't want to cut back on trips to the Hairdressers but are concerned at how much it costs each time.

    Next time you visit, pick up a price list and have a look to see if your Hairdressers offer a Ladies Wash and Cut. I did this yesterday and, whilst a Cut and Blowdry cost me £30, a Wash and Cut would only cost £22.50. If you have your hair cut every 6 weeks, like me, this would save you £63 per year. I checked with the Hairdresser and she said she'd still dry my hair but she just wouldn't style it (i.e. no blowdrying it under, no hair straighteners etc). More often than not, I rarely like how my hair has been blowdried anyway so I'm going to try this out at my next visit.

    £5 per day challenge
    Grocery Challenge
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