How to save money without giving up essentials

That’s a good question I have trying to answer along the years. There is no secret that it’s hard to keep up with our called “modern life needs”. Online shopping, direct debt, and other technology tolls are facilitating our spends. At the same time, it helps losing the control between what is necessity and what is superfluous.

It sounds cliché, but it seems that the more we have, the more we want.

But I never was a big spender, anyway. I like travelling and I prefer buying a ticket to New York than a fancy sofa. However, travelling is still expensive anyway.

So, when I have changed my full-time job in a big company to work as a part-time online teacher I knew money would be shorter. I got into a “saving money” mode automatically. And that helped me to check what are my real “modern life needs” now.

First thing that I learnt when I became self-employed was that if I don’t work, I don’t earn. Simple as that. On the other hands, the bills kept coming, you know. So, I started to make a list of things that are essential at my life. What a brilliant surprise! Here’s my list of habits I have changed so far:

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Photo on Foter.com

Always keep track of your direct debts

A 9/5 job is still an effective way of making guaranteed money. But it is also an easy way of spending more. Have you ever kept track on how many things you pay via direct debt just because you have no time to sort it out during the week? I had magazines, beer, make up and all kinds of subscriptions that I never had time to enjoy them. In the end of the day, I had a pile of paper on my doorstep that was costing me a couple of quid that I will never see again!

Scan your direct debts now and check what is useful on your daily basis. Online shopping is tempting, but you certainly don`t need another beauty box subscription.

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Photo on Foter.com

Take food for granted – for good!

Another incredible discovered I did was that my fridge is a land of wasting food. Yes, we used to buy so much food weekly that at least 5% of it ended up in the bin. In a world where people are starving, taking food for granted is the most essential decision a human being can do.

Now, I buy what I am sure it will be eaten during the week. Being vegetarian also helped me to save money on my week shopping anyway. Yes, vegetables are still cheaper than meat. Deal with it! The truth is that I eat less, and I also try to finish everything we have at my fridge before preparing a new shopping list. That has improved my savings without giving up my essentials.

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Photo by ZERGE_VIOLATOR on Foter.com / CC BY

When online deals are still the best deals

There are two sides of the same coin when using Internet for shopping. The “one click” purchasing can lead you to expending habits with no way back. On the other hand, e-commerce can be a great ally when saving money without giving up the essentials. The secret here is being patience to find the best deals online. You can browse the web for freebies, competitions and coupons of discounts. There is always a good deal for every kind of pocket.

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Photo on Foter.com

Guess what? Less is more!

I love shopping online, but I have shopped less than usual because a simple scanning in every room of my house has showed me that I don`t need 35% stuff I have here. No, I don`t need more t-shirts or kitchen utensils.

The great news is that I was able to fill five bags of clothes to give for charity and I also got rid of unnecessary cluttering furniture and appliances. There is always someone out there that needs it, anyway.

I also have informed family that I don`t want Christmas presents this year. I am following my friend’s brilliant idea of setting up a fundraising page to allow family using the money of potential presents in a good cause. So, don`t give me presents or cards. Put some money on charity pages and we all win. In the end of the day, I don`t need more wasted paper or body lotions. Keep only the essentials. Save the planet and your pocket!

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Posted by

I'm a Brazilian journalist based in West Midlands. In Brazil, I have worked with International Trade and Logistics publications. Now in the UK, I keep writing and I dedicate myself to a new project : Midlands Trade - a blog focused on business in Europe and Brazil. It's also supporting small businesses throughout the #MeetTheBusiness.

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