"This year I'm going to spend less and save more for xyz"

I'm sure I'm not the only person who has thought something along those lines to themselves. For some reason .... If you don't have a lot of disposable income it can be very easy to feel discouraged and not even try.. so in this post I'm going to share my tips which I have tried and tested and have worked for me in the past; I managed to pay for my holiday to Greece in a short period of time on minimal earnings and non-existent disposable income. 

And before you ask: no.. I didn't even have to starve myself.

1. Have a clear idea of what your expenses are and your spending habits. Add up your essentials (rent, food, transport, bills etc).Then deduct this from your monthly salary and the amount left over is the maximum potential amount of money you could save up without including recreation expenses. (Note: if you choose to save the max amount you will be living a very difficult & minimalist life). Once you've done this log into your online banking and analyse what you spend your money on after you take away the essentials. There's an amazing website and app called Money Dashboard which does all the hard work for you and helps you see what you're spending your money on, percentages etc. I found that I was making a lot of small purchases (below £6) and these would add up to a huge amount at the end of the week, let alone end of the month! So this is what I'm currently tackling in order to increase my savings.

2. Now that you have a clear idea of what your expenses are you can see what you can cut down on

Let's start with transport, if you live in London, first of all make sure you're travelling using your oyster card, register it online so you can track your journeys and analyse them. Also it's easier than using contactless to make sure that TFL are not scamming you and charging you incorrect fares. Is a travelcard necessary or is pay as you go better for you? Can you catch a bus to the next 'travel zone'? Is it necessary for you to catch the tube/train or can you spare an extra 30 mins to catch the bus instead? I managed to cut down my travel expenses IN HALF by simply leaving my house 20 minutes earlier and catching the bus to work. 

3. Next up is expenditure in food. The easiest thing to do is meal prep. Plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner and figure out a rough weekly cost. Mine is around £30 a week. My breakfast for the week is £5, my lunch is just under £10, and the rest goes towards my dinner. In order to keep costs low you have to make sure that you are preparing all your meals: have breakfast at home, or bring your weetabix and milk to work, make a packed lunch in the morning or the night before to take to work, I usually make myself a good old sandwich or a chicken wrap with a yoghurt and a cereal bar and fruit. I dedicate one day a week to prepare my dinner for the next few days. Get creative! Noodles, fried rice, pasta, cous cous are some great cheap dishes you can cook in bulk to last you the week and you can switch up the ingredients so you don't get bored. Also don't forget stew lol! I can make a chicken stew and variate what I eat it with: rice, plantain, potatoes, cous cous sometimes even bread! I know this seems a bit like 'struggle life' but if you're serious about saving you know that this won't be your life forever, but for this period of time (your come up) you gotta do what you gotta do with no shame in your game.

4. Your other bills. Your phone bill, are you on the best deal you can possibly be on? Do you actually need unlimited everything? Check how many minutes you use every month, there's no point in paying for 3000 minutes if you only use 500 a month. Give your provider a ring, hustle something out. (shake them up and threaten to leave to another provider if you must). If you don't watch Netflix regularly that £6-£10 adds up over the year and that amount.. (£72 - £120) can make a difference to your savings. Are Apple music and Spotify mandatory? Remember what how we used to get music on our phones before? (mhmm yeah that's all I will say lol) Are you on the best insurance plan possible? Make sure you are constantly shopping around for better deals. 

When buying toiletries etc bulk buying will definitely save you money in the long run. For us girls make sure you revise your make-up and skincare routines! There's a time and a place to be spending £30 on eye cream, £20 on face wash and a £23 concealer, and it's certainly not when you're serious about saving! Don't get sucked into thinking these things are absolute necessities, you can definitely find alternatives which will do the job just as well! For example the new revolution concealers are amazing, and as previously stated.. this is just for a short period of time.. once you've hit your saving goal you can go back to your small luxuries that make you happy.

5. Your relationship with money. Don't be scared to check your bank account regularly (daily or every couple of days), keep track of your spending and if you slip up don't throw all your hard work down the drain and spend recklessly even more! I find that paying cash makes it easier to track your money for the week. Physically withdraw your weekly budget for food etc every Monday, and you'll see that physically seeing your expenditure will make you think twice about certain purchases. Get a piggy bank (the ones you can only open by smashing it) and put any loose change you haven't used that week, and if you want go an extra mile and put a tenner in every week. You'll thank yourself later when after a few months time you have enough in there to buy you a holiday. 

6. My last tip is for my girls (and guys too if it applies!) Re-use your outfits and get creative! Not every motive needs a fresh outfit from the latest season drop at Topshop. The skirt featured in this OOTD is from a charity shop, it's from ASOS and I bought it for £6 and it was brand new tags still attached. It was originally a midi skirt but that didn't suit me so I cut it up. In the next 2 blog posts I'm going to against the norm and show you how to recycle a 'bait' item (in this case my midi check skirt) and create different outfits for different occasions.

Outfit details: Polo neck - M&S || Blazer - H&M || Skirt - ASOS || Shoes - New Look || Bag - Skinny Dip

Hope you find this post helpful, let me know if you have any other tips I haven't mentioned!

Also can we please talk about the way the sun was glisteningggg on my skin the day I shot this outift! Can you believe this was the last week of January and it was like 5°C... The things bloggers have to do ayy?!