Last Updated on May 28, 2021 by Melissa S.
To get out of debt, there were many changes I had to make – much like going on a diet. Indeed, one of the reasons I thought of the name Skinny Spending for my blog was the fact that I needed to put myself on a money diet in order to pay off my credit card and afford to live on a part time wage.
What I didn’t expect to learn upon the way was the realisation at just how consumer driven we are as a society and just how much stuff I used to buy myself every month that ended up being nothing but clutter.
“Imagine your perfect house – no one ever imagines it full of clutter.”
I’m not really one for inspirational quotes but I saw this one on Instagram (if you know the source please let me know in the comments so I can credit) and it really did resonate with me. I began to question why I had previously bought so much stuff and how much I have changed. So these are the 6 things that I have changed my spending habits on once and for all:
Not a surprise, as you only have to watch an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to see this is such a common area to have in excess.
Because paying off my debt meant I couldn’t afford to buy new clothes all the time, each thing I do buy has to be carefully considered. I had so many clothes already that it certainly made it easier to go without, but I also managed to declutter so many items.
Most of the things I do buy are on sale or special offer so I know I am getting the most for my money, but the key thing is that I made sure I actually need it. Even though I have always reworn my dresses, the old me would always buy a new dress for a wedding or birthday night out “just because”, now I don’t give myself an option because I know I have plenty that fit and suit me for these occasions.
My drawers were full of unused makeup items because I stick to the same few products day to day, and even when I have a night out I still reach for the same small selection of extras, so a lot of the items I had that were either from gift sets or bought on sale were just clutter. I also managed to downshift from using a £35 foundation to Home Bargains 99p one for day to day wear and I am so pleased with it!
My big take away from this is to stop buying sale items that I won’t use, and any gift set items that are not my thing will be sold new or given away.
This isn’t entirely deliberate, but I have not had my hair cut for over a year! My hairdresser went on maternity leave and then the branch of the national chain I went to closed down, and I have just never got round to going somewhere new! Luckily as I have long hair and like it long I can get away with it, but I’m not recommending this particularly and can’t wait to have a trim soon!
One thing I will definitely not be doing is paying for colour anymore. I typical visit to the hairdressers for me would be around £140 which I used to stick on my credit card every time. I was too scared to dye it myself but once I took the plunge I have been really pleased with the results, and at £7 a time this works out far cheaper.
I also cannot recommend Enrapture heated rollers enough, I am able to do my hair just as I want for nights out and special occasions.
This can be a big expense and could have been something we did every week. Now it’s a rare treat and so we appreciate it far more. It would be nice to budget enough for one meal out a month as a family or as a date night. We also tend to have 1 takeaway a month which I think is fine on balance.
Once you become a parent these seem to naturally dwindle out, but the upside is it saves so much money!
Before becoming parents we would be out at gigs or nights out several times a month, I certainly don’t regret this as it’s what life is all about. However, if you are in the situation where you want or need to cut down on it, it’s amazing how much money you can save. Because I only get a night every month or less I really appreciate them now.
Because we had no money coupled with a small child, this made it a no-brainer to cut out. I know plenty of people who have holidayed abroad with a baby but neither myself or my husband were keen on the idea- it just seemed like spending a lot of money (that we didn’t have) on doing the same things (feeding, changing, supervising a baby 24 hours a day) that we would be doing at home rather than relaxing on sunloungers and sight seeing.
We are both lucky to have had weekends abroad alone with our friends on stag/hen parties meaning that we actually got a little child free holiday each. We have also had weekends away with family at Center Parcs, The Lake District and Haven which we are more than happy about and they cater for children so well.
I’m looking forward to our first trip abroad as a family but this is something we won’t be doing until we can pay for it in cash!
What have you cut out to curb your spending, or what are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!
*May 2021 comment: Reading this post now makes me think this is basically a list of things we ALL had to live without in lockdown! Now the UK is slowly returning to normal, I am very much looking forward to the chance for a haircut, a meal out, a night out and hopefully a holiday abroad in the not too distant future!
However I will still be careful to budget for these things, while probably never taking them for granted again!