You hear lots of cliches about earning money, spending money, what you should and shouldn’t spend money on.
When I was younger my grandparents would always tell me “mind the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves”. One of the clichés about money that I dislike is “you can’t take it with you”. That’s true (well you can leave it in your will), but my response to that is usually “but you can only spend it once, so make sure what you spend it on is worth it”. That generally sums up my attitude to money – I don’t mind spending, but I don’t want to regret spending it. Clearly it is inevitable that you will spend money on something in life that you later regret – it’s important to learning. But make sure those mistakes are small ones and learn from them. Impromptu purchases often aren’t the cheapest – but sometimes they produce the best memories. So while I do a lot to save money, there are sometimes you just have to close your eyes and spend (within reason – I’ll leave you to figure out what’s reasonable and what’s not).
For me, there are two key theories I work to.
- I would rather work harder/longer doing a job I enjoy, so I can afford to pay someone to do the jobs I don’t like doing.
- Secondly, we work hard & long to earn money, so I do my best not to give money away easily.
That often means working harder to save money. I don’t mean spending hours or weeks looking at what investment strategies are best and saving every penny. I mean spending money wisely, taking advantage of opportunities to buy products and services when they are at their cheapest, using voucher codes and deals and generally never paying full price if I can help it. (Although there is a line – more on that later).
Everyone has choices, and values things differently, so I wouldn’t judge people on what they spend their money on. I have an opinion, and on this site I often share my opinion, but I’m aware that’s my opinion. There are plenty of examples of purchases I have made where I could have bought an alternative item for less – others laugh at me (my family often do). But sometimes I see value in a more expensive item of better quality that will last longer or give me more enjoyment.
Another cliche that my grandad used to tell me “buy cheap, buy twice” is often true, and I follow a lot, but not always. Holidays are another area where I could spend less. But I enjoy my holidays and I always work on the basis I make savings elsewhere to be able to spend more money on more expensive holidays. And actually you would be amazed at how much you can save by being “in the know” about loyalty points, credit card perks, airline and hotel status and more. Some of our best holidays have been the cheapest ones (and they are even better when you are eating, drinking and staying for free). Most of my travel savings have come from the fantastic community at Head For Points ( I still read the three daily articles every morning).
Working to my above theories, some people work long and hard to earn enough money not to have to worry or think about saving money as they spend. That’s great, but I’m not there (yet). Some people don’t work long or hard, and still earn enough money to spend blind. That’s not me either.
Paying someone to do the things you don’t like doing works in many ways for me. Generally I take longer to do things I don’t like doing because I get distracted easily, and I also do a worse job. So rather than me spending two hours cleaning, hating it and doing a bad job, I could pay someone who hopefully do it better and quicker than I would. It means I only have to do a job I enjoy doing for one extra hour, to pay someone to do a job I don’t like doing and would take me two hours (if you get paid more than you have to pay a cleaner, even better).
However on that note comes one time where I don’t always try to squeeze every penny in my favour. Often those services are provided by local people, so you can support your local community at the same time.
If things go well for you, gradually through life you earn more. Even if only through gradual salary increases, hopefully you will have more to spend as you gain in ‘experience’. What I have found so far is that the more you spend, the more you can save. (Note the important word – can). This was also a slogan I saw on a bar crawl advertising discounts on drinks – although thinking about it now, they changed it slightly to “the more you drink, the more you save”. I remember it appealed to me at the time. But the principal is often true. Naturally on something that costs £5 the most you can save is £5. If something costs £100 then personally I would be disappointed if I didn’t save £10 or more. But don’t forget, if that something you are buying is £5 every month, and you manage save £1 every month, it soon adds up. And once you have figured out how to make the saving the first time, next time is easier.
Over the recent years I have saved thousands, and bought things I would otherwise not have been able to afford (or wanted to pay as much for), by following sites like MSE, HotUKDeals, quidco and TopCashback.
HUKD is great for the one-off deals (things I didn’t know I was looking to buy until the deal came up!), which come and go too fast to make it on to the MSE weekly newsletter that I read. It is also great for setting alerts, waiting for the dealer to find up before you take the plunge and spend your hard earned money. The downside to HUKD is the deals are more often than not posted by the general public like you and me, who don’t always know the best way to stack deals, voucher codes, cashback, and supermarket offers on buying gift cards – sometimes all at the same time -to really push the deal in to the super saving category. These extra savings are often posted in the comments of a deal but only if you have time to read the entire thread of hundreds of comments, and research each suggestion would you really spot them and help you achieve maximum savings.
I find MSE is easier to find the best way to buy a certain product or service when you know what you are looking for – utilities, insurance, bank accounts all spring to mind. But since Martin Lewis sold out to the MoneySupermarket group, I feel they sometimes fail to highlight cashback deals that could maker it even cheaper, because it often means they miss out on the commission that is the company’s primary income. (I don’t blame them- the company’s aim is to make as much profit as possible – and running a site as big as theirs has overheads they need to pay, but unfortunately their gain is your loss in these cases).
There are truly thousands of money saving opportunities every day. I am sat here writing this on holiday, where we have shunned the expensive hotel pool snack bar, and instead ordered lunch from Deliveroo and Uber Eats, taking advantage of significant sign up discounts to save money on our holiday. It made the £10 beer in the swim up bar just that much more bearable.
So I designed this site to share my favourite ways to save money while spending money. Hopefully there will be opportunities for me to earn commission sharing deals with you, at the same time as you also buy at the best price possible. Sometimes the savings are on one-off purchases – a new bike from Halfords for example. Others are regular savings – like switching utility services using early exit tricks as often as possible to take advantage of lucrative cash back deals every time you switch.
You probably arrived on the site by searching for something I have already bought, and are now well on your way to buying that item cheaper than you first expected to.
That is what I call a win win situation – I earn money doing something I enjoy doing in writing the articles and you save money buying things cheaper.
I would love your feedback and recommendations of how to improve this site. If you have found an even better deal, let me know, so I can update the relevant deal page.
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