In a world where we see thousands of brand messages a day and everything is a click away it can be difficult to save money. But saying no to spending can be made easier if we fill our time with other, more fulfilling, things.
About a year ago I stripped my life back and moved into my parents to help me do just that. I stopped my contact lens subscription, quit my gym membership and didn’t re-new my phone contract. I made a decision to stop spending un-necessarily and I’ll never look back.
Here are a few of my favourite free things to do to help you with your own money saving challenge. Try going just a week without spending – you can flip the suggested days around depending on your mood or the weather.
Cook something from your store cupboard and have friends over
This is your time to experiment and create new dishes you would never have known about. You get the satisfaction of using up your leftovers and store cupboard essentials you’ve had for months – clearing space for real treats when you do buy things again.
Invite friends over and ask them to bring a bottle!
Create a new play list
Think of an occasion that would benefit from an awesome playlist. Maybe you’re going on holiday and could listen to something on the drive? Maybe you can surprise your partner with a list of songs you think they’d like?
If you’re signed up to Spotify or Amazon Prime you can take some time to discover new music without buying anything. You could find a new favourite artist to introduce to friends and simply start a list ready for a special investment later.
Have a nature adventure
Getting out in nature is always good for the soul and our hot weather right now makes it that much easier. Here are a few ideas:
- Find a four leaf clover.
- Identify a flower.
- Identify a bird.
- Make a picnic.
- Get lost in your own town.
- Walk barefoot on grass.
- Set up a treasure hunt.
- Find your nearest water source.
- Smell the lavender and roses.
- Plant something.
Read a book or listen to a podcast
Whether it’s a book you’ve been meaning to read and haven’t got round to, or an old favourite you love to revisit, grab a cup of tea, curl up and get lost in another world for a while.
Alternatively podcasts are great for learning something new and there’s loads out there. The Guardian has a list of the 30 best podcasts of 2018.
Have a film-fest
You might have a subscription to Netflix or Amazon Prime, or have a stack of DVDs piled up in the corner, but most people have access to a film (or two!). So gather some folks and get out the crazy store-cupboard snacks you made earlier out of Rice Krispies and peanut butter.
You could even get your geek on and do a little research online beforehand to introduce the director and what the film’s about. Or play bingo with famous scenes/phrases.
You might be surprised to hear that the world isn’t divided into those that are creative and those that aren’t (WHAT!?). Turns out – we’re all creative!
Drawing tends to be the litmus test of creativity. Many of us think we can’t draw, but we can. Check out this short video of how to draw anything by Dan Roam.
Drawing helps everyone communicate their ideas, no matter what area of work you’re in. So grab your pencil and dive in with 5 basic shapes – a circle, a square, a line, a triangle and a blob. With these, you can draw anything (according to Dan).
- Write a poem
Start with a haiku and see where you end up. You could get others involved or keep it all to yourself.
- Create a new outfit
If you think your wardrobe’s a bit tired and the latest H&M sale is calling then swap your mindset and see this as a creative challenge. I can’t sew but I’ve had a go at customising some t-shirts (see my blog post about a wardrobe change) and found it much easier to pick outfits after getting rid of tired threads. Maybe you can turn it into a fashion show for your friends or family?
Get out of breath
We all know that exercise releases those endorphins that make us feel HAPPY. The key is to find something you enjoy doing. I’m a fan of hula hooping, yoga and walking in nature. Anything that gets you a little out of breath will work its magic.
You don’t need a fancy gym or the latest Sweaty Betty gym wear to do exercise, throw on anything comfy and try something new. Free salsa class anyone?
There it is – seven days to savings! I hope you feel armed and ready to set yourself a ‘money diet week’. I guarantee you’ll feel really proud at the end of it and maybe pick up a few good habits that stick. That holiday you’ve been saving up for will be that much closer too 🙂