Finances can be a massive burden and source of stress for people. Currently many of us may be experiencing increased concern about our finances. Increases in prices and uncertainty around tax cuts, energy supply, interest rates have created a melting pot. As winter draws in, some of us may be wondering how we will see it through. Our experiences of money and our income, savings and outgoings will be hugely varied. And whilst some may be able to reach out for support either governmentally, locally or perhaps personally. That is not everyone’s story and even so, it may not be enough. So, how can we practise financial self care?
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What is Financial Self Care
Just as self care looks after our mental health. Financial self care is all about looking after our finances. How we can break even, hold steady or even give them a boost. For some of us, financial self care may allow us to grow a nest egg, invest in something special, or save for a rainy day or emergency fund. For others, it will keep us going through the hard months we have ahead of us.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been keeping an eye out for money saving tips. There is happily plenty of advice out there, however, it’s all starting to look a bit similar. So, I’ve decided to put my favourite tried and test ideas all in one place. And, I hope, you will share some of your own below. Remembering that financial self care isn’t a replacement for further financial support or tough decisions when needed. And there is no one size fits all either. These may or may not work for you. I make no promises with these, but I hope they will help in some way.
Ways to Practise Financial Self Care
Be Strategic with Bills: What do we use and when? But also critically why and are there alternatives. There will be times we need lights on, charge electrics, use cooking equipment, have on the heating etc. But can we be careful around these. And what else can we do? This is as simple as turning the lights off when you leave the room. But are there lower cost lighting options? Do you have various pieces of equipment on standby instead of off? We’ve started turning off our oven and TV at the wall. As otherwise they’re still using electricity. Likewise, be aware of leaving laptops, phones, tablets etc. charging overnight. Turn them off once full or invest in digital or analogue time switches. And turn sockets off when not in use.
Can you limit your heating usage? Are other heaters more cost effective? Can you layer up, use hot water bottles etc? I’ve read that air fryers, crockpots and microwaves are more energy efficient then using the oven. Can you cook differently or seek out new recipes? Many of you will have read about using dehumidifiers or heated airers instead of the tumble dryer. And doing an extra spin to wring out any excess water before removing laundry from the washing machine. And, of course, drying outside if the weather allows. I know most of us have thought about these, they are common sense. However, with just a few minor tweaks we have seen a big difference in our bills!
For Why the Basics of Self Care Are Important read here
Shop Around for Food. I know first-hand that this can be tiresome and labour or time intensive. But it can also be worth it. We’ve changed grocery supplier for a store with better deals, rewards and prices. Think about where the discounts for products you tend to buy are. The best in-store brands for quality. And the rewards system that works for you. Try a few shops locally and learn where may be the best place for certain items.
Consider the benefits of possibly buying in bulk. Either, because a non-perishable item is on sale. Or because you’re somewhere with a good deal which you may not return to. Likewise, wholesale places can be cheaper and whilst buying in bulk may necessitate storage; if you don’t have the storage, or wish to buy a perishable item, ask around. Perhaps someone else you know is interested and would share the cost and resolve the storage issue. I’ve also discovered the benefits of Subscribe & Save on Amazon. You can buy products for 5% off and have them come weekly, monthly or every few months. But when subscribing for multiple products savings can rise to up to 15% a month! If you work in public services or the voluntary sector, check whether there are discounts. In the UK, NHS staff and charity workers can get discounts at certain retailers.
Think Cooking. Whilst the equipment you use to cook can save you money; as previously mentioned. Thinking about the ingredients you use can be helpful. Whether you search out recipes which require cheaper ingredients. Or you allow your meal plan to be guided by food in the discount aisles and on offer. But either way, cooking in bulk is always a good rule of thumb. It saves money (and time!) by cooking in duplicate. It also ensures nothing goes to waste. If wastage is an issue, create a meal plan and follow it. By buying only the ingredients you need you’re protected from buying on impulse. Or buying too much or an item already in your cupboard. Being prepared when it comes to cooking almost always saves money.
For Your Self Care Routine For When You Have No Free Time read here
Buy & Sell: There are so many options nowadays to buy and sell second hand. There are amazing deals out there on pre-loved clothing, books, homeware and toys. Whether it’s your local charity shop or using websites and apps like Ebay, Gumtree and Vinted. Additionally, check out places like Facebook Marketplace and other Facebook or Whatsapp groups where people buy and sell in your local area. I’ve been amazed at the deals I have found there. From often buying my books second hand online or getting toys for my daughter in my local area from those selling.
Don’t forget that not all items need to be paid for at all. Look out for local clothes swap events. Bring some of the clothes you no longer wish to wear. And swap them for items from someone else’s wardrobe! If you can’t find one, why not host one yourself in your local community or with friends. Why buy new books when you can borrow from your local library. I love popping in and looking for new titles. Or requesting books not available in my own library to be borrowed from elsewhere. Also consider book clubs, it’s a great way to find new books to read and connect with others. But you don’t have to buy the book every time. Share with others, each taking a turn to purchase and read first before passing on. Or book swap with others! This works well with children’s toys too.
And remember, you can make some money buy selling some of your own pre-loved items if they’re in good condition and no longer used. I know my cupboard is full of outfits I no longer wish to wear or don’t fit. Whilst you won’t necessarily make loads of money selling. Every little helps. And if you’re buying from similar places, you’d be surprised what you can get!
What are your financial self care tips? How do they impact you? Let us know below!