* I’m keeping a saving diary each month to show you how much extra money the tips and deals we feature could save or make you. You can read previous month’s totals and the ‘rules’ for this challenge. The main point is that this isn’t about being frugal for the sake of it. I’m still going out, buying things etc within my budget, I’m just able to do more with the same amount. *
Another month over, another month of savings. The grand total I could have spent but didn’t for this month is…. £1,282.90!
I spent at total of £2,339.99. That’s everything – mortgage, bills, transport, food. The works. So without those savings I would have spent £3,622.89. That means I cut my expenditure by a decent 35%. That’s bang on average for the Save-Ometer so far.
There were no massive one off savings in April, so it just shows how the little ones can all add up. Here are some from this month:
I’ve started to keep track of when a supermarket saving is thanks to a coupon of some kind to see how much it contributes to my savings. Well, if it’s anything like this month, it’s well worth doing. Total coupon spend in April was £70.33! That’s £54.37 in discounts straight of the bill and £16.96 using cashback apps. That reduced my total amount spent on groceries by 20%.
Now, a big chunk of these were £4 or £5 vouchers sent by Tesco or cut out from a through the door Morrisons circular. They usually have a minimum spend of £30 or £40, but if you plan you shopping accordingly, it’s easy enough to spread your shopping between trips or different supermarkets to make it worth while. I don’t think the stories of people spending £1 on a £100 shop are as clear cut as they say, and most coupons seem to be 20p off a product I don’t want! But you can save a decent amount. We’ll have a coupon guide later in May but in the meantime, you can read our 9 Tips To Cut Your Supermarket Spend.
For the purposes of the Save-Ometer I’m treating myself as a single person – it’s easier just to half all the things we buy for two such as shopping. However that does mean that I’m treating most bills as full price (even though in real life we’ll split them). The one where single people can make a saving is Council Tax. There’s 25% discount, a total of £43.62 for me this month. Over a year it would save me £426. And other people can save too – students, carers & more. It’s also possible to check if your house is in the right band. Read our Basics guide to Council Tax to see if you are paying too much.
We wrote last month about a fantastic iPhone 5C deal and also published our 7 Steps To Upgrading Your Mobile Phone guide. Now I’m already in contract, but when I last upgraded I managed to save £5 a month on my tariff just by comparing the ultimate cost at the end of 24 months. I also managed to get £150 in cashback and £200 on eBay for my old phone. Though I received those lump sums last year (so they’re not included in the monthly figures), they work out as an extra £14.58 saving a month. Well worth it.
How can a refund be a saving? Surely it just means you didn’t spend anything? Well I’m sure for many people that’s the case, but I know plenty of people who don’t want the hassle and just chalk it off. Well in April if I’d not bothered to chase, I’d be £82.19 worse off. First two picture frames we ordered in the sales arrived broken. It took a few calls and emails but eventually I got a full refund plus £10 voucher. Similarly some headphones broke after just a month. A few emails and a full refund was given. I also got a £7 voucher for train travel after this journey was delayed.
Ok, this one might be less sexy. I genuinely like water. I drink it more than most drinks. So when I go out for a meal, half the time I’ll just have tap water. If I chose water over a beer or coke, I’ve recorded it as a saving. In April I did this six times, saving around £40. Over a year thats £480.
So running total so far
January 2014: Actual Spend £2,401.21 / Value Of Spend £3,817.86 / Saved £1,416.65 (37%)
February 2014: Actual Spend £1,305.25 / Value Of Spend £1,888.20 / Saved £582.95 (31%)
March 2014: Actual Spend £2,209.29 / Value Of Spend £3,538.68 / Saved £1,329.38 (38%)
April 2014: Actual Spend £2,339.99 / Value Of Spend £3,622.89 / Saved £1,282.90 (35%)
All of 2014 So Far: Actual Spend £8,255.74 / Value Of Spend £12,867.62 / Saved £4,611.88 (36%)
READ THE SAVE-OMETER INTRO BLOG TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW THE SAVE-OMETER CHALLENGE WORKS