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Follow how I get more for my money each month.

We’re half way through the year, which means I’m half way through my challenge to see how much I can ‘save’ in 2014. It’s not about how much of my money I don’t spend, it’s how much value I can get for the money I do spend. Plus any extras I can earn.

The idea is that if there was a version of me who didn’t think about ways to save or get better value, what would he spend? I keep a record of everything I spend, save and earn extra, so I’ve a figure to show what being clever with your cash can do.

2014 Total So Far:

Actual Spend £13,206.69
Value Of Spend £20,287.20
Saved £7,080.50 (that’s 35%)

So half way through, I’ve managed to cut back expense by exactly a third! This means I’d have spent nearly another £7,000 if I’d not paid attention to how much things cost.

Of course it’s relative to how much I spent:
– It’s not been all massive purchases with big savings, though not auto-renewing my home insurance, shopping around for a new freezer and getting an annual tube travel card saved me £700.
– Much of the savings are day to day, showing that the small things really do add up. Over 10% (about £700) is from following my 9 tips to cut your supermarket spend.

I’ve also ‘made’ a decent amount:
– 15% (£1,030) has come from cashback (read our 12 cashback basics) and freebies such as those on O2 Priority Moments.
– Around £200 has come from switching banks and moving my savings into higher paying current accounts, as my 6 ways to make your bank account pay you blog explains.
– I won goodies worth £435, and I haven’t entered that many competitions – read our guide to “comping” to get started.

This doesn’t mean I’ve got nearly £7,000 just hanging around – I’ve just been able to get that much worth of spend from the money I do have!

I’m really happy with how it’s going so far. It’s far more than I expected when I started doing this. Hopefully it’ll carry on for the rest of the year.

June

Anyway, the biggies from June. We finally took our trip to Paris, which I won back in December.

Andy MurrayFree Eurostar and a lovely free meal on the Seine (I’m not sure I’ll have snails again…) was made even better by blagging our way on to see Andy Murray’s quarter final win at the French Open. The whole trip should have cost us £313 more than it did!

I also headed to Glastonbury. It really annoyed me to see most papers rehash press releases from any old company trying to get on the festival bandwagon. Apart from it being lazy journalism, it’s also not true.

They all say how expensive it is, but actually it’s one of, if not the, best value festivals out there. Not only are there dozens more stages (and bands) than others, it’s also 24 hours, with fantastic night-time arenas such as Block 9, the Common and Shangri-la. Anyway, by bringing along my own booze and breakie, my total spend including ticket and travel was around £360. For the amount of bands I saw (and fun I had), that’s a total bargain in my book. (If you read my Spendonomics blog on live music, the cost per band works out as £8!!)

The month’s average is down on normal and that’s down to one big BIG purchase. I’ve started working full time writing for another financial website so I’ve stumped up for an annual season ticket. Though it’ll save me over £300 on getting monthly travelcards – even more if I was to use pay as you go – it’s a big expenditure. Fortunately I was able to get a season ticket loan from work, so I’ll pay it back to them monthly, meaning I can keep earning interest on the money. An added bonus which I’d recommend you look into. Read our 10 cheap train tricks for more ways to save on locomotives.

Month By Month Totals

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%)
May 2014:
Actual Spend £1,883.45 / Value Of Spend £3,137.28 / Saved £1,253.83 (40%)
June 2014:
Actual Spend £3,067.50 / Value Of Spend £4,282.29 / Saved £1,214.79 (28%)

READ THE SAVE-OMETER INTRO BLOG TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW THE SAVE-OMETER CHALLENGE WORKS.


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