When my friend Amy announced she was living an austere life for three months I applauded her and instantly thought it would be a great way to save money. I didn’t think Mrs Wifey would be up for the challenge but as we need to find a big chunk of money for some essential house jobs, she was the first to suggest we try it.
How Do You Save Money?
The idea is we do not buy ANYTHING that is not essential. No treats, no comforts, no bargains. We aim to get through the month spending only the absolute minimum we need to survive. Essentials include bills, fresh milk, petrol for necessary trips and anything that I need to buy for my medical needs such as syringes, water and non-prescription medications.
No food shop unless essential
We will only be buying milk and topping up our supply of tinned tuna and crackers (safe food for my broken tummy). We will spend this month eating what is already in our freezer in order to run it empty and use up all the food that would otherwise be forgotten about. If we run out of chips we simply don’t buy more. We will also be making use of the boring tinned food in the larder such as tinned potatoes, tinned corned beef and tinned soup. This gives us chance to give the larder a good run through so again we use up food we already have rather than allowing tins to gather up dust for years on the bottom shelf.
Difficulty Factor – 5/10 We don’t expect this to be too difficult because our larder is still well stocked from our pre-winter panic that had us buying twenty tins of Aldi’s beans and sausages. As I don’t eat much (my feeding tube looks after me), and Mrs Wifey is more of a grazer than a 3-meal-a-day person we are used to having random quick meals like tinned tuna, rice and crackers. I expect we’ll struggle most when we run out of chocolate.
Potential money saved – £100-£150
No meals out
We have allowed ourselves a meal on Valentine’s Day at our favourite pub as a treat and to ensure our first Valentine’s as a married couple is a good one. Other than that we will not be having take aways, fast food or pub meals. This also includes coffee shop visits – Eeeeeek!
Difficulty Factor – 7/10 The difficulty here is that we often grab a meal out when we go shopping or have a hospital appointment as we’re out all day. We have a dentist appointment in Hawick (an hours drive away) this month which we usually nip to Morrison’s cafe for tea afterwards. I’m usually too exhausted after the drive home to cook so it’s much easier to eat out. It will be very tempting to break the rules on this one. I’m also a huge coffee fan. As I don’t eat much I get my tasty jollies with a good steaming mocha.
Potential money saved – £50-£70
No car use unless necessary
Living miles from anywhere means we can guzzle half a tank of petrol in one day just getting from A to B. In order to stick to essential spending we are going to resist temptation to jump in the car and go for a drive.
Difficulty Factor – 7/10 I’ll find this one harder than Mrs Wifey. I love nothing more than jumping in our faithful Honda and going for a drive to kill the boredom.
Potential money saved – £50
No online shopping
Amazon is banned until March 1st! There will be no dvds, no Tassimo coffee discs and no Animal Crossing Amiibo cards (I’m sweating just typing it!).
Difficulty Factor – 8/10 We survive on online shopping, it’s almost impossible not to when you live in the middle of nowhere and the nearest shopping is an hour’s drive away.
Potential Money Saved – £100+
Other Ways We Will Save Money
There are many other ways we spend unnecessarily and anything other than essential need is banned. No early gift buying for someone’s birthday later in the year, no stocking up on offers, no nipping to the pub for drink, no jelly babies from the village shop etc. We are even unsubscribing from Netflix, stopping our coal delivery and foraging for wood to burn.
Our goal is to save £500. If we reach our goal and enjoy the experience we will do it a few times a year. I’m hoping we enjoy the austere lifestyle and despite the difficulty, it will help us adapt our spending habits.
Wish us luck and if you have any tips or have set yourself an austere life challenge let me know.
You can read AusterityAmy’s blog which inspired Frugal February here.
I’ll share links to austere blogs throughout Frugal February in exchange for links back to Rural Teacake.