A MONEY-SAVVY mum who saved £25,000 by doing a ‘no-buy’ year has revealed how YOU can save thousands of pounds in 2022.
Lara Joanna Jarvis, who found fame on YouTube thanks to her budgeting tips and tricks which she shares with her 58,000 subscribers, committed to buying no luxuries in 2019, only spending money on essential purchases.
And now, in a three-part special, Lara is sharing her need-to-know money secrets exclusively with Fabulous, revealing how you could save £30,000 in the coming year with just a few small lifestyle changes.
Lara, 37, who lives in Hampshire with her husband Stuart, 40 and two young sons, says: “Not buying anything in 2022 might seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be.
“For me that was not spending on anything that was non-essential, which meant no dinners out, no clothes shopping, no coffees – basically the only thing I spent money on was stuff I needed.
“And it totally changed my life, aside from being able to save for our first home it completely overhauled my spending habits for good.
“So whether you’re trying to get out of debt, save for a car or a holiday, follow my tips and you’ll see your finances take a serious glow-up this year.
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“You’ll never realise just how much money you’re wasting until you stop spending it.”
Write down your why
Before you even get going you need to work out why you’re saving and write it down because that’s what is going to keep you going when it gets tough.
Put it on the fridge, the lock screen of your phone, anywhere that you are going to see it.
When you are having days when you want to just splurge you have that reminder as to why you shouldn’t.
Try joining money-saving Facebook groups to hold yourself accountable.
My group Budget Best Life has dozens of members with the same money-saving goal and they find it hugely beneficial to chart their progress there and offer one another support.
Cancel dinners not plans
One of the most difficult parts of a no-buy year is turning down plans with friends.
So make sure from the very start that you tell all of your friends about your saving plans so that they can support your journey and keep you accountable, they may even try to join in.
Of course there are ways of spending time with friends without spending money.
You might not be able to go out for dinner but tell your friends that you can join them for drinks before or afterwards and order a tap water.
If you do have the itch to get out of the house be sure to make use of any loyalty points you might have stored up.
For example you can exchange your Tesco Clubcard points for restaurant vouchers at venues such as Cafe Rouge, Prezzo and Bella Italia.
Meanwhile, be sure to sign up for restaurant newsletters as many, including Frankie & Benny’s and Ed’s Diner, offer free meals to members of the mailing list on their birthday meaning you can celebrate for free.
Or offer to have friends over, ask them to bring a dish and you won’t be spending anymore than you would if you had been cooking dinner for yourself.
You don’t have to miss out on these plans, you just have to find the substitutions.
If you skip a £30 dinner with friends and a £50 night out a week for the entire year you will save £4,160.
Ditch the getaways
Going without a holiday for one year is totally worth it if it means reaching your saving goals sooner – and there are plenty of ways of enjoying a break without spending loads.
If you have friends or family by the sea, go and spend a week with them – it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up while enjoying a break away.
And the same works if you’re in the country and have relatives in the city, use your connections and offer to host next time.
But if you do want to venture further afield then the website HomeExchange is the way to go, offering you the opportunity to stay in luxury homes for free.
While this can be a simple house swap across the UK, you could find yourself in Paris, New York or even Hawaii without having to splash the cash on a hotel or Airbnb.
When it comes to entertaining the kids on holidays, a day at the beach is bound to be the most memorable for them.
According to a Nationwide spending report, Brits go on holiday an average of twice a year, at a cost of £855 per person each time.
If you have a family of four that’s a total of £6,840 for two holidays a year that you could be putting away instead.
Meal planning makes pennies
The food bill is the second biggest cost for families after their rent or mortgage and meal planning is the number one way to slice that bill in half.
Always take an inventory of what’s already in your cupboards before you go shopping and then sit down and plan every meal for the week.
Adopting a zero-waste kitchen approach means that you’ll use up everything you have and will need to buy less in the long run.
Yes, it might be time consuming but by doing so you will know exactly what you need and you won’t end up over buying and therefore overspending.
I particularly love Aldi for a cheaper food shop, even if you have to go slightly further afield from your local supermarket it will pay off in the long run.
And timing your food shop will also help you save money.
Never shop when you’re hungry as you’re more likely to pick up treats that you don’t need and head to the supermarket in the evening to secure those sought after yellow sticker deals.
If you are really struggling then be sure to check out food waste apps such as Olio where neighbours can advertise any food they’ve got going to waste that you can then pick up for free.
All this has helped me cut down my weekly food bill for my family of four to as little as £35 – that’s £116 less than the average UK family, according to data research site Nimble Fins.
By adapting your shopping habits as I have £6,032 this year simply by being organised.
Opt for free kids entertainment
When we started our no-buy year we were really honest with our children about what we were doing and what we were saving for.
To be honest I think I was more worried about it than they were as I quickly realised that my boys were more happy when given the freedom to run outside with friends or have a sleepover than they were with a trip to the cinema or sitting in a restaurant – and that cost me nothing.
Of course there are exceptions like their birthdays but you need to remember that the holidays are there for your kids to recuperate after school so there is no need to go mad with plans.
Don’t feel guilty for letting them just sit in front of the telly – they will thank you for it!
Equally if you do want to get the kids out of the house check out free entertainment in your area.
Most museums offer free entry, and be sure to check your local Facebook page for local events such as fetes or carnivals which are often free of charge.
Nimble Fins reports that a family of four will spend around £4,920 on entertainment, so by making a few simple changes you could save a small fortune.
Shop your wardrobe
One of the trickiest things I found with my no-buy year was giving up clothes shopping, and I know I won’t be alone on this one.
Try storing your clothes from season to season and then leaving them a year or two so that when you then get them down from the loft they feel fresh and you will have most likely forgotten all about them.
Another thing that really helped me was taking pictures of my outfits when I really liked them and when I thought I had nothing to wear I would scroll through my phone and it would remind me of the outfits I looked good in and liked wearing.
You can even try a clothes swap with friends and go off with a new wardrobe for free – and with a survey by Ariel finding the average adult spends £1,000 on clothes a year that’s a tasty saving.
Make use of cashback
I’m the cashback queen, I love websites like TopCashback so much and can’t understand why more people don’t use it.
It’s free money for you to spend on the things that you’ll be buying anyway, and it’s not just products, it’s household bills, car insurance, or your phone bill, stuff you have to pay for and could get money back on.
Websites like TopCashback are paid by companies when you shop with them, and then they share some of that cash with you.
Simply add the TopCashback extension to your web browser for it to be automatically applied to online purchases.
You might have to wait a while for your money but otherwise there is no negative that I can see.
I have had people contact me to tell me that they’ve earnt £3,000 in the past year just using cashback apps.
Fill out those surveys!
They may seem tedious but it really is worth filling out those paid for surveys.
They never take more than about ten minutes so next time you are sat waiting for the bus or getting your haircut, instead of mindlessly scrolling through your phone tackle a survey.
You can get paid up to £6 per survey – and it’s a great way to make money, according to both Emma Drew of Emmadrew.info and Francesca Mason of From Pennies to Pounds.
There are lots of sites you can use, but these are the easiest to navigate: YouGov.co.uk, Prolific.ac and PineconeResearch.co.uk.
Filling out just two £6 surveys a week will see you pocket £624.
Cut out the non-essentials
So many of us are guilty of picking up a coffee to-go every day, whether that’s on the way to work or on a walk with friends.
And while it might only seem like a couple of quid here and there, ditching a daily coffee based on the price of a Pret latte at £3.25 could save you £1,186.25 this year.
Equally if you’re in the habit of buying lunch every day, stop that immediately as picking up a meal deal five days a week costs Brits £1,580, according to research from the New York Bakery.
Take a sandwich and pocket the cash instead.
And there are some things you should buy
While the clue is in the name, when it comes to a no-buy year there are a few things that you can and should purchase to save you money in the long run.
For example, if you spend £25 on a gel manicure every three weeks it will cost you £433 a year in upkeep.
However, a gel nail set would initially cost you as little as £20, saving you £413 over the year.
Equally, having your eyebrows tinted and waxed will set you back around £20, equivalent to £347 a year.
But you could switch to plucking and bag a box of eyebrow tint for £7 in Superdrug saving you £340 a year.
Personally I invested in an Eco Egg, a reusable laundry detergent, costing £8 for the initial egg and just £5 for refills, and it lasts for three months worth of laundry, costing you £23 for the year compared to the average of £64.48 according to Which?.
Anything you can reuse is a must really such as a menstrual cup, which costs an average of £16 compared to the average of £128 a year spent on sanitary towels and tampons according to Channel 4.
HOW TO SAVE £30K IN 2022
Buy reusable sanitary products – save £112
Swap detergent for Eco Egg – £41.48
Do beauty treatments at home – £753
Ditch daily coffee – £1,186.25
Take a packed lunch – £1,580
Paid surveys – £624
Use cashback apps – Up to £3k
Avoid buying new clothes – £1k
Find free family entertainment – £4,920
Organise your food shop – £6,032
Skip holidays – £6,840
Ditch dinner plans – £4,160
TOTAL SAVED IN 2022: £30,248.73