1) Stay away from vending machines and cafes. At college, my friends used to spend at least £5 a day on vending machine drinks or a muffin from the cafe in the morning. That's £25 per a 5-day-week, which soon amounts to a whopping £100 every four weeks. Two pounds here and there may not sound a lot at the time for a yummy treat, but those pounds soon add up.
Firstly, if you know you'll be out the house for a while that day, make sure you take a drink out with you. Individual drinks usually cost a bomb when you're out and about (for example, it's £1.87 for the cheapest bottle of unbranded water at my uni... what??!!!), so you may as well take advantage of bulk savings and get some in before you leave the house. That way you're always guaranteed to get the drink you like and want too. I will never leave the house without a bottle of water in my bag for this very reason. Also, you're less likely to fall victim to the 'oh I'll just treat myself' bug and buy something else if you stay away from vending machines and/or cafes.
Now, I'm not one for hot drinks, but all I know is paying £3.60 for a Starbucks latte is definitely some money you could be saving by simply purchasing a flask. Most workplaces and study spaces will have a kettle SOMEWHERE, so you could even take some teabags and/or coffee with you in a little container too. If you were to do this instead of buying a hot drink each day for a few minutes extra convenience, you could save approx. £18 every five days, which is £72 every four weeks; making your savings just sort of a grand a year (Based on an estimated average value of £3 per drink). That's ONE THOUSAND POUNDS that you could be so easily saving. There are so many people around me that will buy a few Costa or Starbucks a day too, so just think of that money you could otherwise be saving?! I'm not saying you should cut out a treat every now and again, but I think it's safe to say that a drink from the cafe is not a daily necessity as some people get into the habit of thinking.
Finally, If you're a snacker, pack snacks in your bag and take them with you. Not only will this prove cheaper, but it'll most likely mean that you eat healthier. Since I've carried a bag of almonds or the occasional cheeky chocolate bar in my bag, I haven't found the need to even think about stepping foot near a food shop, and consequently I've eaten less rubbish whilst on the go too.
2) Fit in the occasional walk. I don't often take the bus, but whenever I do I am seriously shocked at how expensive it has become to simply travel a mile up the road. Whilst I had a bad back I'd pay a £1 bus fare to take me from the train station to university, which is around 1.5 miles away. £1 you say? But that's nothing. Ah, but that's £5 a week, one way. A return would amount to £10 every five days, which worked out to £40 every four weeks. One pound is cheap too. Just to go two miles into my local town from my house costs £3.60. I'm not at all encouraging someone to walk if you physically feel you can't, but unless you try, you may never know or at least, never learn to do it. I'd rather walk where I can during the day so that I can spend that saved money on bus/taxi fares at night if need be. I'd also like to point out here that if you're in a position where you feel getting the bus is your safest mode of transport - spend the money. Your safety is worth far more than saving a few pounds here and there. Otherwise, try to see if you can walk one stop ahead on your route, see how you feel, see if you can walk to the next. Gradually build your distance up and you may surprise yourself. Not only is this a simple and efficient way to save, but it also encourages a healthier lifestyle too!
3) Put your purse/wallet in a hard to reach place. Now this is where I feel people are going to start judging me, haha! I promise I didn't do this with the intention of saving whilst on the go, but woah. I love my purse, it's absolutely gorgeous, but it's very long in shape and usually falls to the bottom of my bag at the start of the day. This means, if I want to casually 'treat' myself or simply buy something, I have to go to a lot of effort to get my purse out from beneath all the other rubbish in my bag which usually results me giving up before I've even tried. Either that, or it takes long enough so that I have more time to contemplate whether something is really worth it or not. It's such a simple thing to do, but having my money in a less accessible place not only makes it more secure (I see you London pick-pocketers), but has prevented a lot of 'whim' purchases.
See? Simple and easy. I'm not saying you shouldn't treat yourself to a snack, or buy a hot chocolate when you're waiting for your 20-minute delayed train in the winter cold, but are these purchases absolutely necessary to the functioning of your day? Most likely not. As humans, we get into habits; and it can soon become very unnerving to start to think of the alternatives to what we've become so accustomed to and feel comfortable with. Cut out one drink a week to start with and build it up, pack your lunch and snacks before you leave the house and as a reward, buy yourself that gloriously chocolate-filled muffin one day as an incentive. Don't feel like walking a mile up the road? Neither do I a lot of the time, but when the weather is fairly reasonable you may as well go for it and save bus money for those times when it's pouring out.
Just by following these three simple tips for saving money alone, I've not only improved my health by snacking on healthier alternatives and walking more, but I'd estimate that I now save a minimum of £20 a week that I otherwise would have spent on lets face it: needless crap. That's approximately £80 every four weeks, and just over £1k a year. Do I feel as though I'm holding back or preventing myself from things? Not really, no!
Is saving more on your New Years agenda? If so, what are some ways that you're hoping to save some extra bob?