With tomorrow marking just 30 days before ‘the big day’ you may be starting to panic.
Whether it’s because you’re concerned that half the turkey may need to be lobbed off to be able to fit it in your at-any-other-time-of-the-year-perfectly-roomy-enough oven, the looming prospect of jaw-ache from having to grin and recount your year to every family member or due to the fact that you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to get everyone, an additional worry may be how you’re going to afford to go to all the festivities that you’ll be invited to/buy the seven different Secret Santa presents you’ve somehow agreed to purchase/drink all the drinks you will legitimately have to knock back just to get through your work Christmas party.
With that in mind, I wanted to share 4 simple tips as to how you can make a real difference to your finances in just 30 days.
1. Stop buying coffee on your way to work
At the risk of becoming a social outcast I have a confession to make here – I don’t drink coffee. There, I said it. However, the number of commuters I see nursing a hot beverage in a paper cup every morning is clear evidence that I am not amongst the majority in this regard.
Aside from the fact that I’m speaking as someone that had an entire cup of the stuff thrown over me by someone whose paper cup lid had gone rogue on a train the other day and therefore thinks that a sturdy and reusable receptacle is the way to go if you don’t want to create a hate storm around you before 9am (not to mention the environmental benefits), the cost of a daily caffeine fix racks up.
Spending ‘just’ £2.50 on your liquid energy amounts to £12.50 a week or, wait for it, £650.00 a year!I wouldn’t dream of telling you to forego the thing that may make you vaguely human in the morning but, rather than hitting [insert name of your favourite coffee chain here] and the inevitable queue that comes with it, make your coffee at home before you go to work and stick it in a reusable thermal mug.
2. Take advantage of voucher codes and discounts
In this day and age there is no excuse not to look for a way of paying less for the things you want to spend your money on.
2 for 1 deals on meals out, special offers and voucher codes can all be sought out online, but there are also websites and apps that alert you whenever items you have your eye on are put on sale. Shoptagr and Lyst are great options.
Other ways of saving are by paying a one off fee to get access to discounts. Tastecard and Gourmet Society have been around for a few years but it’s worth having a look around for the new breed of discount cards.
I recently joined Sheerluxe VIP. I spent £5 and, without even mentioning all the other pretty fabulous benefits, went to 2 Psycle classes that are usually £20 each. As a side note, if you’re struggling for present ideas Sheerluxe has curated a Christmas list of dreams (some of which are fairly pricey but definitely worth a look).
Another top tip is to look at what offers are already available to you. By way of example O2 Priority and some credit providers offer discounts and even some freebies (the coffee drinkers amongst you who have a contract with 02 and balk at the idea of point number 1 above will no doubt appreciate the free hot drink you can get from Café Nero every Tuesday after 12pm).
3. Learn to live without UBER
Love it or hate it, the word ‘taxi’ has now been replaced by ‘Uber’.
The convenience of ordering a cab at the click of a button/a swipe of your phone and your ride being outside in a matter of minutes (if it doesn’t get cancelled that is) makes it all too easy to spend with sheer abandon.
Never mind the eye-watering surges that Uber always seems to stick on at the exact moment that you try to use it, paying for any sort of taxi will eat into your Christmas budgeting and, if possible, you can avoid it.
Whilst sharing a journey (or, to use the new jargon, ‘pooling’) can save you some cash, public transport is by far a cheaper option (safety and time permitting). And, if you’re not going far, walking is free and allows you to add to your all important step count.
Just make sure that you have some comfortable shoes with you (speaking from experience).
4. Cancel your gym membership
This sounds like a completely crazy idea given the inevitable festive indulgences that December brings but hear me out.Gym memberships and the growing trend of pay as you go classes can be extortionately expensive. The idea of spending £20 a time can surely only be justified if you emerge from your sweaty state looking like an Amazonian goddess after just one session. I’m not sure about the rest of you but sadly this hasn’t been my experience.
Yes running is free, yes you can watch hours of youTube videos (not a brilliant one if you have neighbours underneath you though) but sometimes you need the instructor and peer pressure to provide you with the motivation you need to hold that plank for an extra minute despite your arms feeling a bit like someone has attempted to rip them from your body in the manner of a child of the 90s playing with a Stretch Armstrong.
Thankfully some fantastic brands have come to the rescue and are providing free, yes FREE, opportunities to exercise with some of the best in the business.I’ll be writing a dedicated post on ‘frugal fitness’ soon but here are some crackers to keep the turkey tummy at bay in the meantime:
- Women’s Health Run Club – get taken on a route around London with ‘breaks’ to fit some HITT in.
- Lululemon – instructors from different boutique gyms are brought into the brand’s shops to put you though your paces. These classes are announced on Eventbrite, just put ‘Lululemon’ in the searchbar. Definitely keep checking back if you can’t see anything near you right now.
- Sweaty Betty – each Sweaty Betty shop puts on a huge variety of classes. I used to go to a class run by the gorgeous Chiara of 4FitnessSake (who is a Sweaty Betty ambassador and put together the Women’s Health 10 week transformation plan so you can see the calibre of instructors SB give you). Top tip: book as early as you possibly can!
- Adidas 26rs – the key is in the name with this one and it was set up to help those training for the marathon but it also caters for all abilities.