In 2014, I worked out I had saved the equivalent of £14,000 by putting my money where my mouth was and following my own advice. Now it’s time to put it to the test again.
Imagine there’s another version of me out there who doesn’t think about the money he spends. He does exactly the same things as me, goes to the same places, and likes the same things. But the ways to save either don’t occur to him or he’s not bothered. He’s my benchmark.
Every time I do something that involves money, I’ll be thinking about what this other Andy would have spent, and start totting up the difference.
My philosophy with YFAP is as long as you can pay your bills, you’re not getting into debt and you’re building up savings and a pension, there’s no reason you shouldn’t spend your money how you want. So this challenge will follow those rules.
I’ll be fair. If real me decides to eat at home, then so will other Andy. And I won’t be making saving on the other Andy by staying home rather than going out.
This isn’t a series of blogposts about being frugal and eating lentils. It’s about how you can get the most from your hard earned money.
How I saved £14,000 in the 2014 Save-ometer
The first time I did this experiment was in 2014. Each day that year I kept a record of every single penny I spent, and how much money being clever with my cash actually saved.
It was a hard slog remembering to write each purchase down AND work out the equivalent saving, but it was a great way to demonstrate how a few easy changes can make a huge difference.
The end result was unexpected. If I’d paid full price for everything I spent that year, it would have cost me an extra £14,000! To have afforded that I’d have needed to be paid an extra £22,000 before tax, and I worked out it was the equivalent of a 43% pay rise!
Could you do the same?
Obviously everyone’s lives are different, so how I spend my money, and how much money I have to spend, won’t be the same as with you.
Plus, since you read this blog, there’s a good chance you aren’t as ignorant as my parallel Andy, but I know people, good friends, who just think it’s all too much hassle.
Wherever you sit on the scale between the two versions of me, I hope you’ll be able to takeaway inspiration and information from this challenge to make similar savings.
It’s not an exact science (well it’s not really a science at all…) but it serves a purpose to show just how much modern life can cost, and how much less you can spend if you’re clever with your cash.
What’s different in 2016?
So why do it again?
This time my life feels more “normal”, and it’ll be interesting to see how this affects how much I can save.
For a start I’m a lot busier. With my day job, this blog and my UK Money Bloggers community I’m actually quite pushed for free time.
In the last version of the challenge, I had the luxury of behaviours such as splitting my shopping between three or four supermarkets (I know!), or time to hunt for money off coupons.
These kinds of savings aren’t practical for most time-poor people, and the effort versus the reward doesn’t pay off in some cases. However, I know there are still decent savings to be made in the time we all have available.
Also, last time I did this, I was freelancing and saving for a wedding, meaning I was keeping a very careful eye on my spending.
This time I’ve far more freedom in how I spend my cash, and it means I’ll be spending more on the non-essentials. This should give more examples of when you can – and when you can’t – save.
How’s the 2016 Being Clever With Your Cash savings challenge been going so far?
I’m going to be tracking far more than just what I did spend and what I could have spent. By the end of this year I should be able to tell you exactly how much of a difference coupons or switching can make, or whether planning ahead saves more than last minute bargains.
I’ve already been keeping track since 1st January, so keep an eye out for the first update in April.