Look After the Pennies...

Look After the Pennies...

All that it needs to create your own kitty is a bit of organisation, self discipline and some old fashioned ways of doing things. Other than that, it’s really easy and will help you to have some spending money by this time next year. It’s a trip back to the past with what used to be called ‘Housekeeping’.

In the dim and distant past, when people were paid in dirty ten pound notes, it was a completely cash society and you saw what you had in your hand and felt what things cost as you bought them. Now that everything is electronic, it’s very easy to lose sight of what you have relative to what you spend, so this takes us back to the days of pounds, shillings and pence!

Everyone buys food every week. It’s a fact of life. But, the supermarkets and even corner shops put huge amounts of effort, resource and science into making us part with even more money than we probably intended to. By all means, don’t live a miserable existence, but a bit of thought about what you spend in the supermarket can lead to big savings at the end of the year.

First of all you need to have a think about what you spend every week on food and general household stuff. Add up the receipts from a couple of weeks and take an average. Then get this amount of money from the cash till on the same day each week. At this point you might get a shock and realise that you are spending far more than you thought, in which case you’ve got a chance to shave a bit off it! The idea is that you get just a small amount more from the cash till than you plan to spend.

Then you need a receptacle for your money. The ladies have a chance at this point to buy a new purse – the men can put their money in the receptacle of their choice! The idea is that each time you go to the supermarket in the week that you take this ‘purse’, to use this money, and only this money, for food and household stuff, aiming to have a small amount left at the end of the week.

Then you need another receptacle – a pencil case, envelope, etc – into which you put everything that’s left at the end of the week, including notes and coins. Then you go to the cash till again on the same day the following week and start a new week afresh. Do the same thing every week for 52 weeks, and at the end of the year you will have a nifty little nest egg – guaranteed! Because you have physical money in your hand, it will make you aware of what you are spending, more conscious of the cost of things, and less likely to overbuy on expensive luxuries that supermarkets lull you into buying.

Now you can start to develop the organisation side of it even further. If you are in the habit of going to the shops every day or couple of days, start to plan what food you will eat during the next few days and buy on that basis, reducing the number of days on which you shop. You will spend less money overall, because you cut down the number of days on which you buy extras, and you’ll find that you buy what you need and also waste less food – which is not only a more responsible way to use resources, it’s also a lot cheaper!

And while you are at it, most people get paid monthly, so what do you think to five week months? You can avoid them by getting a bit extra out of the cash till each week and putting the extra on one side to pay for that horrible extra week that comes along every few months out of the same money.

Here’s the maths: multiply what you get from the cash till each week x 52 (weeks in a year) then divide it by 13 (four week months in a year). The difference between that and your normal weekly spend is what you need to save. Adios to five week months!

Here’s another old fashioned saying ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’. Even if you save £4.50 a week, that amounts to £234 a year – which is worth far more as spending money that you can actually enjoy than a couple of pounds a week is!




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