Is intentional spending the most important part of being thrifty?

I spent a lot of money last week although my Excel spreadsheet tells me that I was slightly under budget. It’s probably important to point out that last week’s budget was nearly twice my preferred weekly spend (since I started tracking expenditure ) – at around £290. It was my best friend’s 30th birthday party so for the first time in a long time I let my hair down at a restaurant and bought drinks at a bar and club subsequently. I also got her a fairly pricy gift. This week, I created a budget that’s supposed to redress that so that I can come in under budget for the whole month. Off the back of that, I have made some intentional changes to ensure I spend a lot less than normal this week.

I went shopping at Asda instead of my Tesco Express/Sainsbury’s Local/Cooperative

The largest grocery store closest to my office or home is a huge Asda about 20 minutes walk from my house. I usually don’t go because I can go to the Sainsbury’s locals within my train station, 2 minutes outside the tube station or 1 minute across the road from my office. There are Tesco express shops 4 minutes from work (and on the way to one tube station) or 3 minutes outside the tube station near my house. There’s also the Cooperative that’s about halfway between the train station and home, approximately 8 minutes from home.

I had £25 budgeted for food; beer and crisps to take with me to two get-togethers this weekend; popcorn for the cinema on Tuesday; as well as toiletries like shower gel, face moisturiser and body lotion. I knew there was no chance I would be able to achieve this, since some of my purchases are for specific brands, unless I went to Asda. So I did and I spent £23.14.

Total savings from this decision – approximately £4.80

  • This included a 2 for £2 offer on my shower gel, normally £1.50 each
  • £1 off a Holsten Pils pack of 4 beers (normally £4.50)
  • ~30p savings on Butterkist cinema sweet popcorn (only one I eat and usually at least£1);
  • £1.50 off my Neutrogena face moisturiser

I took no chances on being hungry anywhere near a restaurant / take away

  • I made coconut rice and chicken as well as fillings for tortilla wraps on Monday to last me through till Thursday
  • I took some water, popcorn and tortilla wraps with me to the cinema (although the wraps were for dinner after) to ensure I didn’t succumb to the pull of the combo offers
  • I met my friend for lunch at her office where she was working alone instead of going to Icco as we usually do
  • I discovered and had hot chocolate & made sure to raid the fruit basket at work + bought some citrus fruits that were on offer for 50p at Asda so that I would have snacks on hand and not buy my usual cookies

I made a super advance flight booking for the first time in 5 years

I know that I will be in Edinburgh in the second weekend in December. I know this because I bought Ryanair tickets on Monday. I was supposed to have visited a mate of mine in July but didn’t because  when I decided on a date (2 weeks out), I was dead broke. I haven’t committed to buying a flight until about 2 weeks before I want to go somewhere even when I have committed to the event months in advance because I wanted to be “flexible”. What a joke! I saw £30 tickets on Ryan air on Monday and snapped them up immediately. It did help that I now have a travel fund that I could dip into.

I held off making a big purchase and got a free item instead

So I didn’t know I was going to get a free pair of glasses but I know that I didn’t buy several pairs that I looked at over the last six months because I was hoping to find a good deal. I have had the 2 pairs I wear now for the last 6 years (£89 2-4-1 offer I think). Both the frames and lenses of my preferred pair are wrecked and the lenses of the second pair are pretty scratched too. Last weekend I decided I’d give up on buying an expensive designer pair and take advantage of Specsavers’ £69 offer for frames and lenses until I’d saved enough money to get a more expensive pair since these ones have lasted so long. When I met a friend on Monday though, she gave me a cute pair of Givenchy frames that were leftover from a photo shoot. All I’ll need to do now is get new lens fitted and I have my original want. Result!

I don’t know yet whether I’ll be under budget this week or this month but I know that I’m a damn sight better at being thrifty than I was a couple of months ago. I think the conscious efforts I’ve made around every single purchase – barring some of my joy givers – has certainly given me a great foundation to automatic thrift.

What about you? Do you think that intentional spending is the first step to being frugal? What have you done differently this week that saved you money?

One thought on “Is intentional spending the most important part of being thrifty?

  1. Pingback: Living a more intentional life | Diary of a reforming spendthrift

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