Money is probably the thing that will stress us out the most over our lifetime. Unfortunately our whole world revolves around it.

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My partner and I are about to move in together and we’ve had various discussions about money – mainly how little of it we’re going to have when we’re renting and it’s got me thinking that many people are in the same boat.

The problem I have, like many others, is, I will still spend money whether or not I actually have it. My next payday will be on September 30th (over a month from now) – until then, I am currently running on near enough £0.

I always think that you learn to manage money when you don’t have any. I’ve put together a few money saving tips when you need to spend, but you have little or no money!

Lauren’s money saving tips for when you’re trying to stay afloat…

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  1. Change your supermarket!
    I am a big fan of shopping local but unfortunately in my tiny little town, there is very little choice and for years we have been monopolised by a Morrison’s which has pretty much dominated business in town and also shut down some excellent butchers and bakeries over the years. However, recently, a brightly shining building appeared dazzling us all with its low prices and high quality food – it was called ALDI and I think it may have overtaken Urban Outfitters as my favourite shop ever.
    Where my major savings have come from: Meat (chicken breast 1.69 vs 3.00-4.00 at major supermarkets), Scottish thick raspberry yoghurt (exactly the same as those sold in Tesco), various salad boxes (exactly the same as M&S – miles cheaper), Nutoka (nutella in disguise), Alcohol (it all does the job right?) and finally toiletries (I got all of my holiday toiletries including sun cream for less that a tenner – bargain!)
  2. Charity Shops
    As well as making you feel good and doing your bit to give back to those who need it most, you can find some absolute bargains in a charity shop! Yesterday I bought a Rimmel nail varnish (new) for £1, the first Game of Thrones book for £2, and 4 very sweet hair ties for £1.
    Where my major savings have come from: Books, clothes, jewellery, fancy dress, furniture (air ambulance UK are very good for this) and board games. All cheap and in great condition.
  3. Top Cashback
    It’s a website that you can sign up to that will refund you part of what you have paid back if you use their website. Some examples of this are: Spend £10 at the Odeon cinema and receive £10 back. Essentially it’s half price. The only disadvantage is that it takes a little while to refund your cash but if you know its coming and you were going to spend that money anyway, you may as well get some money back.
    Where my major savings have come from: Trains, car insurance, breakdown cover, christmas presents. Pretty much anything you can think of!
  4. Change your bank account
    Me and Matt are currently looking to switch my current account to Natwest because they are offering £100 to each of us if I switch. £200, just for switching a bank account. No brainer.
  5. Look for offers!
    If you are like me and your favourite hobby is eating and particularly eating out, then you may get sucked into eating at your favourite restaurant, just because you like it. I ate out with my friends earlier this week and we chose the restaurant offering 25% the final bill. Don’t get sucked in by the likes of Pizza Express – they always have an offer on and often it doesn’t really work out that much cheaper. Look for happy hours, places that accept taste cards and always check the terms and conditions. Don’t get caught out because it’s a Friday!
    Where my major savings have come from: Great restaurants with offers = Ego Mediterranean Restaurant, The Villa Express, Las Iguanas, The County Pub (241 Pizzas on a Tuesday), and The Slug and Lettuce (loads of drinks offers on a Friday – even in London).
  6. Look for part time work/ volunteering opportunities…
    I’m not saying take on a second job – I’m talking about doing things like Market Research. I did an hour on a panel for Virgin trains and got £65 cash in hand.
    Another great thing I did recently was volunteer for a festival called Tramlines in Sheffield. 4 and a half hours of being nice to people and putting wristbands on VIP’s and I had a free wristband for the weekend worth £45. Easy money!
  7. Take a flask!
    If you’re like me and cannot survive a journey without a cup of tea or coffee then save yourself the money and plan ahead by making a flask before you set off! Starbucks, Costa, Nero and any good Cafe will probably charge you a minimum of £2. £2 a day x 7 = £14 a week/ £60 a month / £720 a year. Honestly, just get a flask. They keep your brew warm for hours and will honestly save you a  fortune.
  8. TK Maxx and Ikea
    My second favourite place in the world (after ALDI obviously). I saw some gorgeous little designer mugs for the new flat which were £4 each. The next day I went into Stringers in Lytham – the exact same mugs were there for £9.99 each. They do some amazing designer home wear for the fraction of the price.
    Equally, Ikea is bargain city if your relationship can take the strain of assembling flat pack furniture. My friend has recently bought a Star Wars-esk death star style light shade which is by definition ‘super cool’.
    Where my major savings have come from: Underwear (designer especially – Heidi Klum intimates are on point), Shoes (keep your eye out for Kurt Geiger Carvellas – they seem to appear frequently at TK Maxx £30 from £100), Home wear, Ikea meatballs & Daim Bar Cake (no savings – they just taste really good)!
  9. SO MANY ACTIVITIES…
    … are free! Walks in the park, free theatre performances, museum exhibitions, playing sport, feeding the ducks, blogging, art galleries, baking, binge watching crap TV, reading a great book! The possibilities are endless – you don’t have to spend money to have a good time.
  10. Mondo
    There are a variety of budgeting apps that I would recommend but this one seems to top the lot. This is actually a ‘pre-paid’ contactless debit card that gives you instant reports on your phone of what you’re spending your money on. It also refunds you for things like cash withdrawal charges.
    Want to know more, click here! Or if you’re totally sold and just wanna sign up, click here!So there it is, my top money saving tips. I’m now going to spend the rest of the day preparing for a car boot sale tomorrow!Positive of the day: I have discovered I can write blog posts and schedule them so this was actually written on Thursday and I’m storing them all up incase I run out of time one day! Winning 😀