Saving money is not easy in this day and age. The new number one thing Adam and I now say is…..
‘Sorry, we’ve got no money’
Obviously this is a lie. What we really mean is that we have no money for fun because we have no jobs and we really want to keep eating. We started preparing for this when we quit our jobs back in April. We thought it would be enough to substitute holidays abroad with some camping in England. Then we cancelled any unnecessary monthly subscriptions. (It’s hard not having gym membership, everyone knows that it doesn’t matter if you actually use it, you get fit as long you have it!) We stopped treating ourselves to days out or new clothes and, in a way, enjoyed making sacrifices as every £1 saved was going towards our dream.
Those sorts of things were easy to give up, but obviously weren’t enough. So we changed how we shopped, no more luxury items like on the vine tomatoes or salmon. Iceburg lettuce has made a come back! When this wasn’t enough we got strategic. Tesco at 7pm is every bargain hunters mecca. It took a while to perfect but now we know the drill we are pros. Adam heads straight to the fresh veg to elbow his way into the ring, as soon as the reduced cart arrives all manners are out of the window. I take the bread aisle where elbowing, snatching and swearing are not only allowed but encouraged. Those 12p scones are mine and no one is going to stand in my way. The fresh food section is still out of our league but with every trip our experience grows and we’re hopeful that one day we will be qualified enough to tackle it. Sadly after several failed attempts we still aren’t familiar with the trolley queue etiquette. We needed to save money. By saving money we would have more to spend on a sail boat. If we could go about saving money on food we could spend money on sailing. Sailing is expensive so we had to save money. By saving money of food we were hoping we could buy a bigger boat. A boat was better than spending money on food.
Long gone are the days of getting excited about my phone contract ending so I could get a new one. My phone that needs charging twice a day and has a huge crack down the screen is more than capable of making calls. When my laptop died, rather than just buying one I liked the look of, I worked out what I could sell to make the money I needed. It made me prioritise. It turns out I own lots of things that I would consider less important than a laptop and it’s been therapeutic scaling down. I never realised I owned so many things I don’t need.
One of the next biggest expenses was petrol. We couldn’t afford to make long journeys anymore so seeing friends became harder. Train travel is well over our budget too. We started having to think carefully about what events we could actually afford to attend. It’s amazing how quickly a dinner out on a Friday night can add up. A cheap starter and main can easily add up to £15. Add on a soft drink at £3 and a tip and you’re at £20 each. Then £5 petrol and parking and you’re at nearly £50 before you know it. I broke into a cold sweat when friends suggested drinks in London or dinner and a catch up. All these things that I thought nothing about when I had a job suddenly became huge obstacles. I felt so incredibly awkward explaining to people I couldn’t do something because I had no money. We thought camping would be a great cheap solution to fill our need for travel, but campsites seem to charge just as much as hotels these days. We did manage an incredibly cheap weekend away in Spain, for more info check out my tips here! Because we don’t have jobs we can’t afford to spend money. Saving money is the only way to survive. We needed to find more ways of saving money so that we could buy a sail boat. Sailing our own boat was the dream. Saving money was the way to get there.
Warning: Soppy content to follow
Of course I was wrong in thinking that people would be annoyed at our situation. In fact, it has shown me that either we are incredibly lucky to have such generous friends and family or that people in general are kind and giving (or most likely a combination of the two). We have tried to arrange free activities (walking is great!) as even a catch up at the local pub becomes an expensive affair, but when this hasn’t been possible people have offered to buy us drinks or lunches and dinners, people have arranged cheap activities for their birthdays so it’s been possible for us to go, after having a moan about not being able to buy new clothes I was gifted vouchers for my birthday, when we didn’t have heating we were offered warm beds or home cooked meals. We’ve been donated unused sailing gear and been bought ‘luxury’ food items, been able to use our parents netflix subscription which is now vital as we never go out! People have even offered to pay for petrol when we’ve declined travelling longer distances. We’ve received messages from people we haven’t spoken to in years offering places to stay abroad or helpful advice and every single person who has encouraged us in some way has helped make this feel possible on days when I feel like I’ve made a massive mistake (of which there are still plenty!) We can’t believe how kind and supportive you have been and we feel so touched by your thoughtfulness.
So although we can’t repay you in money yet, please know that if you need a holiday there will always been a sailboat for you to stay on (and a spare life jacket because of the savings you guys have helped us make!) Thank you all, for everything.