jelly and icecream

Things from a very broke person… (uk based)
  • The cats will eat the cheap cat food, but you are going to feel guilty as hell. Lidl do a ‘stick’ treat that’s cheap as hell and my cats will go INSANE for them. Seriously. I might lose a finger one day.
  • Cheap bubble bath foams just as good as the expensive stuff, it’ll feel like a treat. (I use Asdas, the ‘man smell’ ones, was 2 for £2 or something, lasts for ages)
  • Those giant bags of cheap rice are a fucking lifesaver. (about £5/£7 depending on the type)
  • Those ‘easy cheap meals’ online are only easy and cheap if you have a fully stocked cupboard.
  • Don’t worry too much about those posts that tell you to shop around. It’s only cheaper if you can walk, remember petrol and bus fares add up when you are trying to save 4p on washing up liquid. It’s not always worth it.
  • Lidl and Aldi are the BEST place for fresh veg – seriously.
  • Also, Lidl has some fantastic meat – I buy the chicken breasts and freeze them singly.
  • Jars of sauce + lentils + a single chicken breast chopped up small/pulled = at least five lunches if you have rice or pasta! They are high in fat but its filling and tastes good. You can add mushrooms/peppers/frozen veg and bulk it up.
  • Lentils will bulk anything up. Same with rice. Add them to jars of curry sauce, soups, even stews.
  • Freeze leftovers.
  • Buy frozen veg and add handfuls of it to whatever you are making. Seriously, peas go with pretty much everything.
  • Egg fried rice! Easy as hell and super filling – throw in some frozen peas, any leftover scraps of chicken/pork/meat/fish… easy, fast and cheap as hell.
  • Even plastic cheese tastes okay melted on top of stuff. (I mean like the slices, you know?)
  • A slow cooker is worth it if you get a cheap one. I use mine for bulk cooking.
  • No haircut is ‘maintenance free’.
  • Don’t get too stressed about clothes – it sucks when you get a timehop and you are still wearing the same shirt (mine was 7 years ago) if it still fits, wear it. Fuck people.
  • Asda own brand detergent is just as good as branded stuff and the tropical stuff smells really nice. Same with fabric softener.
  • Sainsbury’s isn’t as expensive as you might think – the washing up liquid is also just as good as Fairy. (I like the blue one, it smells clean)
  • Don’t even bother skimping on the one thing you love. For me its diet coke… the store brands are NOT AS GOOD. Most places will have 30 packs on offer at some point. Save up and buy it in bulk.
  • The little bottles of diet lemonade in Asda are bogof for a tray – it’s GREAT if you wanna add in diluted juice or for sticking in the car / just for having a quick drink.
  • Lidl have a brand of crisps called ‘Snacktastic’ in multipacks of 30. I get the ‘meaty’ ones, and they are better than Walkers. I shit you not. Half the price too.
  • Charity shops smell weird, and sometimes the grans inside will give you funny looks. Fuck em. Buy a 50p book and get used to it. You can sometimes find some fucking treasures (I picked up a brand new bedding set for £3, still in the packet!) beside the overpriced old Primark stuff. (Seriously. It was cheaper new.)
  • Asda home wear section. It’s seriously unexplainable how much better you will feel and how proud you will be of your bathroom if you buy all matching towels. Asda have great colours – honestly, a sheet, a hand towel, a rug and two facecloths. Lay them out, fold them nice. You feel like an adult and the quality is good enough that they do last. Get a new shower curtain too. Trust me. It’s a mini makeover and the cost will be under £30.
  • Primark. A lot of people think its shit quality and they aren’t wrong, but my 7 year time hop was a checked shirt from Primark and it’s still wearable to work.
  • Matalan vests are great quality and will go under cheaper quality shirts so your bra / binder won’t show. I have about 20 and I love them – they also look great with skinny jeans and boots. No one can tell they were like… £2.
  • Ebay. You know that already.
  • Buy the best quality bras you can. They last longer; you get the support you need. Don’t stint on bras (or binders!)
  • Buy cheap socks and pants. Men’s stocks are normally cheaper in packs, and they go higher up your legs than the girls stuff.
  • Shop online for glasses. I used Goggles 4 U for my sunglasses for driving. £15. Just as good as my Red or Dead ones from 8 years ago that cost me £120. You can get a free eye test at Specsavers and just ask for a copy of your prescription. Remember to ask about your pupil distance!
  • Savers make-up has a cheap brand that looks like Too Faced. It’s in almost identical packaging, and it’s won a lot of awards in blind testing. Good for sponges too!
  • Most perfumes have those tiny sample bottles. Ask the salesgirl for one to see how it wears.
  • Pound shop pills are just as good as Boots. Same with vitamins. The plasters tend to be shit though. Use Asda or Boots.
  • Cheap razors are the same for men and women. Normally cheaper for the men though. To stop stubble burn on the legs, buy a super (super) cheap conditioner for hair and use that like the shaving foam. Sounds weird, clogs the razor by the end, but genuinely works very well. Also, smooth legs!
  • Keep a book of stamps in your purse/wallet. It’s super handy!
  • Bulk buy your kitchen roll, toilet roll and sanitary products.
  • Flowers are expensive, buy a Peace Lily. They are super easy to keep alive and look pretty awesome. (keep out of the reach of cats!)
  • Cheap frames. If you see a photo frame for under £1, buy it. You can cover a wall with mismatched frames and it’ll look awesome, and hide some serious flaws. You don’t even need art, frame some nice wrapping paper or comic pages, even newspaper articles, photos or drawings from the kids (or even cards you received)
  • A fresh coat of paint will work wonders, and B&Q always have offers on. Asda sells paint now too. Just take your time. If pintrest tells you it’s a ‘quick afternoon project’ it’ll take a week for you to complete.
  • Larger charity shops or local facebay sites can REALLY help you furnish your home. Don’t worry if it doesn’t match, it’s a stopgap till you can buy what you like. You might also find some really good quality stuff that can be painted and kept for a loooong time.
  • A chest freezer will save your life.
  • Be fucking polite to sales people. You might be broke but they gotta deal with some shit day in and day out. It’s not their fault if that coupon has expired or the price tag is wrong.
  • Carpool if you can.
  • If you like a product, write them a letter. Might be nothing. Might get you a coupon.
  • No matter how well you budget, you will fuck up at some point. You’ll spent £100 on something you can’t afford, don’t NEED and just WANT. Try not to do it a lot, but honestly, sometimes you’ll just fuck up. It’s okay. You aren’t a robot.
  • Plan on doing something once a month. You are going to need something to look forward too else why the fuck are you working? Go to the cinema with friends, buy a ticket on one of those tourist buses, check your local venues and spend £15 on a show you’d never normally see, go to the beach with a small picnic. Do one thing a month, maybe right after payday. Invite your friends; make it a ‘thing’. It’s hard to go on nights out when you’ve nothing to wear and can’t afford to keep up with the rounds of drinks, so make a day event where you can still be super social, hang out with friends and do something fun. Just make sure you budget for it!
  • Tell your friends that money is tight. They might not be aware that you are struggling and may try to have more outings that are less expensive.
  • Most people like curry – make a chicken curry, rice and naan and invite friends around. Byob. You get to host a night in – card games or board games or even charades are hilarious after a few beers and a good meal. Pudding can be anything from jelly and icecream to a cheap chocolate cake in the microwave for a few seconds and some cream. It’s low cost and high returns – you look like your being generous while not actually spending a lot (esp good if you are trying to hide the fact you’re eating rice 7 nights a week).

(add on your own hits and tips!)