This year I'm attempting the much dreaded 100 day spending ban. 100 days of not buying beauty products and a massive decrease in frivolous spending can be tricky for the best of us, and after a few attempts over previous years, I've come up with a few tips to help make sticking to your spending ban that little bit easier.
1. Delete marketing emails without opening them. January is sale time and that means lots of promotional emails with special offers that can seem very tempting. Delete them without even opening them - if you don't see the offer, you'll be much less tempted to make an impulse purchase for something you didn't know you even wanted until that moment!
2. Take your own lunch to work. Buying food out and about can end up costing a fortune. I work in the centre of London so I'm faced with dozens of delicious options every day, but this has not only lead to me spending at least £5 a day on lunch, it's also helped contribute to an increase in the size of my bum! Preparing your lunches in advance will not only save lots of cash, but also makes it easier not to be tempted into buying lots of cake.
3. Try to buy essentials with your weekly food shop. A quick trip to Boots for toothpaste can easily lead to a sneaky nail polish purchase, so I try to top up on things like deodorant, toothpaste and shower gel when I do my food shopping as I'm much less likely to get distracted by makeup.
4. If you like eating out but are trying to cut back, keep your eyes peeled for special offers on website like Money Saving Expert for 2 for 1s or extra money off. I have a Tastecard, which means I can get 2 for 1 or 50% off at lots of restaurants (like Pizza Express, Strada and local companies), which means it's still possible to have a treat without breaking the bank. They usually run a 30 day free trial, so it's worth testing out!
5. Get a savings pot. For me, one of the most motivational things I can do during a spending ban is see how much money I'm actually saving. I keep a special piggy bank and for every purchase I *almost* make, but don't (e.g. that lovely lipstick I spent 10 minutes swatching in MAC), I put the money in the piggy bank and at the end of the spending ban, count it all up and use a little bit to give myself a treat.
6. Find free or cheap activities to do. Let's face it, we all love a bit of a weekend shopping session, whether it's in stores or online. But when I'm on a spending ban, this isn't really an option, so I try to make the most of free activities near me that I can do with friends and family instead. Why not take a photography walk with a blogger buddy, or check out local museums (many of which are free), parks or council run activities.
7. Do it with a friend. Reducing your spending is a lot easier when you have someone doing it with you. It might mean teaming up with your boyfriend as spending ban buddies or even an online friend, but having someone there who can motivate you when you're close to making an off-plan purchase is a real life saver.
8. Sleep on it. I'm the first one to hold my hand up and say I'm an impulse purchaser and there are a lot of things I see that I decide I have to have right there and then. If I spot something I love the look of, I now make sure I sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning. The chances are that the initial burst of excitement will have died down a bit and you can look at things more objectively.
9. Write it down. Why not make a list of all the things you've been lusting over during your spending ban and once it's over, look back over it and see which ones you're still desperate to have. If you've been trying out my 'piggy bank' way of saving, chances are you'll be able to treat yourself to at least one of them; however I bet that at least 50% have lost their appeal.
10. Use cash. It's far too easy to spend on a card without it feeling like 'real' money. Put a set amount of cash in your purse for the week and stick to it. You'll be much less inclined to spend it when you see the amount disappearing!
And if you really need something, don't beat yourself up. See if you're able to get it cheaper online, or find a discount code from somewhere - the few pounds you might save can always go into your spending ban piggy bank for a rainy day!
What are your top tips for surviving a spending ban?