Saving money is a difficult challenge for many people in the modern world. It can seem that that modern economic forces are against the very concept, as buying products is done with a simple swipe and subscription services become evermore tempting. Fortunately, many contemporary problems can be resisted by embracing old school habits.
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Reddit user “AggR09989” asked out loud: “What are some every day lifestyle choices you guys have made that you found made a big difference to your finances?
“I’ve been following the flowchart and am feeling good about the overall shape of my finances in the long run, but I’d like to be building some good habits at the moment as well.
“I’m guessing this will be things like making your own lunch or shopping at a discount supermarket.”
This question received dozens of responses within hours of being posted, revealing that this is a shared priority for many people.
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Many of the responses focused on getting back to budgeting basics. User “zz-zz” responded with a very simple answer: “Pencil and paper mate!”
They went on to detail that they focused on costs which are non-negotiable and then calculated an overall budget for themselves.
As they explained: “My pay isn’t always the same amount but some people’s are, and when mine was it was a little simpler.“So say £600 / month for rent, bills and food shopping. Pay £1,300. that leaves £700.
“And I just use a pencil and paper, write down spends and add it up as I go along. At the end of the month I take that away from £700 and the result is what I should have saved.”
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The humble pen and paper has been a useful tool for this user as he revealed that modern options aren’t worth the hassle: “I use pen and paper because formatting on notes on my phone is a bit tricky, and firing up the laptop just to add one number in is annoying.
“Paper stays on the side in the kitchen and so it’s easy to get to and quick to fill in.”
Sticking with a strict budget was a common theme among the responses, with everyday item swaps also proving to be beneficial.
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User “MinuteNoodles” added to the budgeting ethos by detailing that they save money by “buying stuff only with money I have.”
Incredibly, the same user managed to save nearly £600 a year by making a very unique product switch.
As they explained, downgrading from “premium” products could have huge long term benefits: “Downgrading my 2L a day of Pepsi Max habit to Lidl Freeway 2XL saving me £1.61 a day or £587 a year.”
Simple tools like pens, paper and notebooks can help with budgeting (Image: GETTY)
While this is a very niche circumstance it shows that looking at food shopping lists is a worthwhile endeavour.
Reddit user “larks” provided a more generalised example of how these actions could benefit people who make simple changes to chopping habits.
Some examples that worked for them include: “Making use of cashback offers for online shopping though AMEX, Santander etc (~£50 pcm).
“Taking in lunch to work (Saving me ~£80-100 pcm).”