We are now past the last bank holiday of the summer. I think it's safe to say that all of our wallets are looking a bit tumbleweedy right now. Bonus points if crickets chirp when you open it.
If we all lived like we do in the week before pay day, we'd probably be a lot better off financially. The way in which we cut out all unnecessary spending, only buying what is absolutely needed, is a simple solution to a lot of our financial woes. But depriving yourself of spending all month long can get to be a little much - we do work to enjoy our moolah, after all.
That's why a seven day spending detox is a great way to curb your spending without it being overwhelming. One week with minimal purchases isn't too daunting, but it can make a big difference, and even if you're not too hard up, you can put the saved pennies towards a treat rather than, you know, food.
As a correspondent with the Sunday Business Post, Colette Sexton was the first person to ask for tips on saving the cents for a week, and she had plenty. The key is to keep it simple and practical - don't feel the need to make a big Excel spreadsheet of your spending that you almost definitely won't keep to. Try to incorporate a few small changes and watch the piggy bank get bigger.
Unsubscribe from the sales
Colette's first suggestion is to step away from the newsletters; "I had two from ASOS in my inbox just this morning, and it was pretty hard to resist!". During sale season, our inboxes are inundated with offers of cheap clothes, beauty products and gadgets and it's very easy to succumb to the temptation. Resist the call and click 'unsubscribe'. Your newly-clean inbox will thank you, as will your purse.
Make your own lunches
A sandwich and a coffee five times a week builds up to quite a lot of money, especially when it's such an unnecessary expense. Your fridge is probably full of leftovers from dinners throughout the week, and if not, you still have the ingredients to make something quick. Colette suggests prepping lunches for the entire week to save time.
Leave your card at home
Obviously don't be silly about this one - have enough cash for emergencies. But according to Colette, leaving your card at home is a great way to ensure you stick to your spending ban - no card means no impulse buys.
Get off a stop earlier
Getting off a stop or two earlier could save you a few cents on your commute, depending on the zones you're in. Plus, as Colette says, it's not too shabby for your health either. If you want to go a step further, bypass the public transport altogether and cycle or walk to work. Your Leap card balance will be looking healthier in no time.
Do a PJ's night
One of the biggest vices of the cash-strapped among us is after-work drinks or a night out on the weekend. Peer pressure can be strong, but persuading the crew to have a different sort of night (i.e a night in with a takeaway) can be just as good craic as a night in the local.
We're not talking about the likes of 'Extreme Couponing' here (although those people are my idols), but snapping up deals on the likes of Groupon or going somewhere that does mid-week deals or early bird menus are one of Colette's biggest tips.
Shower at work or gym
"This might be one for the extreme savers!" said Colette. If you're really concerned about the bills this week, grab a shower at the gym or in your washroom at work in the mornings instead of at home.