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Bettie Goes Solo: 10 Ways To Save Money When Your Business Needs It More Than You Do

So, you’ve gone and started your own business and a few months into your solo adventure, it’s looking like your savings are taking a bit of a battering. As every small business owner discovers, it’s all about cash flow. You might be selling more product than you’ve ever sold, but you’re not getting paid for it upfront and will need to wait a minimum of 30 days before chasing it.  

When you’re at a point where you need to make the choice to put more money into your business or pay yourself, any small business owner worth their salt will always put the business first.

The daunting reality?

You’re not going to take home as much each month as when you were working for the man. But, in all honesty, you’re not going to need it.

Rather than going into a rant about the importance of accounting (yawn), one of the easiest ways you can pinch the pennies is to have a look at your current lifestyle and start doing things differently. When you’re working full-time, it’s amazing how much money you can waste trying to make yourself feel better for being in a job that you hate. Once you bite the bullet and start up on your own, there are no more excuses for clearing the shelves during an ASOS sale.

There are so many ways to make your money stretch further without resorting to pot noodles as a main meal. Here are my top 10.

 

 

These days, budget supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi are the savvy shoppers best friend.

1. It’s cool to shop at Lidl

Gone are the days when you can peruse the aisles of Waitrose and add a handful of products to your basket that will see half your wage gone once you’re at the checkout. These days, budget supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi are the savvy shoppers best friend. While their stores may not have the same freshly baked bread smell wafting through the air, your wallet will thank you for switching it up. 

If you’ve not been to one of these supermarkets before, be prepared. The first time I visited Lidl, I remember feeling quite overwhelmed with the amount of people elbowing each other out of the way to get to the cut-price bananas. After one or two visits, you’ll know how to get your game face on before going. Have a list, don’t deviate and make sure you know how to pack grocery bags VERY quickly. 

If you’re still not convinced, you can use tools like MySupermaket that will show you exactly how much money you can save, compared to the big supermarket brands. 
 

 

At Costco you can also pretty much feed your entire family for a week from the number of samples on offer when you’re at one of their warehouses. 

2. 144 toilet rolls anyone?

While our friends over the pond have been onto this winner for years, buying from places like Costco can really save you a bunch, even if it’s going to be a bit of an initial investment. You can also pretty much feed your entire family for a week from the number of samples on offer when you’re at one of their warehouses. 

There’s also a fair few online stores that offer significant value for money when buying in bulk. One that I use all the time is Muscle Food to buy all the red meat and poultry anyone could ever need.

The best thing about this site, is the quality of produce is absolutely top notch. You won’t be left wondering what all that white liquid is seeping out of your chicken. The first time I cooked some of their chicken breast, I couldn’t believe how much it actually tasted of chicken. Clearly years of buying plumped up supermarket chicken had left my oven cooked pesto chicken a little lacking in the flavour department. 
 

 

There are so many websites out there that can help you get the best deals that the internet has to offer.

3. Read the entire internet

There are so many websites out there that can help you get the best deals that the internet has to offer. From super steals to website glitches, there’s opportunity to save some serious money if you’re fast enough. Here are some essentials that are worth being in your inbox or on your Facebook feed:

  • Money Saving Tips from Money Supermarket.
  • Hot UK Deals: who also offer a WhatsApp group for those serious about being alerted to every deal that’s ever been found on the whole internet. 
  • Mob Kitchen: seriously good recipes that promise to feed four for under a tenner. Definitely worth following their Instagram account.
  • Latest Deals: is good for if you have a little browsing time on your hands, or if you don’t they have a great newsletter you can sign up to. 

 

4. FREE MONEY is a real thing

Now, apparently there’s no such thing as free money, but I beg to differ.

I’ve been a dedicated fan of cashback sites for years, and have reaped the benefits. There are two main players in the UK: Top Cashback and Quidco.

At the heart of these sites is a thing called affiliate marketing – where brands pay them to refer you to shop on their website. So, for example, you might need to switch your energy supplier and these sites will offer you various percentages of your final purchase as cashback. All you need to do is go to the retailer’s website through the cashback site and BAM… free money. 

Over the last few years, I’ve earnt over £1,500 from these sites, which might say more about my online shopping habits than my ability to save money. But let’s not go there…  

 

Starting a business and getting a little bit older has made me realise how nice it is to have people over for dinner, rather than go out. 

5. Winner winner, chicken dinner

One of the biggest drains on your bank account is definitely going to be social outings. A quick dinner with friends here, an unexpected evening at the pub there and suddenly you’re in the daunting territory of your overdraft. Starting a business and getting a little bit older has made me realise how nice it is to have people over for dinner, rather than go out. 

If you use some of the above points to do your shopping and source your recipes, you can have people over for good food, good conversation and too many glasses of wine for a fraction of the price it would cost you on your local high street. Plus, you won’t need to shell out for the Uber home once that Pinot Noir kicks in.  

You won’t be watching the clock or have to make an excuse to leave because you can’t afford that next round of drinks. You’ll be able to relax and hopefully have one of those nights where Cards Against Humanity makes an appearance. 

For just a little more food prep and some clever meal planning, you can make sure that both you and your other half have lunch sorted every day.

6. BYOL – Bring your own lunch

When I was working in the city, I was a sucker for a Tesco Meal Deal. I call them Fridge Sandwiches, because regardless of whether you’ve chosen egg and cress or ham and cheese, all you’ll ever taste is fridge. And while they might seem like a cheap way to fill your belly at lunch time, there’s zero nutrition in it and you’re talking about £60 minimum every month to leave the taste of fridge in your mouth. 

For just a little more food prep and some clever meal planning, you can make sure that both you and your other half have lunch sorted every day. It’ll save you a bunch of money and also make sure that you’re eating well for lunch. Sometimes you’ll end up with a bit of a random collection of the contents of the pantry, but hey, what is life without a little adventure? 

If you don’t fancy rice mixed with fajita seasoning when you’re emptying the cupboards, there’s a fantastic Australian site Taste.com.au that has some really lovely, budget-friendly recipes to fill your Tupperware with.

 

Rather than running to the closest department store to spend a load of money on a thoughtless present, have a think about what you could make someone as a gift.

7.  Get crafty

Since I was little I’ve always loved to make things. Whether it was a super stylish tissue box holder made out of some recycled food boxes, or a creepy birthday card made from magazine clippings, I loved a bit of craft. To apply that to adult life seems a bit tenuous, but stick with me here. 

People love a handmade gift. So rather than running to the closest department store to spend a load of money on a thoughtless present, have a think about what you could make someone as a gift. The time you spend making something can often be worth way more than what you’ve actually spent on someone. 

Not to sound like a total housewife, but leveraging those 2018 Great British Bake Off aspirations or learning to knit, sew or to do paper craft can be a great way to save money. Also, there’s nothing better than seeing someone enjoy something you’ve made just for them. 

So rather than take a bottle of wine to someone’s house, bake some biscuits and put them in a nice glass jar that they can keep. Or rather than Top Shop vouchers for a birthday, make a book of all your favourite memories with the birthday girl or boy. Might sound a little cheesy, but trust me, it’ll mean more than just slinging a non-descript candle their way to let them know you’re ‘thinking’ about them. 

The source of all knowledge Buzzfeed have a great section called Nifty that often has really easy to follow videos to help you get your craft on.

 

There’s no time like the present to have a good old clear out.

8. Don’t be the hoarder next door

There’s no time like the present to have a good old clear out. And with one man’s trash being another’s treasure and all that, you’ll find that you can make some coin at the same time.

While eBay is the obvious choice to sell your unwanted items, there are a number of apps that you can use that don’t have any fees for listing items, which means more money in your pocket.

Schpock, Gumtree, and even Facebook Marketplace let you advertise to people based on where you live. Which means if you’re trying to shift that IKEA wardrobe that you had to have 12 months ago, you’re not having to deal with postage costs. It might take you a little longer than selling on auction sites, but your persistence will pay off.

 

For every type of business, there are ways that you can find passive income to support what you’re doing day to day.

9. Find passive income

For every type of business, there are ways that you can find passive income to support what you’re doing day to day. Initially, it’ll take a bit of time to find what works for you and to set everything up. But, having passive income sources can really help you to keep your accounts looking healthy. 

For creatives, the options are many. Creating digital designs and selling them on marketplaces like Etsy or Creative Market means designing once and selling infinite times. All for the initial work of creating the files. Sites like Tee Spring and Red Bubble let you upload your artwork and they create, fulfil and dispatch your order directly to the customers. You just sit back and wait for the Royalties to roll in. 

For those outside of the creative industry, offering services through sites like People Per Hour or Upwork means you can pitch for work that can be done in your spare time. If time is what you’re lacking, picking up a few jobs on Fiverr can still offer you a way to make money without a huge investment of time. 

 

One of the hardest things about being a little strapped for cash is having to say no when you’re invited out somewhere.

10. Learn to say no

One of the hardest things about being a little strapped for cash is having to say no when you’re invited out somewhere. For a few months at least, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that festivals, concerts and lavish dinners might not (pardon the pun) be on the menu for a while. 

And while that might mean that you don’t get to see friends and family as often as you’d like, you’ll find that the ones that really want to see you will pop around for a cuppa or meet you in the local park for a walk, which won’t cost you a penny. 

If you really want to be successful you’ll take these missed opportunities for socialising and turn them into an opportunity to spend more time working on your business. While your friends are throwing away their money on overpriced artisan G&Ts, you can be working on securing your next income stream, or sourcing cheaper alternatives for business supplies. It might all sound a little like a total snoozefest, but the effort you put in now, will pay off big time in the future.  

 

Andy is the owner of Bettie Confetti, a snarky greeting cards line available at Not On The High Street, Etsy and select independent retailers in the UK. 

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