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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.