Monday, April 24, 2017

Small Decisions En Route

A big part of "finding the pennies" is about slowly creating a mindset that makes saving money a habit - something that doesn't require much thought and effort.  It's about thinking about the day ahead, when money will likely be spent, looking for opportunities to save money, and putting a plan into action. 

I'm writing this blog from a lounge on a ferry crossing the Irish Sea on our way home from our 10-day holiday/ visit to my in-laws in Northern Ireland. I simply want to share how we've saved at least £25 on food alone by making a few simple changes to our normal routine for the journey home. 

The drive from my in-laws is about a 2 1/2-hour drive to the port in Dublin. Of course, like any parent, I had the bag of a few snacks and drinks in the car. No biggie. An easy savings of maybe £5 not having to stop at a petrol station for drinks and snacks. No news there. 

Our first change of the day, though, was lunch. We always aim for the service station just over the boarder in Ireland before stopping. Usually we get Burger King. Two adult meals - or at least two burgers plus chips and drinks to share as we usually do - plus two kids meals could easily cost £15, if not more. Yesterday, Jeff and I agreed that we could pack a lunch of sandwiches, crisps, grapes and drinks for our lunchtime stop. Ok, yes, our packed lunch would have cost maybe £4 to make... but thanks to my generous in-laws, we just took what was in the kitchen already. 

Once on the ferry, I went to buy a coffee - with free refills!!! - for £2.70, but the queue for food was too long, I decided the wait wasn't worth it. I guess the novelty of having free refills on coffee was drawing me to the coffee than the coffee itself anyway. 

When it was time for dinner, we could have each had a meal, but I just as I was ordering, I realised I wasn't very hungry. The rest of my family was, and I reflected on a lesson learned a few days ago when we were at a restaurant - my girls rarely eat all of their meals, so I should sometimes just eat their leftovers, instead of ordering my own meal. This decision saved us £7.30 - the cost of the meal I was planning on ordering. I was right, too, my girls only ate half of their meals, so I still had plenty to eat. I admit, I won't do this in every occasion, but today, with ordinary ferry food (nothing special), this was a chance to put a lesson into action. 

Finding the Pennies in your life doesn't have to be huge amounts of money or making huge decisions. It's about taking small steps and making small changes in your life that will "snowball" into a money-saving mindset. 

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