How to Become a Better Saver with Leeds Building Society

How to become a better saver with Leeds Building Society and Dr Frank Ryan

A few weeks ago I posted that I was asked to take on a spend less, save more challenge with Leeds Building Society. They partnered with ‘Willpower For Dummies’ writer and consultant psychologist, Dr Frank Ryan to provide help and advice for how to become a better saver and I followed the advice over 4 weeks while I attempted to train myself to be a saver, rather than a spender. Now the challenge is over, this is what I learned and how I found it.

What surprised me the most, was how easily I managed to not spend money on clothes, which was the thing I thought I would find the most difficult about this challenge!

Part of this was achieved by avoiding the usual things I would do – open email marketing from my favourite brands, have a browse online in my lunch hour or a quiet 5 minutes between tasks and wandering in to the shop at the bottom of my road.

Become a better saver by understanding how your personality affects your spending choices

However part of this was achieved by thinking about why I needed the clothes. Dr Frank Ryan advises that we understand our personality traits to really understand why we lose willpower when spending money. I know I have a tendency to want to buy new clothes, especially if I’m going away somewhere or doing something special. Having something new boosts my short term confidence to be able to deal with an anxious situation.

Interestingly, though, I actually found it more fun and more of a confidence boost to put together completely new outfits I haven’t worn before, from the clothes I already own, for those occasions. Using my styling skills to create outfits, rather than using my purse to buy items readily available left a more lasting effect on my confidence. I actually only came across one item of clothing in the whole challenge that I still wish I had bought, so if I hit my business targets this month (which I set yesterday!) I am going to buy it as a special treat for working hard.

I set myself the challenge to spend at least 60% less on clothes. I was spending, on average, £75 a month. During the 4 week challenge I spent £29 on clothing items, which is a 61% reduction!! The best part of this, though, is that the money I spent was on practical, comfortable shoes which I did not own until now, instead of another piece of clothing to add to the pile!

Save more money by spending less on takeaways and try to recreate your favourite fast foods at home

Where I struggled the most was with takeaways. Dr Frank Ryan advises that we avoid high risk situations that cause us to spend money. Thinking about when we want to order food in, we’re usually feeling not just tired, but exhausted mentally and physically. We feel like the only solution is for someone to bring food and put it into our hands, haha. I’m sure some of you relate to that. Unfortunately our kitchen situation has not much improved since I started the challenge. We’re constantly stressed and fed up and we currently only have a microwave and grilling machine to cook meals on, which is really tricky if you want to eat fresh, healthy food. I’ve found that ordering a takeaway provides me with a very short term relief from not having to cook or clean up, but as soon as I’ve eaten the takeaway I often feel unhealthy and even more fed up.

We’ve decided to extend our quest to become a better saver by taking on a new challenge once our kitchen is finished, which will be zero takeaways for a whole month. We will put the money we would have spent on ordering takeout to one side and spend it on something special at the end of the month… hopefully! I am still looking forward to trying recipes for our favourite takeaways to cook at home.

Become a better saver by distracting yourself when you’re likely to spend money

I will definitely continue to think about when I am most likely to spend money and I am going to have a list of distractions I can use to take myself out of those situations. Things like a weekly rummage through my own wardrobe to put new outfits together I never would have worn before and getting more into learning new skills when I feel bored, which are a lot more valuable in the long run than spending time looking at things I don’t need online.

What I found the most interesting of all the advice from Dr Frank Ryan is the idea that the more decisions you make in a short space of time, the less sensible the choices you make become. As a small business owner I make hundreds of decisions on a daily basis and by the end of the day I am so exhausted I can’t even think of what we could cook for tea. This is something that I constantly berate myself for because it seems like such a simple decision, so it’s enlightening to find out it’s a common occurrence. I can imagine this being an issue for parents too! I think this is definitely something I need to reassess and see if I can reduce the amount of choices I need to make and make the more important decisions earlier in the day.

This is one of the most interesting projects I have worked on since starting my blog, which has really surprised me. I love digging into the reasons behind our impulses and how our personality traits affect our habits. I really think if you take on the Leeds Building Society challenge, you’ll learn something really valuable about yourself too.

Let me know how you get on!
Loves x xx

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