Here at Esc we know that one of the biggest barriers to people escaping the city is money. No one knows this more than me. As I wrote in my first blog post, I have a certain amount of money I need to ensure I can escape, until I reach that target I’m stuck. The quicker I get there the quicker I can ‘Esc’. So that’s why I set myself a challenge – how sustainably cheaply can you live? My target was £10 a day. That’s all money for food, transport, going out, clothes, toiletries etc (basically anything apart from rent and bills). This is how I’m doing it:
1) Avoid public transport!
Walk or Cycle – it’s free and great exercise. If not every day aim for 3 days a week
2) Try and avoid taking cash out!
Sounds obvious, but before I started this challenge I used to go to the cash point more often than the loo. However if you make your own lunch you can avoid going to the cash point all together and saves the temptation of buying things you just don’t need
3) Make your own lunch
Leftovers from the night before, cheap sandwich fillings (tuna 1 can 2 lunches, egg and cheese are all low cost). Avoid meats where you can as you can end up spending more than buying them in the first place. Give yourself 1 day off a week – something to look forward to
4) Supermarket Discounts
Ever seen a load of reduced stuff in the super markets – smoked salmon 15p? fresh Honduras prawns 20p? BUY THE LOT AND STICK THEM IN THE FREEZER!
5) Save up for nights out
This is has been the toughest part of the challenge. However by taking steps 1-4 I’ve found it is possible to live on much less than £10 a day leaving you room to spare and go crazy on a couple of pints later on the week. You’ll be amazed at how sweet they taste! Alternatively you could go back to the student days of a bottle of wine at a dinner party then out.
I must admit its not easy and sustaining it is really tough, but I have found the whole experience strangely satisfying. Going from a bloke who never saved, never looked at his bank balance to the opposite is tough. But when my motivation is low I just remember that it will all be worth it when I finally to escape the city. 9 weeks to go!