How to save the pennies

How to..., Money

A blog post discussing ways in which I have been saving my money for years. I’ve never had a full time job as I’ve always been a full-time student, so if you’re short of a bob or two or just want a bit more change in your pocket, be sure to read on…

“Take care of the pennies and the pounds can look after themselves”, is something which my lovely Mother has drilled into me since I understood what ‘saving’ meant. She’s lived, longed and suffered through financial difficulty for the vast majority of her youth – having me didn’t exactly help – single mum, no aid from her parents and the nearest relative being a 3-hour coach journey from where we lived… But hay-ho, she got through it and I couldn’t be more grateful. The situation and my Mum herself, has taught me a lot of how to manage and save the change rattling in my back pocket. So, here are my tricks of how to turn that shrapnel into a mound of something so much more. 


It seems like the obvious way to get an extra bob or two, but being smart with how you use such platforms is crucial. I’ve found over the years that Depop and eBay are the most efficient and effortless ways to list items which you no longer need. This brings me onto…

RULE 1: If you haven’t used it in the past 6 months, get rid. —  A little bird on my shoulder used to always chirp up and try to persuade me that [said item] could one day come into good use, but realistically, how important is it if it doesn’t get used regularly? 

RULE 2: Include the price of postage in the price of the item. — We all love a bargain, am I right? But, how much better is that bargain when we don’t have to pay for postage? If you want a tenner out of a top you no longer wear, list it for £12/13 with free delivery, and it will attract so many more people. 

RULE 3: Take clear, good quality photos.— Your view count for your listings will be cut down to a minimum if your photos are nothing more than mediocre. Don’t include anything within the images which you don’t want to sell, and make sure your backgrounds aren’t messy. Personally, I take photos of my items on the back of my bathroom door – it’s white with good lighting; the perfect combination of how to attract buyer’s eyes. 

RULE 4: Depop vs. eBay? — Through my own experience of using both platforms, I’ve learned that both attract a different target audience; Depop being more successful for selling items which are targeted for those under the age of 30, and eBay being over. An example of items I sold recently are Urban Outfitters hoop earrings – popped ‘em on Depop, whereas an unwanted Christmas gift of a brown leather M&S handbag went onto eBay. It’s all about being savvy and smart. 


Whether it’s a couple of bits for the fridge or a new pair of shoes, writing down everything you buy will help you to monitor your spending habits. This, therefore, will enable you to realise where it is you need to improve upon your saving, and how to make your budgets stretch. 

A recent discovery of mine was the sheer amount of coffee I bought outside the house. Even though it was only about 4 times a week, at £3 a pop just for an Americano, that’s at least £48 a month on bloody coffee! 

Or if you don’t want to write everything down, get MONZO–  It does it for you. This banking app gives you a little notification on your phone every time something is purchased with your MONZO card, and draws all your spending habits into graphs and tables to show you with clarity where it is your money is going. 


This trick is directed at those who only have access to washing machines/driers which cost a bomb to use. E.G. – Any students living in halls!

I’m currently in my first year of Uni, and for me, to clean one bundle of clothes in the washing machines and the driers that my halls provide is knocking on a fiver a pop. No thank you. 

Instead, I wash my everyday clothes in the sink with washing detergent. For items like undies, tops and the odd jumper here and there, this trick has saved me so much money. Obviously, stuff like bedding, towels, coats, etc. can’t be simply washed in a sink, but I save those bits for when I go home. 


Coming to university I was welcomed to a room in my halls which I saw as bleak and boring. Decorating it, therefore, was a task I saw as high on my list of priorities. But then again, the realisation that I was now living on a student budget was somewhat difficult to wrap my head around – but I had to make do. A simple flick through Pinterest saved me!

1 – Used tins are perfect pen holders & look funky when you’ve got a few going at once. 

2 – Homemade dream catchers – having a few of these adds a touch of personalisation to any bedroom. 

3 – A mood board – to pin up ideas, cut-outs from magazines, articles which inspired me, again, adds a personal touch. It fills the walls without an expensive price tag. 

4 – Books, books and more books! I’m an English student, so pages of non-fiction, poetry, and prose is something which I come across daily. Just merely stacking these in a way to fill the shelves makes empty space look filled and warm. 


Granted, having an understanding and passion for cooking is important for getting into the habit of doing this. The other day all I had in my fridge was an onion, and the freezer was peas. With these two things, along with cupboard essentials of rice and stock cubes, I cooked up a decent risotto. It filled me up for a couple meals and allowed my bank balance to stay the same. Even if the scraps which are left over from the weekly shop aren’t massively exciting, getting rid of them will make your money stretch. 

6 thoughts on “How to save the pennies

  1. Love these ideas. Simple, accessible, but easy to forget – so it’s nice to have posts like this to remind me to keep those pennies in check!
    And I know what you mean about the coffees adding up – that’s a habit I have got to break myself.

    Sammy | Self-Care Sloth


  2. I agree with writing everything down because at the end of the day small things add up. And I am guilty of the coffee plague too lol


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