Hello everyone! Now today I’m going to share some big series about the UK Money Bloggers. Based on what we write, it’s sometimes easy to image us living on our efficiently produced gruel everyday, shuffling around in darkness to save on our energy bills…..you get the picture! But *gasp” just occasionally we…..wait for it…..spend some money!
I’m joking of course – the frugal miser image isn’t an accurate picture at all. Unless you’re in a debt situation, our messaging tends to be more about challenging and thinking about if what we buy is really worth it to us than ruthless spend minimisation.
So I thought it would be interesting to ask the UK Money Bloggers community what they actually do spend on…..
I put in some restrictions – our default answer on these things tends to be investment, or property or long term financial planning or some variant thereof – that goes without saying so it was banned.
Some have gone for fun things, some things they buy to keep themselves sane and some have gone for personal development! It’s a great mix that offers a bit more insight into all of us. It also with Christmas and Black Friday coming up may offer some shopping inspiration for you.
I was a little taken aback by the response to this so it’s a little bit of an epic….enjoy!
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What the UK Money Bloggers spend on:
I love my bread maker
Something I’ve had out recently a lot has been my bread maker. I absolutely love it – it’s so easy to make up some really high quality bread, pizza or rolls. You throw in a few ingredients (I usually do this last thing at night) and a few hours later it’s ready and freshly baked for you. It’s really easy to make different types of bread like brioche or incorporate seeds – it’s just a minor adjustment to the recipe.
The other benefit? The smell. It’s absolutely glorious, and with generally setting mine up to bake overnight you wake up to it – and know breakfast is sitting there waiting for you!
This one is mainly about quality rather than moneysaving, but if you do it long term, you’re making really fantastic bread very cheaply and will save money. The only negative is the bulk – this is not the smallest of kitchen gadgets if your space is limited.
I use an older version of the Panasonic SD-2511WXC which I’d recommend.
Mark at Not Taught at School loves his subscription to Audible
Mark and myself share something in common that we absolutely love a good book, but in Mark’s case he has a busy family life around him, making getting reading time difficult.
For those not familar with Audible it’s Amazon’s audiobook service, allowing you to listen to books and music on the go on your headphones or around the house through an Alexa or equivalent.
Mark loves the flexibility – the fact he can still get his reading fix in whilst making tea and ironing or cooking is “a little time for me.”
Katie at The Twenty Percent loves running gear
Katie’s big passion is running – not just for the sport itself but as much for the physical and mental health gains she gets out of it, so she sees this as offering value for money as an investment in herself!
She cites decent trainers and a GPS watch as being good examples of things that help her out (I can definitely affirm the trainers point – I’m more of a hiker than a runner and it really does make all the difference! For hiking I tend to use Mountain Warehouse but this isn’t the best option for running.)
Ellie at This Girl Talks Money loves her gym membership
Continuing a theme here, Ellie sees her gym membership as a non-negotiable for the fitness benefits and pleasure she gets from it.
I can really testify to the benefits of the gym once you get started – it really is amazing how much better and mentally sharper you feel with some exercise. Getting started is the challenge.
Kaya at Earning by the Sea loves prioritising fresh food
Those who know me in real life with be aware that I’m a passionate foodie, so I couldn’t agree more with Kaya who makes compromises it other areas to buy the best quality food, and plenty of fresh fruit and veg.
For the record, quality food and expensive food do not necessarily go hand in hand! You can find that buying something locally grown or fresh from the butcher can be much cheaper than you think. Where you really do notice the difference is in flavour.
It’s interesting reading interviews with top chefs – a lot of the time what they actually cook with in their restaurants are what’s traditionally considered cheaper cuts, but they’re absolutely laser-focused on making sure it comes from a supplier they know the quality of, and the results are delicious.
Steph at Funding Her Freedom loves to invest in quality packing and suitcases
A keen traveller who gets around a lot, Steph has found truth to the matra with suitcases that when you “buy cheap you buy twice”.
It’s very true – I’ve found that for that extra bit of bang for your buck in this space it’s worth getting one that exactly matches common cabin dimensions. Paying a little more for lightness can pay off longer term before your bag hits those overweight scales, and you can hear certain budget airline owners rubbing their hands together and cackling with glee…
Sharlene at The Mum’s Guide to Money loves Amazon Prime
As a busy family, Sharlene loves Amazon Prime and it’s unmatched delivery times for convenience. It’s helped her find everything from toys fast to dummies delivered fast!
Plus with Prime you get an increasing array of services on top of the fast delivery – I’ve been recently enjoying a wide range of films and music through the TV service you also get with the app.
Or at Cordbusters loves Headspace
If there’s one thing that 2020 hasn’t been it’s “calm”, and Or credits the Headspace app with helping to provide him with some moments of tranquillity throughout the day.
With Headspace you run through a guided 10 minute (or longer if you choose) session where you do a guided mediation. The focus is very much on the practical rather than the spiritual side of meditation, and the effects can be magnificent. After the introductory courses you can choose to focus on a variety of topics like managing anxiety or focusing at work.
Emma at BeeMoneySavvy loves a good mattress
Oh man, I really love sleep. As Emma rightly points out, sleeping also consumes a third of your life, so you better make sure you’re doing it well.
Sleep as a thing is fascinating – for all the advances in medicine we still don’t know precisely why we do it, but can clearly see it has major beneficial effects for us, keeping us mentally alert and productive. When you’re not comfortable in bed it’s tough to sleep well, and a mattress built for you can really help this.
When I moved into my place it was one thing I did splurge on and I can attest to the benefits – what this can’t solve is the issue that you then have to get out of bed in the morning…
Sejuty at The Subtle Investor loves travelling and photography
So this site isn’t just called The Financial Wilderness because of lofty conceptual ideas about being a survival guide, oh no. It’s also because we have a love affair with the real Wilderness, and it’s something Sejuty shares on her own travels.
There’s just something absolutely magnificent and good for the soul about discovering new places in the world. The chance to properly immense yourself in another culture, explore around and (in my opinion best of all) try new foods is unmatched to me.
If like me you’re itching to get away as well, you can read our very in-depth guide to how we book a great holiday cheaply here.
Sejuty also likes to take her camera with her to capture her adventures as well. Also something I’d recommend – phones are absolutely magnificent for their convenience (after all, the best camera is one you have with you) but they don’t match the sharpness and clarity you get with a proper camera.
Personally I use and would recommend a Panasonic FZ82 – a bridge camera which features a lot of the quality but not quite the bulkiness of a DSLR camera (which if you’re serious, is where the really high quality comes out!)
Leslie from Thrifty Leslie loves books (of any kind!)
Leslie is so obsessed with books that she has to employ a strict one in and one out policy to make sure there’s room for everything else! Her favourites are cook books, popular science, comtempory fiction and Sci-Fi.
I’ve found I’ve been forced to switch to an Kindle e-reader for the same book-amassing reasons – I’d much prefer to have a proper physical book as they’re just so much nicer, but space does not come easily….
Michelle from Time and Pence loves day trips and holidays (or anything that brings the family together)
For Michelle the equation is very simple – if it’s time you’re spending with the family that will bring a smile to your face and there’s it’s never wasted money. When gifting at Christmas, Michelle focuses on buying experiences so the focus is on having something to enjoy later, which I think is a lovely sentiment!
Jo from Young, Fun and Thrifty loves giving to charity
For Jo it’s the giving to others (either through time or money) that’s the reward in itself – not just for the happy, positive buzz that if gives you but also for leaving the world in a slightly better place than you left it!
It’s a really excellent sentiment and one we fully back here – in fact we recently wrote a post about why we think you should especially give to charity at the moment and has suggestions on some of the ways you can contribute.
I love my slow cooker/pressure cooker combination.
Another cooking gadget one from me – I’ve recently acquired a combination slow cooker and pressure cooker. It’s absolutely fantastic – I throw the food in early in the day and have it bubbling away cooking nicely up for me. Especially for wintery foods like soups, stews and curries it makes things very simple and the taste is excellent.
Pressure cooking does a similar thing, but generally much quicker – I’ve made up Chile Con Carne considerably quicker when using the Pressure Cooker than cooking conventionally.
Claire at Stapos Thrifty Life Hacks loves Christmas experiences
Being the most magical time of the year, Claire likes to splurge on the Christmas memory making activities with her family – visiting Santa, taking the Santa train and doing some Christmas light trails (I can recommend these, the one at Kew I went to was excellent).
Again we come back to the prioritisation point made earlier – most of the other activities Claire does with her family during the year are focused on free activities, so she’s happy to splurge at this time.
Emma at Mrs Pinch loves a daily coffee
A fellow caffeine addict and a regular work-from-homer, Emma acknowledges that you can save from not buying from the coffee shop but finds it’s a great excuse to have a break, head out for a walk and enjoy the atmosphere at the coffee shop – a quick change of scenery can be so good for mental health.
Melissa at Skinny Spending loves her wellies
Melissa lives on a farm, so she definitely gets the use of of her wellies. You can obviously get a cheap pair if you’re only an occasional country dweller but a good quality pair that lasts pays dividends when it comes to heavy duty use (Melissa’s £7 pair fell apart within a year!)
Yasmin at The Wallet Moth loves investing in her hobbies
Yet again, we come back to the “prioritise what’s important to you message”. Yasmin keeps her life frugal but carves out money spending on her hobbies (such as equipment for a rock climbing adventure.)
To her it’s an investment because it’s providing that happiness for something she’s doing for the long term.
The long term element is a good mantra here – if you’re starting a hobby do make sure you enjoy it before you buy all the equipment! There’s a reason that there’s a motto of “all the gear and no idea” and I suggest not being that person….
Emilie at Millenial Saves loves weekends away
Coming from a small town, Emilie loves the odd weekend away for the joy of exploring somewhere new, exploring new restaurants and finding new things!
Did you know that the mind actually starts responding better to being exposed to new things and areas? It forces the brain to be stimulated as it’s taking in new information, rather than going into autopilot when it gets used to your “normal routes”.
Don’t forget you can check out our ultimate guide to booking a cheap holiday here!
Colette from Cashback Collette loves Spotify Premium
Colette loves having her headphones in when she’s out and about when listening to music! You can of course use Spotify for free but it contains (sometimes fairly frequent) adverts which can break your flow, especially when doing something you want to concentrate on!
The premium version is an easy way to get rid of this annoyance! You can also download music to play without an internet connection as well.
Bear from Save Like a Bear loves concerts/live experiences
Bear has had a real change of heart on how she feels about spending on experiences. Previously, she didn’t see the benefits on spending up to £70 a ticket (or more!) on live experiences but the sheer atmosphere of experiencing something with so many other period brought a real sense of belonging with everyone and in her words was “epic”.
Obviously this has been difficult this year as well, so Bear is looking forward to getting back to it when concerts start up again!
Victoria from Lylia Rose loves organic food
Continuing a food theme mentioned above, Victoria feels it’s worth paying the premium for organic food, and that it’s an investment in both our health and the planet if you can afford to!
Bronni from Bronni loves good quality pillows/towels/bedding
We all spend a disproportionate amount of time in bed (and long may that continue, especially on a cosy Saturday morning) so be better make it comfortable!
Bronni notes she doesn’t spend a fortune but quality is important here – why lie on a scratchy hard pillow every night?
Emma from The Money Whisperer loves learning new things
Emma is a lifelong learner so keeps investing in her ongoing education, picking up things and widening her mind. Always a great initiative – there’s a real sense of accomplishment in learning a new skill, and it can be often something practical as well.
There’s a real raft of companies online offering interesting opportunities – Masterclass offers courses by various celebrities who are experts in their field (I.E learn cooking with Gordon Ramsay, music with Alicia Keys etc). If you prefer something less star-studded, the Shaw Academy also offer classes on a range of topics including with certification.
And don’t forget about your local Adult Education centre too – the costs are often very reasonable and they have some really practical classes.
William from Great Deals Made Easy loves exercise
The gym was mentioned above as well, but that’s not the only form of exercise you can invest in – Will loves trying out Military Fitness camps, zoom online workout and 5 a side football – but there are many weird and wonderful things out there to try and keep you healthy!
Tolu from Value Speaks loves a good quality household appliance
Especially this year, keeping your home clean is important! Household appliances are usually something that can be a little overlooked in the house – because it’s seen as an essential annoyance the cheaper end gets looked at first.
This can be false economy though – it’s worth looking at some of the quite scary amount of research out there on what are the most effective products as a higher quality model can help you do the job much more easily, and often last longer as well.
Tolu has had many years of service out of her Dyson Vacuum cleaner and recommend it! I have similar good things to say about the GTech AirRam which is now 7 years of effectively cleaning and still going strong for me.
In other gadgets, Tolu has also given a shout out to her Kenwood Multi-Speed food processor.
Phew, that’s it!
That’s a lot of suggestions out there – the response to this post was far greater than I was expecting, for sure!
Let us know what you own spends have been in the comments below and what you think of them – we’d love to hear from you!