Find money for fun

You can buy yourself happiness – you just need to know how to shop!

Taste that cocktail

Right now your dream holiday may seem as likely as a trip to the moon, but that’s because you’ve not committed to the cause yet! Start now – feel the sand between your toes, taste that icy cool cocktail, and pin up a picture of that dreamt-of destination. Now do your sums to find out how much the fantasy costs, and make it a reality. Work out how long you’ll need to save and what you'll have to give up to make it happen. If you spend £5 on takeaway lunch each day, that stacks up to £1,000 over 10 months - plan for a lovely autumn break and start taking tasty sandwiches from home.

Spend on doing, not having

Spending money on doing things you love will put a bigger smile on your face than gathering stuff around you. Fact. So forget splurging in the January sales, book a day doing something you love instead, whether it’s meeting up with friends, learning something new or heading off for a day by the sea. Take a stack of photos to remind yourself how getting out there and having a blast was so much better than shopping.

Treat yourself

…You’re worth it – but not as often as you think! Everyone has become sucked into the ‘instant gratification’ culture, but the power of an indulgent pick-me-up totally fizzles if you flex that particular privilege too frequently. If you can patiently limit those spa days, meals out and lunchtime shopping splurges, you’ll love them even more – and you’ll spend a whole lot less cash to boot. Put a treat date in your phone, so you can watch that day of indulgence getting closer.

Remember what you’re good at

Before boring life got in the way, I bet you were really good at something. Now’s the time to revisit baking, painting, DIY or taking pictures – and to see if you turn it into nice little side hustle through sites like Etsy or TaskRabbit. I’m serious. Not only will you unearth a side of you that somehow got buried, you might even make a few quid at the same time. Double the fun!

Share the love

Fun can come with a seriously small price tag if you borrow it from someone else. Sites like borrowmydoggy let you have a blast with someone else’s four-legged friend for a small registration fee. Travelling is the time when sharing really comes into its own: You can get a cheap bed through Airbnb or Couchsurfing, share a meal with a local through Eatwith, and even set up tent in someone’s backyard thanks to Camp In My Garden. What’s not to smile about?

Journalist Mel Hunter loves saving money, but hates crunching numbers. Proving that even the mathematically-challenged can be clever with cash, she’s been writing for national newspapers and magazines about savvy saving and canny spending for more years than she cares to count (but then she really does hate counting...!)