Saving money can be tough, though it does help when you’re saving for something you really want. The motivation to save the money can sometimes be enough to resist buying something you know you don’t really need. However, it’s easy to accidentally spend money you are meant to be saving, after all we are human and want to have fun and unfortunately some fun things cost money. I’ve always been a saver though so I thought I would share some tips to help you save up for that adventure you’re dreaming of.
Have a savings goal. Know how much you want to save so you have a goal to work towards. If you don’t have a target to aim for it’s easy to convince yourself you’re doing well when in actual fact you haven’t saved nearly as much as you need.
Calculate how much money you should be spending. If you know how much money you should need from one pay day to the next and then transfer the remainder into a separate savings account you are less likely to overspend. Be reasonable in how much you allow yourself and make sure you include any and all costs and include an “allowance” for entertainment and socialising. This may sound anal but I do this every month as then when I check my bank account I know that’s how much I have until my next payday so I try to keep within that allowance I have set myself.
Don’t have an overdraft if you’ll take advantage of it. An overdraft is not your money and is only a back up option for emergencies. Whilst I have an overdraft I have never touched it. If you know you’re the kind of person who will spend it if it’s there simply make sure to remove the option from your bank account. Besides if you have been saving well you can use part of your savings as your overdraft without incurring interest costs. (But make sure to pay yourself back!)
Indulge in small luxuries. Treat yourself to something every now and again to prevent you reaching breaking point and going on a huge splurge. For example, buying a special dessert when you do your grocery shop. It only costs a few pounds as opposed to a meal out which could cost £20. By indulging in a small luxury every now it prevents you getting bored and grumpy which isn’t nice for anyone and you get to save money whilst still having a treat when you deserve it.
Do something free with friends. Spending time with friends doesn’t have to cost money. Do something free instead. It helps when your friends are also trying to not spend money either. Instead of going out, have an afternoon in and watch a film and do your nails, or go for a picnic or look for local free events.
Pack your own food. Pack lunch or a snack if you know, or even think, you might need it. It’s much cheaper then buying it out. Also tap water is a perfectly good drink and totally free. Again don’t feel like you have to buy the cheapest bread and a cheap filling with a small piece of disappointing fruit. I make an effort to ensure the lunch I make myself includes things I really like so I’m not tempted to buy something extra whilst at work or out and about.
Get a job. The science behind this is that if you have nothing to do 7 days a week you have more hours in which you need to find some sort of entertainment where as if you have a job, even if it’s just part time, that’s a couple of days during which you won’t be spending money plus you’re earning on top! Furthermore, by not having to entertain yourself everyday you will be able to spend more of that time dedicated to free entertainment only. Science.
Use birthdays and Christmas to get things that you need. If possible ask for money, but some people don’t like giving cash so make a list of items you might need for your next trip so people can buy you those and you can save the money you would have otherwise used to get them yourself.
Go for quality not quantity when buying presents. You don’t need to blow the bank when buying gifts. Instead go for something sentimental or that you put effort into, it will still be appreciated (sometimes more so) and you can protect the bank account from a big dent.
Get more for your buck. Pay attention to price per kg when buying groceries to ensure you are getting the best deal. It’s a habit my dad got me into and now I always check as sometimes it’s going to pay to get a bigger pack as you will save money in the long run.
Don’t buy name brands. You can get the same product in different packaging for much cheaper. Sometimes there’s a difference and if you can’t stand the cheap stuff then don’t but 99% of the time you won’t be able to identify any difference in taste.
Know how you spend money. Some people prefer to use only cash as they tend to spend more if paying on card because you’re not physically handing over money and can therefore detach from the idea you are actually spending it. Other may be more likely to spend if they have the cash on hand. Identify your spending habits and take measures to control it.
Take time to find the right bank account. By putting your money in the right savings account for you, you can gain a good amount of interest to add to your savings. If you have a little money you won’t need for at least a year or two you can put it into a fixed saver for a better interest rate and you will have no access to that money for its term meaning you can’t dip into it.