Happy Sunday! Hope you have all had a good day. So, today’s post is one I am very excited to share and I have had this post written for quite some time. I’m going to share my top 6 tips on how to save money. Just a pre-warning, it’s a quite a long post, so grab a cuppa, relax and read on.
The reason I decided to do this post is because it’s a subject I feel quite strongly about. I work hard in my day to day job and saving is very important to me, I certainly value my ability to save effectively. I started saving at the age of 16 when I worked in McDonalds and purposely saved up enough money so that I didn’t have to work in my first year of university, I just wanted to enjoy myself as many 18 year old’s do. Then, throughout my time at university I saved as much as I could, putting chunks of my student loan in savings whilst living off barmaid wages. In my third year of university, I got a paid placement where I ensured that I saved as much money as I could whilst I was earning my first ever salary.
Now, at the age of 24, working a full time job, even though I am still at the start of my career, I feel I am in a strong enough position to share the best ways that I keep on top of saving. Before I start, you have to remember that saving is not only a physical activity; it’s a mental one too! You need to start thinking logically, realistically and be able to maintain determination.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
1. Set a Goal
Whether your aim is to save a specific amount of money, save up to purchase a wanted item, place a deposit on a house or maybe just to save for the sake of having money, you have to start with a goal. My main motivation for saving, personally, is safety. I save because I want the reassurance that I have enough money in life (kind of like a backup). Additionally, I am looking to get onto the property market in the next few years. Therefore, my goal is to have enough money to do this and more. Setting a goal is a good way to remind yourself why you really started saving and to motivate you to put that money in your savings account. A goal gives saving a purpose; when you go to purchase unnecessary items, remind yourself of that goal!
2. Organise your Income
Not sure where your money is going each month? It is vital that in order to manage your finances you need to break down your salary into realistic sections each month. Firstly, work out how much money your outgoings total to each month and deduct this from your monthly salary. The money you’re left with is your disposable income. It’s up to you what you do with this, but before you spend it all I suggest you transfer a percentage into your savings account! How much you transfer each month is your choice, but my tip for this is to be realistic. Figure out how much money you can live off each month, and then transfer the money you don’t need into your savings. Always remember, it doesn’t matter the amount, it all counts. If one month you can only put away £100 then another month you can put away £400, great, however, just remember, don’t leave yourself short, you don’t want to be dipping in and out your savings. There will be months where you will need a bit more money for things such as car MOT, birthdays etc, so ensure you keep money in your current account to cover this.
3. Self – Control
To save money you need to have self-control and really understand the difference between what you WANT and what you NEED. I know just as well as the next person that it’s nice to ‘treat yourself’ when you get paid because you feel that you deserve it after working many hours each week. HOWEVER, don’t forget, your savings are your treat. That money is yours and it’s not going anywhere. My advice would be to save first, spend later. Once you have transferred your monthly savings, analyse your disposable income and from this figure out whether to buy what you want now, buy later or add it to the birthday list. Do bear in mind though, saving is just a part of life and you only have one, so if you want to go out with friends for some expensive cocktails one weekend, or you fancy going to the spa, then do it because life is for living at the end of the day. Saving can be done around this if you are sensible with your money.
4. Cash Gifts
Now, I really do understand that every time you get money for your Birthday, Christmas or another celebration, you just want to buy yourself a present from it, because that’s what it’s for right? Although, my fourth tip is to save that money and to seal it inside an envelope (do not leave it in your purse!!) or pop it in your savings – do keep track of this so you know it’s there. The more money you can save from cash gifts, the better. Once you have managed to save this money you can put it towards more expensive purchases that you don’t want to fork out of your monthly income for example a laptop, camera, travelling etc. My idea behind this, is that, because I know I have that money saved to one side, I will spend that when I really want something rather than spend it from my current account. Of course, this is just what I do, but if you already have something in mind, treat yourself, it’s your money and it’s there for you to use, this is just a tip that helps me.
5. Banking Apps
This tip has actually saved me quite a bit of money and transformed my perspective (not kidding). I use to have my current and savings account with the same bank, however, about 2 years ago I changed this. When both accounts were with the same bank I found it very easy (bit too easy) to just quickly transfer money from my savings to my current account using the banking app.
I would always put money into my savings each month, but used to cut myself short and then end up popping the odd £50 into my current account from my savings when I needed it. It was super convenient, but, in theory I was getting no where with saving. I would always say, “oh it’s only £50, I’ll replenish it when my pay comes in,” but I never did, because on top of what I was trying to save, putting this money in as well was simply too much.
So, things needed to change! I decided to move my savings to another bank which had better interest, therefore keeping my savings separate. I do not have a banking app for the bank my savings are with, only for my current account. Now I am unable to transfer any money from my savings unless I log into online banking which we all know, doing all the time is less convenient than using an app.
6. Check Savings
My last tip, is to check your savings on a regular basis. Now, I do feel as though this can be a blessing or a curse, depending on which type of person you are. If you are like me, and seeing money add up motivates you to save more, then checking your bank account on a regular basis will help you stay focused and motivated.
Although, if seeing money add up makes you want to spend it, maybe checking your savings regularly is a not a good idea for you, the last thing you want is to feel as though you want to spend your savings, and then end up doing it, ultimately kicking you off track. If you feel like this, try checking your savings as little as possible, so that you know it’s adding up but you’re not sure exactly how much. Or, try and completely change your mindset and treat your savings as an accomplishment.
For me, checking my savings once a month is perfect because I like to view my progress. It keeps me motivated to see the amount getting higher, knowing that that money is mine and it makes me feel proud seeing how far I’ve come. Therefore, if you feel as though doing this will keep you motivated to save, then I would say go for it because it certainly helps me!
I completely understand that saving is challenging, it certainly requires a balance of self-control and motivation. Starting is the easy part, it’s keeping on top of it which is the hardest, but once you get into a routine, you will reap the benefits and feel much more in control of your finances overall. There are many more ways to save money, but these are just a few that I use. I really hope this blog post helps, please share your tips for saving below. I am always up for learning new techniques!