Save extra cash in these five easy steps
Everyone can benefit from saving. Whether you’ve got your eye on a new car or you want to start topping up your ISA for a rainy day, we could all do with some money tips now and then to make sure we’re spending wisely.
A 2018 YouGov survey found that 8.6 million people in the UK are one paycheck from homelessness. The art of living frugally and saving for a rainy day seems to have been lost in recent years, but you can bring it back by following our ultimate money saving tips below.
It seems obvious that budgeting would be a great way to stay on top of your finances. But you’d be surprised at how many people fail to keep an eye on what they are spending.
To get started you’ll need to work out everything that you’re spending and categorise it: household bills, living costs, insurance, car costs etc. Once you have worked out all of your fixed outgoings you can work out a weekly budget and set a target for weekly savings.
Have you ever noticed that the richest people tend to be the tightest? Budgeting is a key way the wealthy stay wealthy and while you may not become rich from budgeting, you will have extra dough tucked away for a rainy day by following these habits of millionaires.
You can make your own budget easily, or you can use this budget planner from the Money Advice Service. If that still seems like too much work there are apps like Plum that monitors your spending habits and works out a weekly budget and savings plan for you.
Practice the 30 day rule
Sometimes the urge to buy something is overwhelming. That must-have jacket, the latest video game or a new phone. Buying things makes us feel good, but that buzz wears off pretty soon if you’ve bought something with money you don’t have.
The next time you want to buy something, ask yourself: is it absolutely essential? If it’s something like a bus pass, food or necessary clothing then you may indeed have to buy it.
If it’s something superficial like a new watch or a new phone forget about it for at least 30 days. Make a note of the item that you want to buy and come back to it in 30 days, if you still want it after then, fine buy it. Hopefully you will have saved money during that time as well.
Waiting 30 days before making a choice on purchasing something can give you a greater perspective on whether you actually need it or not.
Evaluate your life
By cutting out cigarettes you could have the money to buy your dream car
This point may not apply to you, but it certainly applies to a lot of people out there. Take a really introspective look at your life and identify the things that you could live without. Think of the things that are currently in your life that are actually having a negative impact on you.
The two most common things are alcohol and cigarettes. The health benefits of abstaining from these substances are obvious, not only will you live longer but you’ll feel better both mentally and physically.
If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, your habit could be costing you £70 a week, £315 a month, £3,640 a year. If you go to the pub two or three nights a week you could be spending the same as a full-time smoker does. If you do both – you could be saving £8,000 a year by giving it all up.
If you can’t countenance giving either of these things up completely then at least try to cut down. Monitor the money you spend and try and reduce it by at least a quarter. Keep all the money saved and put it into a savings account to see just how much you’ve actually saved.
For another bit of extra motivation, perhaps look at getting fit and healthy. Keeping up a smoking or drinking habit is much harder when you’re working out five times a week.
Make a packed lunch
They’re not just for kids – packed lunches are for adults as well. If you’re working away from home five days a week it can be tempting to grab a bite to eat from a local shop on your lunch break, but don’t fall into that trap.
You might only spend £3 on a meal deal but just like cigarettes and alcohol, it all adds up. Spending £15 a week on buying lunch is unnecessary when you consider that you can eat for a third of that if you prepare a packed lunch.
By having a packed lunch you’ll also reduce your chances of unnecessary impulse buying. How many times do you go to the shop for one specific item and come away with four or five items that you don’t really need? It happens all the time.
Save money and reduce the temptation to buy by preparing a packed lunch at home the night before work. But whatever you do, avoid making these common supermarket mistakes.
Check your bills
Ellis Sara Smith managed to buy her first house at 19 thanks to saving
There are a range of websites that you can access to compare the costs of your utility bills. Gas & electricity are two of the biggest monthly costs that you will face apart from your rent or mortgage.
You may think that you’re paying the right amount for your utilities at the moment, but you’re probably not. If any of your utilities are paid through a keypad meter you should change that as quickly as possible.
On average switching to a quarterly utility bill from a top-up meter can save you between £260 to £320 a year. If you’re living in rented accommodation in the UK you can switch to quarterly for free and don’t need to get permission from your landlord.
There are plenty of ways to save money. From big things like changing your utility bills to small things like downloading a budgeting app to your phone. Once you begin saving successfully you will be more likely to save well in the future.
Watching your savings account grow and grow is an addictive experience as well as a financially savvy one. Achieving your dreams and having a happy life will be just a couple of the consequences of saving.
You can also use saving as a way to address your health and fitness by cutting out unnecessary substances like nicotine and alcohol. In summary, there are no drawbacks to saving extra cash, only positives. So what are you waiting for? Go plan your budget now and take the first step toward a happier life.