Ah, saving money. The bane of all our lives, am I right? Especially for millennials who seem to have less money and more expenses than ever before. The cost of living is on the rise while salaries are either stagnant or less than they were so a lot of people struggle to put anything away for the future. And sometimes the biggest pressure doesn’t come from our peers but from our parents and relatives who seem to have managed to save money whilst buying houses and cars and having enough disposable income at the end of the month to take trips and eat out. And the advice we get all seems so easy, right? ‘Just save a little each month’ – like nobody already thought of that. Sure we can put money into a savings account but at the end of the month when things are tight and you have to dip back into that account just to pay the bills, what good has that done? What needs to be cut are the outgoings wherever possible.
I’m here to share a few of my own savings tips, and while the end goal is to get you saving and have your bank balance looking healthier I hope these tips make a little more sense than just transferring money from one account to another.
My Top Tips for Saving Money on a Regular Basis:
Go through your outgoings.
Painful but effective. ‘I spent how much last month?’ My husband is pretty good at saving money and always gives me hints, and one thing he said which is completely true is that it doesn’t matter how high your incoming salary is if your outgoings are high too. Print out your statements, sit down with a highlighter and a calculator, and see where your weak spots are – we all have them, so there’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. But sometimes a £3.00 coffee habit can pile up without you realising. Which brings me to my first tip…
Pack your own lunches and brew your own tea.
The average cost for lunch during a workday is between £5.00-£10.00 depending on what you buy and where you live. Multiplied by 5 and you could be looking at £50.00 a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks and it’s £2,600. Quite a lot for lunch, right? You can make fresh, delicious, healthy meals at home for a fraction of the price and take a travel mug with you with home-brewed tea or coffee which you can top up at work. I love my KeepCup and rarely go anywhere without it – they come in three sizes, too, and are the cork one I linked is eco-friendly, too!
Eliminate non-essential spending commitments.
My monthly standing order list looks a little like this:
- Mind Charity: £3.00
- Spotify: £9.99
- Audible: £7.99
- Amnesty International: £3.00
- Tailwind: £12.99
- Netflix: £8.99
- Water Aid: £3.00
How many things on this list could be easily eliminated that aren’t essential? Honestly, all of them. If you can afford to donate to charities then please do, but if the amount you’re giving is affecting your life then cancel and reinstate when you have the funds. While Netflix and Spotify are great, you can live without them. So cancel, cancel, cancel and put the extra money saved into a savings account.
Martin Lewis is a superhero.
Seriously, sign yourself up to Money Saving Expert and watch the tips roll in. Martin is an experienced financial expert and his tips are priceless – my mum got me into his website years ago and I’ve never looked back. His emails always contain very valid and up-to-date financial advice and you can really save yourself some pennies.You can compare energy prices, download vouchers, and find out how to get extra clubcard points when you shop. Brilliant!
Sell things you don’t need.
I’ve recently started selling a few things on Depop and I’ve already made a quid or two. Donate what you can, but selling things is always a good way to make some extra money and give your pre-loved items a good home. Paypal is wonderful for this, as you can allow your PayPal balance to mount up before spending or withdrawing it.
Go old school with a piggy bank.
You know all that loose change you have lying around in dishes or in the car? Collect it all together and put it in a piggy bank and let the pennies make pounds. I really like this Saving to go Places one and this Follow Your Dreams one. You never know, friends and family might want to empty their pocket change into it too.
Sign up for loyalty cards.
I LOVE a good loyalty card. My favourites are Boots, Matalan, Nectar, Co-Op and Morrisons plus all the local cafes in my area. You can get free samples, free gifts, discounts, and vouchers towards your next shop so they aren’t to be sniffed at. There are apps for all those plus many more, and they send things out in the post as well. Make sure your addresses are up-to-date too, especially if you’ve moved lately.
Pay with cash.
My parents taught me this tip and it’s a good one: pay for anything you can with cash. Unless it’s something large that you want to have security with, paying with cash is an easy way to keep track of your spending. It’s very, very easy to pay everything with a card, neglect to keep track of our balance and end up spending much more than we need to. But paying with cash makes it feel more real, and you’re more conscious of your spending when the money is in your hand.
Online shopping is dangerous. Much like paying with debit cards, it’s easy to feel like we aren’t spending anything and that can lead to the emptying of bank accounts and the running up of credit card bills. Plus your neighbours might be getting peeved if they have to take parcels in once or twice a week. It’s hard if you don’t have any good local shops (hello, we live in a village) but try to limit your online spending when and where you can, and if you must buy multiple items from the same website at least try and do it in one sitting to save on postage and packaging and try to search for voucher codes wherever you can.
A last but by no means least:
Set up a standing order from your bank account to a savings account. Once you’ve worked out how much disposable income you’ll have left at the end of the month, transfer a percentage of that into a savings account. That way, you won’t be as tempted to break into it.