Everyone has their own vision of how they’d like their life to unfold. Some fantasise about their ideal home, others of far-flung holidays or ambitious new business plans. However, there’s one main obstacle to overcome: dreams tend to cost money. For many of us, reaching life goals requires some planning and a fair bit of saving. Luckily, there are ways you can learn to save money easily that can have a big impact on your finances.
Even if you don’t have anything in particular you want to save towards, building a nest egg for unexpected expenditures or to treat yourself in the future is always going to be worthwhile.
Committing to saving is a lifestyle change; but it can be as big, minimal, gradual or quick as you’d like to make it. The trick is to find ways of saving that work for you and that are also sustainable. There’s no point to committing to saving £500 a month if you know you can’t feasibly stick to it.
Before you embark on your savings journey, take some time to pull a plan together:
- What are you saving for?
- How much do you need to save?
- How much can you save a month?
- How are you going to do it?
It’s often the last question that is the most difficult to tackle. With life’s everyday expenses, it’s unsurprising that saving can frequently find itself at the bottom of your priorities list. However, by making a few lifestyle tweaks and clever changes to your daily spending, you could be surprised how much you can save. The more money in your pocket, the more you could put into your savings pot every month!
Here are five of our top tips to help you save money easily:
- Get more for your money
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get more than you bargained for? If you want to start saving as you spend, you’re in luck – it can be done.
Go own brand: When it comes to grocery shopping, everyone has their own preferences. Whether it’s baked beans, butter or bread rolls, our shopping habits lead us to reaching for the same brands time and time again. But, according to Moneysavingexpert, families could reduce their annual grocery shopping bill by up to £1500 when making the swap to value own brand products.
Discounts: Look out for discount codes, cards and schemes. If you carry out research before you make a purchase, you may find you can save yourself a few pounds. By simply typing into google the company you are wanting to purchase from followed by the word “discount” or “discount code”
Pre-loved items: Second-hand items can be almost as good as new and, more importantly, a fraction of the price. If you’re looking for something in particular, don’t rush straight to the high street. There are hidden gems to be found at car boot sales, charity shops and in local ‘buy and sell’ groups on social media. Sites such as Amazon and eBay also offer the option to by pre-loved products, or if fashion is your thing, take a look at sites such as Depop.
Cashback sites: Get money back when you spend… It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But you really can get cashback when you shop or even order a takeaway online. Cashback sites such as Topcashback and Quidco offer free membership and money back when you spend.
- Review your spending
According to the Office for National Statistics, in the financial year ending 2019, the average weekly spend per household in the UK was £585.60. Nearly half of this (44%) was attributed to “transport, housing and recreation and culture”.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your bills and bank statements to regularly review your financial ins-and-outs. Get rid of any subscriptions or memberships that you don’t use, haggle with providers for a better deal on your bills and take a look at comparison websites to see if you could be saving money with another provider. Many of these sites offer a reward when you purchase, such as discount cards or codes, so the benefit of this is two-fold.
Don’t forget your lifestyle expenses. Benjamin Franklin said: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” A few coffees here, an evening at the pub there, a couple of meals out with friends or family – it all adds up. So, it’s wise to set yourself a monthly or weekly leisure budget and stick to it. For more information, check out our guide on how to stop spending money.
- Look after the pennies…
…And the pounds will look after themselves, or so the proverb goes. But there is wisdom to be gained from this. Think about all that loose change you have lurking around in drawers, handbags/rucksacks and glove compartments. Accumulating your spare change all in once place, such as a jar or even a piggy bank, can start adding up to a decent amount of money over time.
You can also apply a similar concept to your bank accounts. Take a look at your balance regularly and see if you can ‘round it down’. This habit, which is growing in popularity amongst savvy savers, involves rounding your balance down to a round or even number by removing and saving the surplus. For instance, if your balance was £328.52, you could round it down to £328.00 or £320.00 by transferring 52p or £8.52 into your savings. Again, this is a ‘little and often’ manner of saving which could soon add up.
Or if you like a challenge, you could try the 1p challenge. This year-long challenge requires you to save every day; starting with a penny, then each day you will save what you saved, plus a penny. The maximum you’ll ever have to save in a day is £3.65 (or £3.66 if it’s a leap year) but you’ll have almost £670 in your savings pot after 12 months!
- Embrace the challenge
Don’t look at cutting back as missing out. Step up and challenge yourself to see what you, and your family, can achieve. You can make it fun and exciting and embrace your competitive side by setting savings targets.
There are so many things you can explore in order to save money:
- Re-create your favourite takeaway or restaurant meals at home
- Dig out old clothes and shoes you forgot you had, instead of buying new
- Try and take on no-spend days
- Invest in an insulated coffee mug and bring your own coffee from home
- Set up a savings account
Following all of the tips above, you’ll soon be able to put aside some or all of the money you’ve saved – and you’re going to need somewhere to put it all! A report we carried out with YouGov revealed that 16% of people have no savings at all.
It’s wise to start saving as soon as you can. On top of all your money saving wins based on the hacks above, if you can, try to commit to regular saving. Research what savings accounts are going to be best for your budget and goals and get started. There are lots of options available including
- Cash ISAs
- Stocks and Shares ISAs
- Junior ISAs (for your little ones)
- Regular saver accounts
- Fixed rate bonds
- Easy access savings accounts
You can also explore options for investing, where your capital is at risk but your money has more potential to grow. Tight budget? Don’t worry, you can start investing in a Stocks and Shares ISA from just £30 a month.
All of these little steps could help you to save a significant amount in the long run. Whether you’ve got big dreams for the future, are saving for your children or just want to be prepared for rainy days, being smart with your spending and committing to regular saving will help you reach your financial goals.