With many people spending less in the last twelve months due to lack of a social life, commute or just skipping those mid-morning coffee runs, we should all have saved a fortune, right? Some people have been squirrling away their extra cash at the end of the month, other’s financial wellbeing, or priorities have changed significantly, and some have been waking up in the morning purely for their ASOS order (and that’s absolutely fine). If you’re scratching your head as to where all your money has gone at the end of the month and if you want to start saving for a rainy day, or something bigger then here are my tips.
Unsubscribe from mailing lists
Whether you signed up at the checkout, for a discount or can’t even remember doing it. I used to get 20 emails every morning, all cleverly tempting me with things I had no intention to buy until I saw them. Do a check of all the emails you get and assess if you genuinely want to see the content, or whether you’re just scared of missing out on something. Unsubscribe. You can always re-subscribe at a later date and it will reduce any temptation.
Make your savings, bills
If you’re like me, your bills come out on the 1st of the month so come the 2nd, you know how much you have to play with. The mistake a lot of people make is they keep the money in their account and transfer to their savings at the end of the month. This doesn’t work for me because money burns a hole in my pocket if I think it’s disposable. Set up some direct debits for short savings goals (e.g. holiday or new clothes fund) and schedule them to come out at the start of the month. It essentially becomes a bill, but it’s your savings.
Out of sight…
Similar to my last point, I sometimes transfer the majority of my wages into a savings account then transfer money in as I need it. It makes you think twice before spending because you’re going to see your savings go down and down.
Lay it bare
Budgeting is boring but it works. Lay it all out to get a clear picture of how you’re spending your money. Create a spreadsheet, categorise and add each individual spend (even if it’s 99p). I only did this for a few months but it allowed me to see where the forgotten transactions had gone, and I’m now more conscious of it.
Give yourself pocket money
I used to see my wages as a target to spend now, I allocate myself money each week that is essentially, disposable. It’s for buying clothes, books, coffee – things I want, but don’t necessarily need. It means I don’t feel guilty for treating myself things, but I’m not frittering away money for no reason.
Look at your outgoings
Do you need Netflix and Amazon Prime? Are you paying anything you didn’t realise you were still paying? Did you auto-renew on your car insurance? Are you paying interest on your credit card when you could get a 0% interest card and transfer the balance? I’m not saying the answer to any of the above will always be yes, but it’s important you’re asking yourself the question.
Educate yourself on savings
Did you know you can get up to £1K of free money from the UK Government every year if saving for retirement or your first home? Do you know your interest rates on your savings account, and where you can check who has the best rates? MoneySavingExpert is a great place to start and I’ve learned so much and spending and saving.
There’s still a stigma around people who watch their finances closely are ‘cheap’ or ‘tight’, and lack of knowledge around your finances is a sign of wealth when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t feel guilty about not wasting money. Have conversations about saving with your friends and family, they will understand your priorities and you might even pick up some tips.
I hope some of the above has helped, whether you’re new to savings or just need to re-focus. If you have any thoughts, tips on saving money, or just want to say hello, please leave a comment below.