We all have those things that we want to save for, whether it be a holiday, a new item of clothing or just saving for a rainy day. Some of us are lucky enough to have money left over at the end of each month, and some of us are always looking for ways to save a little extra.
I actually consider myself to be pretty good at saving when I want to, but I recently surprised myself with how well I did when I knew I had an end goal. After booking a holiday to Florida that was only 9 weeks away, I managed to save enough money to be able to enjoy myself whilst I was there, without having to worry about money and being able to buy what I wanted (which is what being on holiday is about right?!).
I thought I’d put together a little list of things I found helpful when saving up the pennies. Maybe you don’t even need this list because you have enough money or you’re already really good at saving, maybe it will inspire you to have a go yourself, or just maybe you will try some of these out and surprise yourself with how easy it can be.
1. Set yourself a goal. Whether it be a date to have savings by, an amount to reach, or both. Set yourself a realistic goal to aim for. Emphasis on the realistic. If you set something you know you cant reach you wont be motivated to try.
2. Go online. If you don’t already have online banking then you 100% need it. This makes it a million times easier to keep track of your outgoings. I found it really handy to make myself a separate account to drop little bits of money into, then I can see my savings rather than it just being a part of the money I have this month. You could also use things like couponing websites to save a little extra cash. You can go to this site for some handy retailer coupons to help you save!
3. Start off small. At first, just try putting a little bit of money away each week or each month, and once you see how quickly it builds up you will want to keep going. In my separate savings account, every time I didn’t buy something, like literally anything, I would put what I saved into the account. £2 for that bottle of juice I didn’t need, £3.50 for a coffee I decided against, £20 for a top I wanted but then decided I’d much prefer to go on holiday than have 347 tops rather than 346. Every little helps!
4. Ditch unnecessary purchases. Stop buying lunch each day and just make it! This is one of my peeves for people who say they never have any money but spend £5 a day on lunch at work. Even if you only spend lets say £3 a day.. that’s already £60 a month just on lunches at work. Its so easy and cheap to make extra dinner in the evening so you can take leftovers the next day, or just buy some lunch bits when you do a big shop; you will be surprised how far it can go. Maybe cut out your morning Starbucks and buy yourself some nice instant coffee for work, or just have one night out at the weekend instead of two.
5. The internet is your oyster. I found an unreal amount of discounts, vouchers, codes and deals online when I was saving. These are perfect for times you want a treat; do a search for discount codes for your fave online clothes shop, find some deals on restaurants for a date night, or save some money on the shops you regularly visit. A couple of great websites I would highly recommend are 10 Ways and Hot UK Deals (this one is UK only). Wowcher and Groupon are also great for birthday gifts and city specific deals. Oh and Quidco is really good for cashback deals on loads of shops! I promise you will be suprised how much money you can save by doing this. You can also get apps for most of these which is a bonus and makes the offers easier to find and remember.
6. Don’t be overly strict on yourself. It’s great to follow the idea of no treats and always taking a packed lunch instead nipping to the shop, but limiting yourself too much can make you feel like you have to sacrifice too much to save and result in you giving up. If you really REALLY want something, just buy it. You could decide that you will allow yourself this but maybe cut back on something else you find easier to go without tomorrow. I also enjoyed matching my spending with my saving; so if I really wanted a new outfit then I would allow myself to buy it as long as I matched the price in my savings account. So £40 dress, £40 in the savings. I felt good about my splurge and new clothes but also felt good that I had put a chunk of money into my savings. This also made me really think about how much I actually wanted to buy stuff or if I was just being impulsive.
7. Plan. Or at least try! Sometimes those spontaneous amazing nights just happen and theres nothing you can do about it but go with it and buy ALL OF THE DRINKS. But, you can try to plan, so maybe set yourself a budget for the weekend, or for the week. Think about how many drinks you want to buy and how much your greasy food will be on the way home and budget for that. One of the problems with partying at the weekend is that the next day you have zero energy or life for that matter, and the last thing you want to do is leave the bed, let alone cook. This is when you decide to order a pizza or just go to the amazing burger joint round the corner with all of your other hungover friends to recover together. Suddenly your weekend spending has doubled without you even realizing.
One of the best things we did to prevent times like this was to put a couple of frozen pizzas and chicken dippers on our big shop, not because we wanted them for dinner, but we knew that if one day we wanted to order takeout or have a midnight feast binging on our fave TV show, we could just stick a couple of pizzas in and it would cost us £5 instead of £25+.
8. Staying in is the new going out. Going out to restaurants is literally one of my favourite things to do, BUT I would rather put off going to one in Manchester and be able to go to one in Florida that I might never get the chance to do again. Just make your meals in fun to make up for the temporary changes. If you were gonna go for dinner with friends why not suggest cooking loads of fajitas or burritos at one of your places instead, messy food like this is always fun. If you decide to have a night in, make the most of it! Get cosy and watch your fave shows with some tasty food and a bottle of wine, and enjoy that you wont be (as) hungover tomorrow. Or get some friends round for drinks and play some games, these nights often turn out to be more fun that hitting town anyway!
9. Have a clear out. Recently the post office has been my second home as I have been selling my life on Ebay. People will literally buy anything and everything so don’t just throw stuff away. Each week I would go into my wardrobe and pick 3 or 4 things I knew I wouldn’t wear. If its been sat there for a few years and you keep thinking ‘well I do like it so I might wear it’, it needs to go. Even clothing that wasn’t super expensive or you don’t like anymore might be exactly what someone is looking for, so give it a go. You can list stuff for free so you might as well try! I list everything in bidding format and most things at 99p plus postage (apart from more valuable items). This attracts more buyers to look at the item and there tends to be a little bidding war on the final day. Most things I sell go for £5 or less with the exception of a few more expensive items, but if you keep listing the money builds up. (tip: list a few items all on the same day, because if they all sell and the buyers pay for them when the bidding ends, you can get rid of them all in one trip to the post office. If you do things bit by bit you might end up traveling to the post office far more times than you’d like).
You could also try other sites too like Depop, Amazon, Gumtree etc.
10. Start a penny jar. This is another one of those surprising things that you sort of don’t really notice happening and then suddenly you have an extra £20 you can stick in your bank account. Most people do this with coppers or 5ps, but if you start just throwing loose change in there it really adds up without you missing the money. You don’t necessarily have to get rid of all the change in your purse, but those extra bits you don’t need and won’t miss top up the change amazingly.
Do you have any great saving tips?