Money, it’s a tough thing to discuss isn’t it? Most of us feel there isn’t enough of it in our lives, and the stretch between paydays can seem endless, so how are we meant to save up for the special things we want in our lives – holidays, a new car, little treats, or bigger things like weddings or a house? Well, I’m here today to share with you my top tips for saving money. Nothing major, just lots of little tweaks that might make a big difference for you.
Take a look at your expenditure
This is never a fun thing to do, but you need to sit down and look through your bank account for the past 6 months – every single payment – and find out what you’re spending your money on. It’s surprising how much money we waste without realising. You might find you’re spending a disproportionate amount on buying lunch at work, buying new clothes or going down the pub. For example, if you’re spending £4 per day on lunch, that works out to be £20 per week – £80 per month – that’s just short of £1000 a year! Take your lunch to work with you each day and you’d be saving money with minimal effort!
Give yourself pocket money
Although we’ve just spoken about cutting down on the little treats in life like going out, getting food and buying clothes, you don’t have to go without entirely. Set aside a certain amount from your salary each month for pocket money, keep it safe and use only this for those little additional things that make you happy. Once you run out of pocket money, no more treats! It’s amazing what a difference it makes as when you can see exactly how much money you have to play with, it makes you that bit more frugal.
Check your Direct Debits and Standing Orders
What payments have you got leaving your bank every month that could be changed or cancelled? Perhaps you have some subscriptions that you could really live without, or could you reduce some of your regular costs like your utilities, mobile phone, TV service or broadband? Take a look at price comparison sites and/or give your provider a call – if you tell them you’re struggling with the cost and thinking of cancelling your service they’ll very likely find a better deal for you!
Do you want it or need it?
This might seem obvious but it’s amazing how we are conditioned into thinking that we need things when, in fact, we just want them. Do you really need that new shade of red lipstick? Do you need a fourth pair of jeans? Sure, those shoes are nice but don’t you have a cupboard full of shoes already? Before you buy anything, stop and think about whether you actually need it or if you can live without it.
Spreadsheets are your friend
I run my finances daily, weekly and monthly using a spreadsheet. I track each variation of expenditure – food, car, pets, electric, insurances etc – and by logging what I spend on each every month I can monitor where I’m overspending. I update this spreadsheet every weekend and it also allows me to see what bills I still have to come out and how the end of the month will be looking for me. Sure, it can be a bit annoying (and frightening sometimes!) tracking everything you spend like this, but it forces you to confront yourself with brutal honesty and it’s really changed my relationship with money. You can also set up a spreadsheet to track your savings and how far you are from your target – it’s so fun to watch the money grow!
What’s left at the end of the month?
At the end of the month, any money you have left anywhere should be popped into savings – or, if you have debts, used to pay these off. Empty your purse or wallet into a penny jar, transfer the remaining positive balance in your account into your savings, and watch it grow! It might only be a few pounds every month, but something is better than nothing!
Saving money can be a long journey and sometimes really painful, but keep focussed on the end goal. Maybe make yourself a little vision board of whatever you’re aiming for – a photo of the holiday destination you’re saving to go to, a picture of the house you would love to live in, an imagine of your dream wedding dress – whatever it is, have this image where you can see it everyday to motivate you to keep going and fight to achieve your dream.
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