Are you one of millions who think they can’t afford to save any money?
Chances are, you’re approaching saving in the wrong way – but if you want to get back on top of your finances, it’s important that you start putting some money away for times of need.
Those times of need occur more frequently than you might think too, in fact, around 75% of us will need a large sum of money at some point during each year – owing to an emergency situation that we could not foresee.
If you’re sick of seeing an empty savings account – or having to turn to friends and high cost loans when you’re struggling – see which of the following 6 tips might work for you and mean you can start putting some money away for a rainy day.
Make an achievable plan
Try to think of not saving as a bit of a bad habit – this way, you can set some little goals to change your ways. The key to changing your approach to something is to introduce it in an achievable way, notching up a little ‘win’. For example:
You set yourself a goal of saving £500 per month – within a few days you realise it’s not achievable and start using some of the cash you intended to save. Your head drops, you’ve missed your target.
Alternatively – you set a goal of saving £50 per month. You don’t notice the money missing and at the end of the month you’ve got £50 saved and potentially another small amount that’s left over to put on top of it. A win!
You don’t have to start big, whether it’s £10 or £1000 – it’s a step in the right direction.
Shift the cash quickly
You only have to look at high street shopping figures to know that, as a nation, we are more carefree with our money when we’ve just been paid. That big balance in the bank gives us a sense of financial freedom – even if it is short lived.
This is exactly the right time to put some money away into a savings account. Then, you only impact the more financial free time at the beginning of the month – rather than trying to stretch your more limited money resources when the month is coming to an end.
Reduce the cost of your debt
Debt is debt right? You pay it until it’s gone and pay off everything you owe.
If this is what you think – you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Firstly, if you’re struggling with debt, there are companies out there who can help you reduce it down to a manageable level. Not all offer the same level of service though – so by checking out a site like Face The Red and an in depth service review like this one: 2017 Freedom Debt Relief Review (Most Recent Updates) – you can be certain whether or not the company you’re considering will be helpful.
It’s not just companies that can help though – being smart with your balances can prevent interest (and therefore increased levels of debt) occurring in the first place. Check for 0% interest on balance transfers with credit cards and loans – but make sure you keep a tight diary that will alert you when your low interest phases are about to come to an end.
Find a way to make a second income
A lot of people choose to have a ‘savings income’ – from which either all or some of the money they make is filtered straight into a savings account.
Perhaps you could do a part time second job when you have a few spare hours? Or take part in what’s being referred to as a ‘gig economy’ – where you’re paid for individual jobs or tasks you take on.
Don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to become an Uber driver or Deliveroo rider – there are plenty of second jobs that can be done from the comfort of your home – producing items to sell, offering your skills on freelance platforms, monetising you blogging or other online expertise – and so forth.
Again, save as quickly as you can when the money hits your account and you’ll start to see your balance build.
Use an app to understand your spending
We all know that small amounts add up to larger sums of money – but on a day by day basis, these bigger amounts are difficult to keep a running total of, which is why using a spending app can be an eye-opening experience.
With this kind of app, you log your spending on a daily basis – whether that’s scanning receipts, accounting for costs that come directly from your bank account – or just logging money that’s spent here or there.
Each amount spent is allocated a category – and normally these can be created just for you – for example, lots of people will have ‘fuel costs’ – but you might like to add categories that are specific to you, your life and your spending. When your spending data starts to build you’ll understand exactly where your money goes each month. Seeing how much money you spend on takeaways, smoking, socialising or your hobbies might make you want to reassess and start channelling some money into your savings instead!
Question all your outgoings
There are so many things we spend money on that just ‘tick over’ in our accounts without question – and there could be money locked up here that’s going to big companies – rather than your savings.
Get into the habit of questioning each of your outgoings periodically. The questions you ask will depend on what the money is being spent on, for example:
Insurance payments: Am I paying too much? Can I get a better deal elsewhere? Did I compare when I got a renewal?
Phone bills: Am I using all my allowances? Could I talk to my service provider and see if there’s something more suited to my needs? Could I shop around and find the same deal cheaper elsewhere?
Subscriptions: Do I still want what I’m subscribed to? Would I rather have the money in savings? Do I even use the service?
It’s important not to be complacent with the smaller amount of money – they’re adding up somewhere, you just need to choose whether that’s going to be in the account of a multi-million-pound company, or in your savings.