As a young person starting my twenties I am highly appreciative of money-saving tips. My bank balance is grateful for this. I have always been someone who likes to have emergency money as well as being able to splurge on the occasional indulgence – a cute pair of boots has always been my vice. This has become a very useful skillset that I have utilised over the past year during my time off from university – periods of unemployment in between working has taught me how to save when money is a lot tighter. Balance is key.
Prioritise & Budget
Bills come first before leisure (unfortunately!). I’m sure many can relate to this problem that arises once you have left the comfy nest. Adult life equals responsibilities. This can mean things you have never really thought of as an issue before need paid for – gas, electricity, internet, council tax & water. Plus phone bills, Netflix, car insurance & petrol (if you are lucky enough to own a car) and food. Phew!
Through sitting down and calculating how much money needs to be set aside for bills & necessities i.e. food (not shoes, Corinne duh!) every month it is easier to manage. This way you know what your outgoings are and whether you have a surplus to spend.
(Ha! look at me adulting all over the place and talking finances.)
First up, I shall mention a disclaimer – I’m only giving advice and suggesting methods that I have found work for me. I’m not a financial advisor. I’m not going to mention specific products or accounts. I’m not going to tell you how you should go about your business. These are merely suggestions!
How To Save
I like to have at least two savings accounts; one account for treats and one for future investment. I adjust the amount I send to either account depending on that month’s budget. For example, I may decide to save for a holiday and would send x amount each month to that account with that intention in mind. But when I eventually book holiday-related expenses I would not want to remove it from my long-term savings.
Whilst I was in receipt of my student loan I attempted the 52-week saving plan. The idea is that every week you send money to your savings equal to the week number in the year e.g week 1:£1, week 25:£25 etc. By the end of the challenge, you can potentially save a total of £1378. The downside to this idea is that as the number increases it gets harder to save every week in one month – especially in December where traditionally I should be skint from Christmas buying presents. During my attempt, I ended up having to skip a fair few weeks here and there throughout the year. But it was good saving practice for the future when I have a better income and a full-time job.
Another good way to continue saving is to think of savings as ‘just another bill’. Create a standing order from your main account to your saving account and the number will start to creep up and up during the year. It doesn’t matter if it is £5 or £50 a month. Note: Do not worry if there are months where you simply cannot afford it, online banking is straightforward enough to transfer back the money. There is no point in bleeding yourself dry. You can always top the account back up next month.
Lastly, I have started a habit where I online piggy bank. I log in to check my balance and round down to the nearest pound by transferring x pence to my other accounts. It is such tiny amount I don’t particularly notice it and the pennies build up very slowly elsewhere as they not getting spent.
Invest in a piggy bank for small coins. At the end of each week, I pop the coin change from my purse to my piggy bank. It’s a good habit that I started as a child and have continued doing so.
Be Realistic about the Timeline to afford Big Purchases
There is no point in running out and buying a luxury item if it will leave you broke. I am a self-confessed shopaholic, and I have often joked in the past that if I ever went hungry I’d be surrounded by beautiful clothes. In reality, this would be a tremendously bad idea. There is no point in romanticising living with a Chanel Boy bag if you would end up having to give up your home or eating toast for a year!
Adjust Shopping Habits
There are 3 questions I ask myself when I spot an item; do I want it? do I need it? do I already own something similar? This often stops me from binge spending on fast fashion.
If you are unsure about the item then the right answer 9/10 times should be NO as it is very likely it will not get worn.
A beauty bargain can come in handy. I do love the luxury of high-end products but the high-street often have incredibly good alternatives. There are also certain items that can be nice to splurge on but try to remember there are also items where the only real difference is the packaging.
Lifestyle Friendly Tips
At the beginning of the year, I cancelled my gym membership. This may sound like a step backwards but there are plenty of ways to exercise without costing money. I take Willow out more often and plan to start running when the weather gets warmer.
When you are short of cash another way to raise money is by having a wardrobe clear out and sell items that you no longer have any use for. My preferred method is via Depop.
I also enjoy cooking from scratch. I try to do this more often. This means fewer takeaways as they tend to add up quick and become expensive. Save yourself the extra coin and make more healthy dinners.
Do you have any money-saving tips & tricks to share?