Most of us know that we should be doing more to save money on our day to day expenses, however, sometimes simply getting started is the hardest thing. When you’re living on a low income, or you’re worried about the ongoing threat of loans and debt, you might find that you struggle to figure out ways of budgeting your money more effectively.
The good news is, that although the first step might be the hardest, once you’ve made a commitment to saving back extra cash, you should find yourself in a stronger position for the future. Here, we’re going to look at 6 quick tips you can use to develop a realistic and sustainable savings plan.
1. Watch Your Money Carefully
The most important thing you can do when you’re trying to save extra cash is figured out where you currently spend most of your money. By keeping track of your expenses, from your morning coffee to your monthly energy bills, you can get a better idea of how much money you have coming in, and how much you have going out. When you can see where your money is going on a week to week basis, then you should find that it becomes easier to break down some of your spending.
Remember, when you’re checking on how much you spend, try to keep track of the small things, as well as the big expenses. That weekly newspaper can quickly add up to a big cost if it’s left unchecked.
You can also save money by using discount codes and vouchers to bring down the cost of many purchases, online and instore. A simple search can bring up many discount codes which you can apply to your purchases to help save you money. Even if you find a 10% discount code that’s still money saved to spend on something else. Often you can also find a free delivery code with a simple search online which can save you a few pound.
2. Make a Budget (and Plan on Saving)
Once you know what you’re spending each month, you can organise your expenses into a budget that’s easier for you and your family to follow. Remember to outline how your expenses align with your income so you can limit spending beyond your means.
Once you’ve got your budget, remember to put a savings category into it. For instance, if possible, you should aim to put around 10% of your income away in savings. If you can’t quite accomplish that much, then you can always start with 5% and try to work your way up.
3. Have a Goal in Mind
Most people find that it’s much easier to save money if they can envision a result that they’re saving for. If you know exactly what you’re going to get out of your savings, you can start to motivate yourself when you find that you’re feeling tempted to dip into your emergency fund for something you don’t really need.
Remember, you can choose both long-term and short-term goals. For instance, a short-term goal might be a down-payment on a car, while a long-term fund might be a down payment on a home or a project for your house.
4. Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
If you want to make saving a true goal in your life, then you need to ensure that you have the right resources to help you. A bank account is a good first step, so make sure that you go to your local bank and speak to an expert about what kind of savings account might be best for your needs. Doing this will mean that you can potentially get a higher return on your savings.
You could also think about setting up a direct debit payment into your savings account that allows you to send money over from your current account each month. If your money is being saved automatically, then it won’t feel as though it’s as much of a struggle when you’re trying to prevent yourself from over-spending each month.
5. Make Saving a Family Experience
While you can make an effort to save more money as an individual, it’s often easier to make a change to your habits if you’re working as a team with other people in your family. For instance, if the money you save by giving up your morning coffee is then spent on lunch for your kids at school, you could consider asking them to do their part by choosing foods that they can pack into a lunch to take with them from home.
6. Stick to Your Resolutions
Finally, at the end of the day, being successful at saving comes down to dedication. If you can commit yourself to a particular goal, or a set of results that you want to achieve, then you’re more likely to come out on top. Think carefully about how you want to progress in the years ahead, and put a plan in place that will keep you on track with all of your spending.