Whether you’re saving so you can splash out on a big holiday when lockdown finally ends and we can all travel again, or you just want to squirrel away some cents for a rainy day, saving is important. If your car breaks down or your roof falls in, it’s reassuring to know that you aren’t going to go bankrupt to dig yourself out of that hole.
But saving isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve got a little bit stashed away already, it can be hard to motivate yourself to keep putting money aside every month. With these tips, you’ll get your savings to drive back in no time.
Okay, it might sound counter-intuitive, but there are some areas when saving is actually going to hinder you, or cost more money in the long run. Read the fine print carefully, but if you are looking for criminal defense, or paying to have your heating fixed, sometimes a deal can be too good to be true and actually you’re just wasting your money because you’ll have to get the same job done twice. Do your research and make sure you aren’t actually being fleeced.
It might take some time, but you can save yourself some serious bucks on everything from gas bills to health insurance just by doing some investigation.
With the internet, all this information is directly at your fingertips so, with barely any effort at all, you could save yourself a significant amount of money on your bills and outgoings every month. Remember that price comparison websites often take a cut of cash from the providers they recommend so try and find time to do your own research as this could also save you some dollars.
Utilize Your Tech
Have your screen time hours been mounting up since the beginning of lockdown? If you’re glued to your phone, then use that to your advantage to help you save. There are hundreds of apps that are designed to help you give your savings a boost. Some will round up every time you spend and save the difference.
So, if your coffee costs $3.79, it’ll round that up to an even $4 and put those 21 cents in your savings. You’d be amazed at how fast that can rack up. Most are free, but some have a one-off cost so it’s worth trying the free version first and seeing if it’s something you’re using on a regular basis before you splash out.
If you keep the fact that you’re saving to yourself, then the people around you might accidentally throw temptation to spend your way. Your partner could suggest a pricey trip, or an expensive meal out and it’s difficult to say no.
But, if they’re aware you’re trying to put some money aside, then hopefully they’ll be supportive of your decision and won’t tempt you. It might even be something you can talk about together. Are you saving money for the future, or to make sure there’s some wiggle room in case of an accident? Be honest about what you’re doing and why, and they should support you in your new frugal lifestyle.
Get Debt Free
This is obviously easier said than done, but eliminating your debt is one of the best ways to start having more money to save – and to spend as well. Credit cards, loans and overdrafts are all costly ways to borrow money. An interest-free credit card is only a good offer if you actually pay it off in time.
If you know yourself, and are aware that you’ll struggle to pay off a credit card in time, then avoid taking one out in the first place. Or, if there’s really no other option, do some research and look for the best deal out there that won’t cost you a fortune as soon as the interest-free period is up.
Like all resolutions, many of us start with the best of intentions – that we’ll easily save half our salaries every month, set unrealistic amounts that we can still live on, and then give up when we fail because the goals we set ourselves were impossible to achieve. It’s a good idea to think about the small ways you can save money.
Do you buy an expensive sandwich when you go to work, for example? There might be little things you’re doing on a weekly or daily basis where the cost is racking up without you even noticing. If this is the case, then these are small changes you can make one at a time and, before you’ve even noticed, your savings are rocketing upwards.
Make a Budget
For this to work, you need to know where your money’s going. If you are consistently finding yourself at the bottom (or even below) your paycheck every month, then it’s time to make a budget. Be realistic with yourself. There’s no point setting an amount to save or pay off every month if that means you’re left with no money to spend on yourself.
Of course, be generous within reason. If debt is a major problem for you then it’s time to think about practical measures to deal with that. But if you’re just trying to save a bit more, a bit more often, and this leaves you with no money to go out with friends, or treat yourself occasionally, then you’ll start resenting saving and that can cause many of us to just throw in the towel. So, when you make your budget, leave a sensible amount for socializing, the odd treat, and things you enjoy.
No one said saving is easy. Like paying into a pension, it can be hard to appreciate that the money you’re saving will one day be put to good use, especially when we all work hard for that paycheck. But, when you’re finally booking that holiday, or you don’t have to take out an expensive loan or get into debt to repair something, you’ll be glad you started saving when you did.