It’s easy to keep telling ourselves that we don’t have enough money to be able to save each month. After the bills have been paid there just seems to be nothing left. Millions of people tell themselves this month after month; year after year. But it doesn’t have to be this way! With some easy tweaks and adjustments you will be amazed with what you can manage to save monthly.
It is ESSENTIAL to record your expenses every single day! Doing this will highlight where you are wasting money. It is important to list everything – even the little things, as over the course of a month it really does add up. That 50p daily newspaper will cost you £15 by the end of the month. I use my expense tracker daily and it’s helped me to save so much money, as I’m much more conscious of my spending habits.
Make savings automatic
One of the easiest ways to build your savings is to automate them. If you have to do a manual transfer each month you are not likely to continue, as you will likely forget or will spend the money before you get a chance to do the transfer. Set up a standing order from your current account to your savings account. You will thank yourself later!
Slash your food bill
For most of us, our food bill is one of our biggest monthly outgoings. The average food bill for a family of four in the UK is £625 per month, including £200 spent on food prepared outside of the house – i.e., takeaways. That’s as much as some people’s mortgage. But the good news is that this an area in which huge savings can be made.
Prior to becoming financially aware, I was wasting £100s every single month on my food expenditure. I wasn’t meal planning, didn’t take a list with me when shopping, bought expensive, branded food, and I shopped at some of the most expensive supermarkets. Take a look at my post on how to save a fortune on your grocery bill.
If you have a good meal plan in place you are far less likely to waste money on takeaways and eating out too.
Take out a SIM only deal
Mobile phones. I get it. I love a gadget as much as the next person, but I am no longer willing to sell my soul for a flashy new mobile phone any more.
Previously, as soon as my contract was up, without question, I would upgrade to the next model. After all, it was free, right? Sure, my monthly bill would be higher but I could afford it. I did this for years and years and wasted sooooo much money. Yes, the phone might be free upfront but you will pay through the nose for it over the course of your contract.
I now have a SIM only contract on my perfectly good 2 year old phone. Instead of paying £35 each month I pay £8 and I even get more data!
If you are happy with your phone and want to try to save some money on your monthly bill, I would seriously suggest that you look into getting a SIM only deal. You are able to keep your current number and switching is easy. I am now able to save that money that I used to spend on my phone bill.
Use unexpected money wisely
Are you lucky enough to have money gifted to you for your birthday or Christmas? How do you usually use that money? If you’re anything like I used to be you spend it as quickly as you can and usually on things you don’t need or even particularly want. Of course, you are perfectly entitled to do this. It’s your money and it’s a gift. But could you use that money more wisely? Unless there is something I really, really want or need, I will now transfer any money gifted to me into my savings account.
Build an emergency fund
Having an emergency fund in place is one of the best things you can do for your financial self. This ensures that when an emergency crops up – and believe me it will – you have the money there waiting and ready to deal with it. If you have no emergency fund then you run the real risk of having to borrow money in order to get yourself out of a sticky situation.
It is recommended that you have between 3-6 months’ worth of essential expenses saved in an easy-access account in case you lose your job or suffer with an unexpected illness.
Take a more in depth look at why you need an emergency fund here.
Create a budget
Creating a budget allows you to see what money you have coming in and what money you have going out. Without a budget you won’t be able to see where you can make savings.
As we plan our finances ahead of time with a budget you will be able to see how much money you can allocate to savings without leaving yourself too short of money for that particular month. And if you find that there is nothing left to allocate to savings you can simply look through your budget and see what areas can be totally cut from your budget and where you can negotiate on your bills in order to cut your monthly outgoings.
Click here to see how to create a budget. Click here to purchase your monthly budget template.
Use cashback websites
I love cashback websites. These sites pay you a cash reward when you click through them to buy goods or financial services. I try to use them where I can for renewing my car insurance, home insurance and broadband services. You can even use them if you do matched betting. In fact, I have made hundreds of pounds by simply clicking through one of the cashback sites to complete matched betting offers that I would have been doing anyway!
There are many cashback sites that you can use. Two of the most well-known, and my favourite, are Topcashback and Quidco.
The only downside I found is that it can often take quite a long time for the cash to reach your account. But if you were going to purchase the item or service anyway then you’ve not lost anything by buying via the cashback site and you’ll have a nice little cash bonus to look forward to.