These tips will help if you’re saving for a financial goal or just looking to tighten the purse strings.
In partnership with Park Holidays
Learning to manage your budget is always important, but even more so if you have a financial goal that you want to meet.
You might be saving up for a big purchase like the deposit for a mortgage, a trip of a lifetime, or even buying your own holiday home.
Or you might just trying to live within your financial means and making sure that you keep bills to a minimum. Whatever you’re aiming for, the more you can save, the quicker you’ll reach your goal.
So here are 16 simple tips that can help you to save towards your financial goals. Not all of them will be suitable for everybody, so pick a few or as many as you like and before long you’ll be hitting that target!
Money Saving Habits
Here are four straightforward money saving habits that you can put in place to help plan how much you can save towards your financial target.
Challenge your expenses
Go through last month’s bank and credit card statements and challenge every single line of expenditure. Can you reduce any of your bills, cut out subscriptions or lower any costs?
Chances are that there’s something that you can either reduce or cut out. There might even be some things on there that you didn’t realise that you’re still paying!
So go through each line on each statement and see if there are any that expenses that you can cut out. Then take another look and check if you can save money on any of the other bills.
Set your budget
Once you know what you’ve been spending your money on, you can start to work out where you can cut down and how much money you should have left over. The money you have after you’ve paid all your bills is called your disposable income, and this is the money you can save towards your holiday home or trip of a lifetime.
So write down all of the bills that come out of your account each month, plus money for travel and food, and allow yourself some spending money for everyday treats and luxuries. Don’t forget to allow a contingency fund for those little emergencies that crop up.
Work out what’s left over and then you can decide how much you can afford to save towards your financial goal each month.
Save at the start of the month
When you’re saving money for a large purchase, it’s a good idea to move money into your saving account at the start of the month. If you leave it til the end of the month to see what’s left, it’s very easy to chip away at it on random purchases that you don’t really need.
So set up a budget and work out a realistic minimum amount that you can save each month. Transfer that amount right after pay-day – with some accounts you can even set this up to happen automatically.
Then if there’s anything left over at the end of the month, you can always move that over as well.
Cut down on interest
One of the best things you can do if you’re saving for a large purchase is to cut out any credit card debt.
In fact, it probably makes sense to clear any outstanding debt before you start putting money aside in a savings account. This is because you will be spending more on the interest on debt than you will earn on your savings.
If you have any 0% balance transfer offers, then it’s worth using these so that the money you are paying each month will come off the balance you owe.
If not, then try speaking to your credit card company to see if they can offer you a lower interest rate on your balance. And try to increase the amount you pay each month, even if it’s just by a little bit, so that you pay the card off quicker and spend less on interest.
Save Money at Home
You probably spend a good chunk of your income on household and utility bills each month.
So this is a good place to start when you’re trying to cut down on expenditure and save for a large purchase or financial goal.
Lower Your Household Bills
You might think that you can’t do much about your utility bills, but that’s not true.
Things like keeping track of your renewal dates so that things like mobile phone contracts don’t auto-renew, and using websites like Compare the Market to check that you’re on the best electricity plan will really help.
With a little work, you can cut the costs of things like electricity, gas and cable TV. And that means more disposable income to add towards your savings pot.
Compare insurance policies
Another easy to way to find more money for saving is to check your insurance policies. It’s very easy to just let your home or car insurance auto-renew at the end of the year, but this is not the most money-savvy way.
Make a note of the renewal dates for all of your insurance policies, and then shop around before they expire to see if you can get the same coverage for a lower cost.
It’s worth setting yourself a reminder in something like Google Calendar so that you don’t forget.
Turn Down the Temperature
You might not think this will make much difference, but try turning down the thermostat on your heating by 1 degree. Once you’re used to the new temperature, you might be able to knock it down another degree.
You’ll hardly notice the difference in temperature, but you could save as much as 1% on your annual heating bill for each degree lower that you go.
And it goes without saying that you can save more money by not having the heating on unnecessarily, so keep an eye on your automatic timer as well.
Keep up with maintenance
It’s usually cheaper to keep on top of regular maintenance around your home and car than to wait until something goes wrong.
Things like taking care of your car’s tyres and descaling your washing machine can save serious money down the road.
So be aware of issues and make repairs quickly to stop problems developing or getting worse.
Click here for tips on how to look after your car tyres
Save Money in the Kitchen
Once you’ve paid your rent or mortgage and your household utility bills, food probably takes up the lion’s share of what’s left of your salary.
But the good thing is that it’s also an area where you can easily make changes and reduce spending. So here are five easy ways to reduce what you’re spending on food and drink each month. Follow some of these, and you’ll soon be on your way to meeting your savings target.
Set a Budget for Grocery Shopping
When I want to save money, this is one of the first things I do. It’s so easy to just spend money on food and drink without realising how much is going out of your bank account.
Take a look back through last month’s statements and total up how much you spent, then see what you think is a realistic amount to try and reduce it to.
You’ll probably find that shopping weekly works out cheaper than popping into the supermarket every night. But don’t forget to allow a little extra for treats and the odd takeaway.
The next step is to make sure that you stick to your grocery budget!
Plan your Meals Weekly
One of the best ways to make sure that you stick to your grocery budget is to plan your meals weekly.
This will help cut down on buying extra food that you don’t need, and of course in turn that means less food waste.
Planning ahead means you can check whether you have ingredients already in your cupboards, or plan to use leftovers in another meal. For instance, you can use the leftovers from your roast chicken on Sunday in a risotto or stir fry on Tuesday night.
It’s also worth looking into using a slow cooker, which will let you prepare a meal in the morning ready for when you want to eat dinner in the evening.
Plan your meals around special offers
I’m not suggesting that you need to spend hours clipping coupons or poring over the paper to plan your meals. Although there’s nothing to stop you doing that if you wish!
But it’s worth building a little flexibility into your meal plan, so that you can take advantage of any special offers.
For example, you might be planning a pork goulash, but when you get to the supermarket the chicken thighs are on special offer. It’s easy to swap the meat in the recipe, helping you to stick to your budget and boost your savings!
Try out own brand products
This can be a great way to save money on your grocery shopping!
When you are doing your weekly shop, try swapping brand-name products for the store’s own brand. Try it out for a week and see if you can really notice the difference.
I’d wager that you will find that you can’t tell the difference, or even prefer the own brand. And that can save you money every single time you shop.
And if you’re already using the own brand, why not see if there’s a ‘basic’ version to try out? If you don’t like it, you can always trade back up next week.
Work out how much this saves you over the week or month, and then you can add that to your big ticket savings account!
Drink more water
This is such a simple tip, but one that you might not have thought of.
You can save money on every shopping bill by switching out some of your drinks for water. The cost of tap water is tiny compared to soft drinks or expensive coffees. And if you’re eating out, the saving will be even greater.
If you don’t like the taste of your local tap water, why not look into buying a filter jug to improve the flavour?
Save Money on Shopping
You can still save money even when you’re spending it. Follow some of these simple tips to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money, and maximising the amount you can save towards your target.
Use Websites and Apps to Save Money
If you shop regularly in certain store and websites, it’s worth checking to see if they have an app. Often stores will reward loyalty with vouchers, cashback and discounts through their app, and this could be a great way to save money.
It’s also worth checking out comparison sites like Quidco which can help you find some great discounts and cashback offers.
Remember that it’s only a bargain if you would have bought the item anyway, and don’t forget to transfer the savings into your saving account.
Wait to spend less
This next tip might require you to change the way you shop, but it can really result in big savings.
If you buy a new product on the day that it’s released, you are probably going to pay a premium price.
The price will usually start to fall, if you can wait a while before you buy something. This is often the case with electronic equipment like mobile phones and TVs, and you can also save money by buying clothes out of season.
The 30 Day Rule
When you’re considering buying something that isn’t included in your budget, try using the 30 day rule.
This rule tells you to wait 30 days before you actually make the purchase. If you still want to buy it after waiting, then go ahead, however you may find that you don’t need or want the item quite as much.
Following this rule will help you to cut down on impulse spending which is often caused by excitement, emotion or advertising!