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Me and my husband are currently saving for a mortgage deposit and we also saved for around 2 years for our wedding. I have also saved for cars, holidays, the list goes on. I'm not by any means claiming to be any sort of financial expert but I think I'm pretty good at saving when I have something to aim for. I thought I would share my tips in case it helps anyone because let's face it, it's not easy to avoid spending your hard earned cash. These are just things that have worked for me!
1. Know what you're saving for -having something that you really want to buy or do will be motivation. This can be anything, big or small, just set yourself some sort of target and know at least approximately how much you need to save.
2. Is there a time limit on it? For example, if you're saving for a holiday that you're planning to go on in 1 year from now, then you need to save the cost of it in 1 year. You can work out from this how much you need to save per month or per week.
3. Decide how much you can afford to save. This applies especially to something that doesn't have to be by a specific date-e.g. saving for a mortgage deposit is bound to take you a few years. Try to put something in your savings account every time you get paid. I am paid weekly at the moment and my wages can be variable, so I may put more in some weeks than others, depending on what I've been paid. However, even if I'm feeling the pinch one week I put in £10. You might think that's not a lot, but it does add up. We decided that are overall goal was to save £200 between us per month as a bench mark-if there is any leftover money at the end of the month we can add a bit more but we wanted to have a goal.
4. Do I really want this? When spending money, consider whether you would prefer that pair of shoes (or anything else!) or to have the money in your savings. I still shop, don't get me wrong, but I find it much easier to wittle down what I REALLY want to buy by stopping and thinking about this.
5. Have a £1 jar/ small change jar. My friend bought us a lovely honeymoon savings pot before our wedding and we decided to only put pound coins in. You could of course put small change into a jar too, but of course the total will build more slowly. We found that it built up more quickly than we thought and honestly, you don't miss the odd £1 or 2 here and there as much as saving larger chunks of money.
6. Skip your Starbucks/ Costa/ bought lunch and save the money instead! It is tempting to be unorganised about drinks and lunches at work, but I have always pre-made lunches and had tea making supplies at hand (I don't do coffee). If your are someone who buys drinks and lunches at work, why not try making your lunch the night before and putting it in the fridge and taking tea/ coffee with you, then putting what you would have spent in a savings jar. You will be amazed! I also find that I have healthier lunches this way because I can choose what I like rather than having to choose from what is available.
7. Cut down on nights out. It can be difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll be fine. We used to go out for dinner a lot and the cost of this really adds up-it's quite easy to spend £50 or more between 2 people. We do still go out for dinner but just not as often! Don't forget that a night in with your friends can be as fun as a night out. Club together to buy food and drinks (maybe make dinner and get your friends to bring a bottle), watch a film and have a natter.In fact, you actually get more of a chance to talk to people properly at home compared to noisy pubs/ bars/ clubs/ restaurants etc. Again, we do go out with friends, but sometimes suggest a night in at our flat instead-everything in moderation!
8. Have as many savings accounts as you need. This is really easy if you use online banking as you can just open online savings accounts with your bank without having to take any proof of identity or anything to them. If you are saving for 3 different things at once, open 3 savings accounts! I have several savings accounts, each with a different title on my online banking. That way, I know how much I have saved for what, meaning that my money is well organised.
Do you have any more tips on saving money?