It's common knowledge that saving money is a difficult task. Whatever your motivation for saving is, many people find that after paying rent, bills and general living amenities, there isn’t much money spare. And why bother being sensible when you could just buy that mini-break or those gorgeous shoes when you need cheering up, right?
Well, if you’re on a mission to save money – perhaps you want to move house, or buy a new car or an expensive holiday, or maybe it’s time to get real about your student debt – there are ways.
It’s time to get your sensible money-saving hat on and create a plan of action. Here are 4 easy ways to save your money without sacrificing too much.
1. Start with the small change
The first thing to do when you’re on a saving mission is to collect the small bits of change: the cash that is floating around your purse, bag or bedroom. If you put away $5 every week, made up of whatever small change you can find (the equivalent of a couple of coffees a week), you will save $260 in a year – the easiest $260 you’ve ever saved.
It doesn’t have to be such a regimented saving system either, just get yourself an old-fashioned piggy bank and every time you find a dollar, chuck it in. You won’t be missing any of it, and a few months down the line you’ll have built up quite a sizeable stash.
Alternatively, if cash isn’t your thing and you’d rather not bother with the hassle of withdrawing it just to put it in a piggy bank, then set yourself up a flex saver account on your mobile banking app. Then, every time you decide to pass on that coffee or that second glass of wine, transfer what you would have spent straight into that flex saver in just a few clicks. As well as being a excellent saving method, it also allows you to keep tabs on your spending habits.
2. Be smarter with your bills
Do you know how much you’re spending on gas and electric each month? Do you get a bill through the post and just pay it without any refute?
Well, don’t be so quick to, as you could save a whole lot of money if you inquire about your bills. Get quotes from different service providers and go for cheaper payment methods, such as paying by direct debit, to make significant savings.
What’s more, direct debits are handy because once you’ve set one up you no longer need to think about where that money is going. Why not set one up for right after you get paid, so that each month a portion of the money goes straight from your current account into a savings account. You can’t miss what you never had, right?
3. Get a side-hustle
This might not be for everyone and is dependent on your time or resources, but if you’re finding that excessive cutbacks just aren’t feasible for you, getting a part-time job is a great way to earn, and save, some extra pocket money.
If you’re saving for that designer handbag, or maybe your credit card bill is going to be quite significant this month, then why not consider freelance work, bar/café work or even babysitting.
4. Become a bargain hunter and top seller
an excellent way to become a frugal shopper if you are not one (hello), is to set yourself tasks and deadlines. For example, rather than buying branded smoothie drinks from your local supermarket, say to yourself you’re only going to buy the budget version, or not buy it at all, for a whole month. You can get creative with this method, and you’ll be surprised at how unnecessarily luxurious your shopping habits are.
Alongside this, get savvy on online shopping markets such as eBay and Depop. This way you can clear out all your unwanted clothes and accessories (or whatever miscellaneous items you have lying around) and sell them to someone who will give them a good home. You will not only get some extra cash, but you will have an organized wardrobe and will have gained a new skill as an eCommerce saleswoman – it’s a win-win!
5. Seek financial advice
If you just can’t seem to get on top of your finances, no matter what you try, and you have gotten yourself into a lot of unsecured debt (e.g., credit card bills), you should prioritize getting legal, financial advice. After all, being in debt can induce emotional stress and take a psychological toll, so it’s important to ask for help as early on as possible.
Some organizations will help you work out what you can pay and can consolidate your loan and debt into smaller payments to make it seem less overwhelming. Private services like Creditfix offer to set up debt management plans or Trust Deeds depending on your situation to help you get back on track by assessing your affordability and freezing interest rates, which is a great option if things are looking bad.
Seeking legal aid will take off a lot of the pressure and ensure that things don’t get worse and that your credit score (and emotional wellbeing) doesn’t suffer.
By following these 5 steps, you should be well on your way to saving some money and getting on track with your finances! Say hello to that new flat, or goodbye to that student debt. Good luck!