It’s always wise to have some money put aside for a rainy day, but sometimes saving is easier said than done. It takes a reasonable income, at least one that is higher than your outgoings, as well as discipline and motivation. Those on a lower wage might feel like saving money isn’t feasible, but it can be done if you manage your finances properly and are willing/able to make small sacrifices. If you want to save money and quickly, here are some steps you need to take to achieve this.
Set Realistic Goals
Whether you’re saving for a holiday, Christmas or just want to start putting away money in general, first of all, you need to decide how much money you can put away a month. CAN is the operative word here, as although you might want to see your savings rise, if you’re putting away more than you can afford each month, your stockpile will eventually dwindle. You will quickly find yourself dipping into your savings to top up your weekly allowances. As such, you need to realistic about your lifestyle and how much you will be spending each month to determine a good monthly savings goal.
Another useful trick to help you save money is taking the time to search for sales and discount codes/vouchers. There are usually several discount options available for big brands, such as these Argos discount codes that you can find online. It’s worth using them for department stores such as this, as you can then make larger purchases on household items at a good price. There will also be plenty available for other retailers like fashion brands, make-up, books, etc.
Make a Meal Plan
Planning your weekly meals is a good way to help your budget. If you go to the supermarket unsure of what you want to buy, this can lead to you filling your trolley with unnecessary purchases that may well be wasted later in the week. By thinking ahead, you can write down a shopping list with all the ingredients and other items you will need and not risk wasting food or time browsing the aisles. Consider making dishes that you can cook in batches and freeze, as they will last longer and might help reduce how often you need to shop.
Choose Own-Brand Items
If you usually buy name brands for household items, consider switching to the supermarket’s own-brand products instead. They will work just as well but can be remarkably cheaper and you will notice how much you can save on your shop by making this switch.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Cutting back on luxuries is one of the sacrifices you will have to make to save money. Although it’s important to allow yourself some treats on occasion, if you are signed up to subscription services that you don’t need, think about cancelling them. Even if they don’t seem that expensive, it all adds up over time – £10 a month is still £120 a year. Also think about how often you use memberships for places such as the gym: if you don’t go often enough to make it worth it, cancel it and put the money into your savings instead.
If you tend to go out every weekend with your friends, this will certainly be cutting into your finances a lot. It’s good to have a healthy social life and enjoy yourself, but dinners at restaurants and drinking at trendy bars can cost a small fortune if you do this regularly. This doesn’t mean you have to stop seeing your friends, but perhaps instead invite them over to your place for dinner and drinks one night, or suggest that you take it in turns to host each other. This will save you all a lot of money, yet you’ll still be maintaining a good social life. On the occasions that you do go out for dinner, choose restaurants that are offering special discounts to reduce the cost even further.
There a plenty of things you can re-use at home, such as water bottles, glass jars, plastic containers and old sheets to name but a few. Instead of buying dusters, cut up an old bedsheet and use that as a cleaning rag. You can make homemade pasta sauces and soups, keeping them in the glass jars in the fridge or plastic containers that you get from takeaways, etc. You could even use some glass jars and decorate them to make cute candle holders and decorative items at home.
Switch Things Off
Energy bills are a necessity that you will need to factor into your budget, but to save money on these costs, make sure you’re being smart at home. Switch the lights off when you leave a room, turn the TV set off at the mains when you’re not watching and consider washing your clothes on a quick-wash setting. These small changes could end up saving you a lot on your energy bills in the long run.
Check Your Insurance
If you have a car, home, phone or other items that are insured, check comparison sites to see if you can get a better deal. If you don’t want to make a switch, notify your provider that you have seen better deals elsewhere to see if they are willing to offer you a reduced price. Many places will do this if you ask, as they don’t want to lose their customers to another provider.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Trying to Save
If you are trying to save for something specific, it’ll help to keep you motivated if you’re reminding yourself of your goals every day. Have a picture or stick notes somewhere you will see them each morning and use them as a kind of mantra to keep you focused.
Saving can be a challenge, and it might take you some time to get yourself into the swing of things, but once you see your stash getting bigger, this should give you even more motivation to keep going. You might not be able to follow all of the points above, but even one or two will help you to start making a difference.