In the past, every time I set out to start increasing my savings prospects, I always got confused and quickly gave up. However, this time round I put in extra effort, and now I feel as though I’m in control of my finances and can start seriously putting cash to one side.
I not only want to save to ensure I have a pot of money to fall back on during tricky times, but also so I can treat myself. After all, you won’t feel motivated to save if you can never buy yourself something you’ve had your eye on for a while.
The first thing I did was set up a savings account, as that way I could have no excuse not to start placing a portion of my monthly wage into it. I choose to do this by direct debit, so it automatically comes out of my regular account, helping my savings to quickly build up.
There are plenty of products to choose from, with a cash ISA one of the best available. While a limit is imposed on how much you can stash away within the financial year, it’s several thousand pounds, so if you’re starting out saving, this should easily be enough. The money you save into an ISA does not get taxed, so while you might find the interest is not as high as instant access accounts, you have the benefit of your cash being kept away from the taxman.
As I mentioned, instant access savings accounts are another option and do what they say on the tin. You can put as much cash away as you wish and draw it out immediately. This is great for emergencies, or when you need money in your hand for a holiday or car deposit, for example. Interest rates tend to be more favourable than cash ISAs, although keep in mind you will pay tax on these.
To start yourself off before your next wage, hunt around your house for loose change. According to Lloyds TSB, the average Brit has £14.15 in coins in jars, drawers, bags and other places, which totals almost £320 million between us. One in ten of those surveyed admitted to having between £50 and £100 in change scattered across their abode, which is certainly a good enough amount to kick start saving with.
One of my favourite ways to raise more funds to save is sticking to a strict budget. This might sound a bit boring on the surface, but you can easily make it fun. Give yourself an amount you cannot go over during your weekly shop and then try and find the best deals in the supermarket. You’ll start to reassess whether or not you always need to buy brands, and I find writing a weekly menu plan also helps me stick to my allowance. Otherwise, I’m prone to wandering aimlessly down aisles picking up things I don’t need!
While your savings are building up, you might find yourself in a position where an unexpected bill needs to be paid, but you haven’t got enough money yet to cover it. One option is to take out a quick payday loan. The difference with this type of loan compared to others is that you borrow a small amount of cash over a short period, with the aim of you clearing the debt and the interest when you next get paid.
You might find this a better option than skipping your mortgage or gas payment in order to cover a car or home repair, for example, as this can quickly lead to you playing constant catch-up and jeopardising your ability to save.
How do you try and save as much money as possible each month? Leave your top tips below to inspire others!