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Saving money can be tough. Between credit card bills and the weekly shop, how can you make sure you put a little away for a rainy day? The trick is making small changes that will mean you rack up savings over time. Just think: if you can save £84 every month, that adds up to £1,000 saved over the course of a year!
To help you make those changes, we’ve got four simple tips for you to follow. Whether you adopt them immediately or want to test the waters by trying just one of them, you’ll be taking a positive step towards increasing your savings.
The 52-week challenge encourages you to gradually increase the amount of money you put away and is a great way for people starting from scratch. You begin by putting away just £1. The week afterwards you save £2, and you keep increasing the amount by £1 until you’ve done so for 52 weeks.
Doing this will mean you save £1,378 by the end of the challenge – a great amount for anyone looking forward to a holiday or a new car. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to keep increasing the amount you put away, complete some weeks out of order. That way you can put away £30 or £40 if you happen to have it spare, and only save £2 or £3 when things are looking tighter. Use a calendar to track each week and start watching your money rack up.
Another approach you can take is making sure you save your money right at the start of the month. It can be tempting to wait until the end, transferring any spare money you have left after all of your outgoings. However, you’ll often be tempted to spend any buffer you accumulate throughout the month.
By doing so at the start, you’ll be able to enjoy everything the month throws at you knowing you’ve already set some money aside. If you’ve never done this before, you should start with small amounts to ensure you don’t end up in the red when important bills come.
You may not know just how much money you spend commuting to, eating at, and coming home from work five times a week. According to the Daily Mail, the average Brit spends £160 a month commuting to work, and work lunches are a small expense that can seriously add up when made every Monday to Friday. Try to cut down on these expenses by cycling to work and preparing your own meals every day.
Many modern workplaces have cycle schemes that can help you purchase a bike by gradually removing the cost of it from your wages. This will lessen the impact on your payslip, and once the bike is paid off, you could be making big savings while staying healthy. For those who live too far away to cycle, you can still save around £1,200 a year by making your own meals rather than eating out at lunchtime.
Perhaps the biggest culprit of wasted money are those impulse buys that you swear you’ll use. That is until you realise how many previous purchases are still gathering dust around your home. From books that go unread to DIY tools put down indefinitely, the Mirror reported that in a survey of over 1,000 adults, 94% admitted they buy more things than they actually need.
How do you sort out what you want from what you need? Patience is key. If you find yourself wanting something, put off buying it and see if you still want it the next day or even a week later. Use the rule that if you want something three times, you should consider buying it, and you may be surprised how much more responsible your spending becomes.
For information about saving money visit the gaffgaff money blog.