Sunday 9 October 2022

4 Steps I'm Taking to Help Build My Savings

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Right now, times are uncertain for most of us and it's a real worry. With the prices of most things including food, energy and even fuel going up, worrying about money is only natural. Over the last few years with the pandemic, furlough, job uncertainty and the rising costs of products and bills, many of us, myself included, will have found ourselves dipping into our savings at some point, or wishing we had a savings pot to dip into and make things a little easier. The fact is people have savings for many different reasons, some are saving for a specific goal, a house or car, some like to have the safety net of a savings net and some might just be saving "for the future". 

But the fact is, whatever you are saving for, there are probably a few things you could change or adapt to help you increase your savings a little quicker. So, if you are like us and trying to build up your savings pot, here are some top tips to do just that. 

Limit your access

Whilst it's obviously important to be able to access your money in an emergency, having your savings sat around within easy reach can make it too tempting to spend it when you don't really need too. For example, keeping money in your current account, whilst it might feel safe being in the bank this can easily be swallowed up by unexpected bills or used on a whim when out. The same goes for keeping money in things like a safe or in cash etc. 

Instead try finding a good savings account to place your savings into instead. Whilst in the current climate you may struggle to get a good rate, it is still worth shopping around, comparing accounts and seeing which one works best for you. It is also worth considering things other than the rate such as ease of access to your money, do you want a branch you can physically go into? can you pay money in online? you want the process of paying money into the account to be as easy as possible and be getting the best rate back. 

Make use of apps & online tools

Technology is definitely our friend when it comes to managing savings and it can be so useful to use it to stay on track and make sure you are getting the most out of your savings too. Sites such as savingscalculator.org take all the guess work out of working out your savings with all you needing to do is enter the numbers/amounts into designated boxes. The savings calculator can then work out everything for you including amount deposited, interest earnt and even the annual percentage yield. 

Another great app for this is Emma which correlates all of your financial information and tracks your incomings and outgoings in real time, even providing you with budgeting and financial reports. This can help you see where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back. 

There is also Plum which works by linking to your bank account and analysing ways that you could be saving money. It also offers a feature called roundups where Plum will round up any spend to the nearest pound and then deposit the difference in a savings jar, super handy for those who shop online a lot, and you barely even realise you are missing the extra little bits that are taken for rounding up. 

Check your outgoings & cut back

You may think you are on top of your incomings and outgoings and that you don't spend on anything you don't have to. But over time we sign up to things or splurge on things without even realising it which is why it is so important to go through your outgoings rigorously from time to time. Perhaps you signed up to a tv subscription, music subscription or forgot to cancel a free trial for something and are now being charged? Or have you started grabbing lunch on the go more often, more spending in your weekly shop on non-essentials? 

Whilst all of these may sound like really small expenses, they actually all add up, especially if you have more than one and when you consider the cost over several months or even a year! It is also worth checking that the things you are signed up for, you still use. For example, I had an ultimate reward account with my bank, but I wasn't using any of the benefits really and could have been saving myself £20 a month for over year by just switching to a normal current account! It is so easily done but also so simply to check too so make sure you are checking regularly (perhaps ever 3 months or so) and readjust as needed. 

Set reasonable & specific goals 

If you are saving for something big (for us, it's a house deposit!) it can feel overwhelming being faced with such a large figure that you need to save and then put you off even starting as you might feel it impossible. Instead break it down, get to £1000, then £2000 etc, celebrate with something small each time you reach your goal, for us it will be something small for the house for when we eventually reach out goal! 

Another thing to remember when saving is that whilst it's important to set reasonable goals, it's also important to have reasonable expectations on the amount you can save too. Instead of jumping in with a crazy figure you "hope" to be able to put away each month, work out what you can actually afford. Ideally work out what you can afford to saved based on the minimum amount you are likely to earn. This way you know you will always have that amount to put away and on the months you have more, you can give your savings a boost. It may seem like this way will take longer but it will actually enable you to be more likely to stick to the goal and put into the savings on a regular, reliable basis rather than just "as and when". 

Times are hard for a lot of us right now so most importantly remember to be kind to yourself! Saving isn't a quick or easy game, and it is all about making those little changes that will eventually add up. If you have a bad month or a month you cannot afford to set anything aside into savings don't beat yourself up about it, as long as you have tried your best just move on and try again next month. 

Hopefully these tips can be useful for some, if you have any more money saving tips to share, please do so in the comments below, I would love to hear them and by sharing our tips and tricks we can all help each other. 


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