If someone asks how much money you saved last month, do you start to feel flustered? If yes, then you aren’t alone, as according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) 34% of adults had either no savings, or less than £1000 in a savings account.
But we are currently living through a cost of living crisis; facing high utility bills and staggering prices on food, making it even harder to save each month.
Due to these circumstances the thought of saving can feel overwhelming, but there are small life changes you can make to save a little extra each month. The good news is that it’s never too late to start saving.
It’s important to view your savings pot as a marathon, not a sprint - saving little and often will soon make a big difference. Plus, interest rates on savings accounts are the highest they’ve been in years with some regular savings accounts offering up to 7.5%.
With this in mind, here are our top tips for saving more of your money.
The first step of saving is to decide what you want to save for. If you have a goal in mind this will make it easier to cut back on spending or say no to events that might put pressure on your finances. For example, do you want to save for your first home? Or maybe you want to boost your retirement fund. These goals will keep you on the right track.
A good way to save some extra cash is to not spend any money on certain days. For example, decide to cut costs on five days each month or have at least one weekend where you don’t spend any money.
When was the last time you reviewed your bills? Set aside some time next weekend and audit your monthly utility bills to see whether you can make any savings. Contact your providers to discuss whether there are opportunities to reduce the cost of your bills or comparison websites like Uswitch can help you to get a better deal on your broadband or mobile phone.
During the bills audit, you can also review your bank statements to see if there are any wayward subscriptions that you don’t need anymore. Remember that random app you downloaded a year ago? Well, it’s costing you an extra £3 a month. Delete these direct debits and move the money you were spending on these extras to a savings account.
Prices are soaring across the UK, and wages aren't keeping up. To help people manage the cost of living crisis, here are our guides to saving on bills, dealing with debt and raising some extra cash
If there is something that you need to buy, it’s always worth researching whether there is a discount code to get some extra money off. For example, first time buyers can normally get an extra 10% discount for a newsletter sign-up.
That being said, if you have a lot of retail newsletters in your inbox it might be a good idea to delete them. Retailers will email regularly with their latest products, providing a temptation to shop. Emails will also flood in around payday and this could cause you to shop when you should be saving money. Instead, delete the emails and any shopping apps so it’s out of sight and out of mind.
If you have a tight budget each month, then try withdrawing the set amount of cash you need and only spend the physical money. It can sometimes be too easy to tap our debit cards and forget our budgets. Alternatively you could also use a prepaid card as this would work in the same way - just watch out as fees could be involved.
A number of high street banks are offering a switching incentive to entice new customers. So, if you would like to earn some extra money to add into your savings pot, consider switching current accounts and you could get up to £200.
Do you have clothes hanging in your wardrobe that you don’t wear anymore? Or maybe some unloved Christmas presents that could go to a better home? Try to sell these items on secondhand websites like Depop, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace and then add this extra money to your savings pot.
Giveaways are very popular with brands on social media as it helps to grow their audience, so try and enter a few competitions each month to see whether you can win anything. From a luxury holiday to £1,000 - you have to be in it, to win it.
Petrol prices are high and this could be draining your budget, so whenever you can leave the car at home and walk instead. Not only will you be saving money but it’s good for your step count too!
Some banking apps, like Chase and Monzo, have the option to round-up your spare change when you spend using their debit cards. This can be an easy way to save money without even realising it. I tried it last month and I now have nearly £20 in my round-up pot!
Finally, one of the best ways to save money is to implement a plan on payday. A popular way to save is the 50/30/20 rule as it encourages you to put 50% of your budget towards bills, 30% towards fun and 20% goes straight into savings.
As a trained journalist, Lucinda has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles, including The Mirror, WalesOnline and Manchester Evening News. She is now a personal finance editor and specialises in savings, helping people to make confident financial decisions so they can save for what matters most.