There’s nothing magic about saving money. But you need a certain amount of self-discipline to have something left in your account at the end of the month. You could start, for example, by asking yourself whether you ever spend money unnecessarily – and if you do it too often. Or whether a detailed savings plan would help you to regularly set something aside for a rainy day. After all, it takes time to make your dreams a reality. Here are a few tips to help you save effectively.
1. Be the boss of your spending
To start saving, you first need to get a grip on your spending. Try making a note of every drink, ticket and even toothbrush you buy. Only once you have a clear overview of your expenses will you know whether you need to tighten your purse strings a little or if you can still treat yourself every once in a while.
2. Give things up instead of spending
Still have nothing left for your savings account at the end of the month? Then it might be time to give up one or two things, whether you like it or not. Work out where you could spend less money. Perhaps you could cancel a subscription you haven’t used for ages, ride your bike instead of taking the bus, wear your old trainers for another year or, better yet, stop smoking. Taking time to think before making major purchases usually pays off, too, as you suddenly realise you can do without whatever you were going to buy and top up your savings account instead.
3. Keeping a budget always helps
As soon as you know how much you are spending each month, you can start to create a budget. This should show how your expenses stack up against your income. It will also give you clarity the next time you look at a new pair of trainers in a shop and wonder whether you should buy them. A quick look at your budget plan will reveal the answer – although it might disappoint you! By doing this, you can always keep an eye on your spending and know how much you can put aside at the end of the month. Ideally this would be at least 10 per cent of your income.
4. Top up your savings account by standing order
Set up a standing order to transfer money from your current account to your savings account. This will get you much closer to your savings goals than transferring larger sums occasionally whenever you think of it. Set it up to transfer the money whenever you get paid – and watch your savings account grow slowly but surely.
5. Set savings goals
It helps so much to know what you’re saving for, as this means you’ll never be tempted to lose your motivation. Want to take a trip to New York in three years’ time, buy a new skateboard or save for your first car? No matter what you want, having a clear goal to aim for makes saving easier.
6. Fill your life with experiences, not things
We often buy completely unnecessary things that we hardly ever use. Put a stop to this kind of spending so that you can fulfil your savings dreams. You can save a lot of money if you put your time and energy into making great memories with friends instead of making luxury purchases. A barbecue in the great outdoors, a picnic by the lake or a walk in the woods all cost next to nothing but give you so much more pleasure. With the help of tip 6, both saving and life in general will be more fun. In short, don’t get enticed by unnecessary purchases, put a bit of money aside regularly and set clear savings goals. If you do that, one day you’ll be able to give yourself the best gift of all – by bringing your dreams to life.