Everyone is plagued by the curse of Money. No matter how much we have we never have enough for what we need. No matter how much we earn we find a way of spending it all leaving certain things for ‘next month’. One of the most common expenses to be left to ‘next month’s paycheck’ is saving.
Here are four easy life hacks to make saving so easy you won’t even know you are doing it.
Treat saving like a monthly expense
Best thing I can recommend when starting to save is to treat saving like a monthly expense that you can’t avoid. Open two separate bank accounts and when you get paid take the amount you want to save and pay it into your separate savings account. It is an expense you have to cover like you would your rent, car or insurance.
Aim for a minimum of 10%-20% of your earnings to go into savings. This way you don’t feel as though you can’t survive on the remainder of the money and also you don’t start to skimp on the amount that you save every month. For example, if you are earning £1000 a month then try to save £100-£200. This will mean that you have £600 – £1200 every 6 months that can be used for anything you like.
This also means that every month you don’t have to feel guilty about the money you are spending. If it is removed from your account then you know that your expenses are safely paid and you are free to use whatever is left in your account. And as a bonus if you don’t spend whatever is left you can transfer into your savings at the end of the month before receiving your new paycheck.
The hack about taking your savings out first is that you have less money to survive on every month. But if you smart about your spending you can make it stretch much further. A good way of doing this is by starting your weekly shop at cheaper shops and then going to the more expensive shops for the items you can’t find.
Budget shops like Aldi and Lidl are great for ordinary objects but they don’t always have everything we need. For this reason, people shop at bigger premium stores to get everything they need in one go. However, my advice is, don’t be afraid to shop hop. Start your shopping at places such as Lidl and Aldi and then once you have crossed off most the things from your list then go to stores like Tescos, Sainsburys, Morrisons or M&S for the last three or four items.
This means that you are buying as few items as possible from the premium stores and are still getting everything you need. It may seem punitive to save £1 or £2 here and there. But a lot of the time these add up and you can end up saving £10-£15 off every weekly shop which equates to £40-£60 a month or £240- £360 in 6 months.
Cook in bulk and freeze
It sounds corny but it is the best way to stretch your £££. Soups, stews, sauces, curries and lasagnes all can all be made in bulk and frozen for another day. This means that every time you cook one meal you are getting a meal for free. A lot of the time food is cheaper when bought in bulk but so much of the time we only need the small pack for tonight’s dinner.
But if you buy the bigger pack and make double of what you are making you get two for one in a lot of ways. Also, it means that you have pre-cooked meals for the nights you don’t have the time or energy to cook. This will also reduce the desire for a quick Chinese, Fish ‘n Chips, Pizza or Maccy D’s.
Pack last night’s dinner for work lunch
Another huge expense is work lunch. Most people spend between £3-£5 a day on lunch. This is £15-£25 a week or £60-£100 a month. There is a small percentage of people who have the energy to pack lunch for work. But for most of us it’s a race to shower, and change, barely brushing our hair as we run to catch the bus, train, subway to work.
I know I would far rather sleep an extra 10 minutes and starve than get up early to make a sandwich. The problem is when you are at work you are starving and then the £3 for a Subway seems so worth it. Some say that you should make the sandwiches the night before but nothing is worse than a soggy BLT that has been in the fridge all night. So my hack is to always cook an extra plate for dinner. If I was cooking for one I would just cook for two and then when I was serving dinner I would always serve one portion into a
So my hack is to always cook an extra plate for dinner. If I was cooking for one I would just cook for two and then when I was serving dinner I would always serve one portion into a tupperware container. This would go straight into the fridge for the next day and would mean I could have a home cooked wholesome meal that didn’t go soggy for lunch the next day.
Anyone can save for that dream house, holiday, car, education. But in trying to get these dreams there is nothing worse than living in a constant state of “sorry I can’t because I’m saving”. So if we incorporate saving into the things we are already doing then suddenly we have so much room to do all the things we want to do and to save at the same time.
By: Kirsten Farquharson