Disclaimer – I have not been paid by any of the apps to mention them in this post. Please do your own research on which would be the best fit for your own personal, financial situation.
Saving is difficult. What we need are easy, actionable ideas that change the way we think about putting aside a part of our wages for a rainy day.
Here are 6 ideas to consider:
We’re kicking off with my favourite. It may not be the most practical approach in this ever increasingly cashless world, but it’s certainly one that has helped me.
With over 2000 years of history attached to this method of saving, Terramundi pots offer a great way of saving your cash.
With only one opening, once you pop your coin into your pot there’s no getting it back until you smash it open; it’s a method that forces you to be fully committed to looking after those pennies. For added commitment, get a customised one with a loved one’s name on it (although if you break up this could curb the motivation and be a trigger to want to smash it open).
Obviously, only putting coppers and low end silvers in wouldn’t amount to much; these pots (depending on their size) can store up to £1,000 worth of £2 coins after all. But if you stick to some self-determined rules, you can build up quite the treasure chest.
Personally, I stick to £2 coins. Anytime I use cash, if I ever receive one as change I never spend it and add it to my pot. £2 coins are frequent enough to build up a sizeable amount, but not too frequent so that you leave yourself short and unable to spend the cash you have in your pocket.
This is particularly helpful for anyone with a job that benefits from cash tips. Learn to live without your tips, and at the end of the night, stick them straight into the pot. By the end of the year who knows how much you could have accumulated.
Internet banking savings pots
Making your savings visually pleasing to look at has an incredibly positive psychological impact on your savings motivation.
With the help of banks such as Monzo and Starling and just a few clicks, you can divide your savings into various pots (complete with relevant picture), to help you achieve your savings goals.
Most of these apps also allow you to set yourself targets based on how much you want to save and what date you want that amount saved by.
Seeing this visual representation of your savings goals gives you a sense of progress, especially if you’re making small but regular contributions. Simply seeing that bar creeping closer towards your goal could be all the motivation you need to see some financial progress.
Rounding-up your spending
Continuing with the app based banking ‘love-in’, many of these banks offer the option to round up your spending to the nearest specified amount.
Spend £2.20 on your morning coffee? This feature automatically sends the 80p difference (if you’ve set your amount to save up to the nearest pound) into your designated savings pot.
This might not seem like an overly significant amount, but imagine doing that over the course of a year…
260 weekdays in a year (not accounting for annual leave, bank holidays and leap years)
That’s £208 you didn’t have before, and that you have barely noticed coming out of your account with each transaction. Of course, this is also merely a calculation based on coffee expenditure and could be multiple times this amount if we include weekly food shops, clothing, cinema trips etc.
This could also be compounded with the introduction of banking and budgeting apps that allow you to invest these small amounts (PLUM and Moneybox to name a few). Such companies partner with banks or investments firms to allow you to put these small amounts to work in the market. Taking this approach will require some understanding about risk, but you could help your small savings go even further by doing this.
Start small and be realistic
There is nothing more demotivating than not reaching a goal, or seeing that goal up a long and distant path.
So start with a manageable goal and monthly amount to save, while not leaving yourself without money to still spend on yourself.
Saving £1,000 might seem like an overwhelming amount to reach, but divide that amount across 12 months and you’ve ‘magically’ divided that into regular monthly amounts of just ~£83 per pay cheque. It’s a simple trick, and shouldn’t really need to be mentioned, but it’s always wise to learn how to walk before you learn how to run.
Use tech to your advantage
Technology in the fintech (financial technology) space is developing quicker than you can say ‘ISA’. Among the many innovations are budgeting apps that track your spending and savings across all your accounts, no matter how many you have and no matter who you bank with.
Tracking and realising where each penny goes can be a great way to find out where you can make savings in your budget and subsequently move those savings into…actual savings…or investments.
These apps can be as ‘hands-on’ as you see fit. Some will simply track your spending and give you a monthly breakdown, while others use a text feature to let you know if you need to cut back on a certain area of your spending that’s gotten a little out of control.
Here are just some examples of apps that provide these services:
- Money Dashboard
These apps can be a great way to find any wasteful and forgotten subscription services you’re still paying for, to centralise and organise your finances and track the progress you’re (hopefully) making.
Remember, each journey and approach is different. Personal finance is not a ‘one size fits’ concept, so do your own research and find what fits best for your situation. Good luck.