How to save without really trying

Most of the people I know are saving for something at the moment, be it a wedding, their first home, a big holiday, a honeymoon, or home improvements.  Definitely a side effect of being an adult!  I know a lot of people who have changed their lifestyles in order to save – I have friends who have moved back to their parents’ house in order to save more, or people who are working two (or three) jobs in order to increase their disposable income and be able to put more away every month.  It can be a really tough thing to do, and when you’re in the midst of saving it can also seem pretty miserable.

Having saved for our Trek America trip, our wedding and our honeymoon all in the last year, I’ve picked up a few tips here and there for how to save for a large purchase or big savings goal.  I thought I’d share a few things I’ve done in the past to try and make saving a little more pain-free.

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move the small change
One thing I did when we were saving for Trek America was to move any ‘non round numbers’ into my savings fund when checking my balance online.  What I mean by this is I have my two accounts, showing in my online banking, and when my current account balance isn’t a round number (to the nearest £10), I move the difference into my savings.  So, say I have £124.97 in my current account, I would move £4.97 into my savings account.  I do this every time I check my online banking and you don’t really notice those few pounds going out, but they really do add up!

declutter and sell
I know a lot of people have a big declutter anyway when they start saving (it’s a bit of a no brainer), but I do think it really helps to have a ruthless clearout.  There’s lots of different ways you can make money through the things you don’t use any more – you can sell unwanted vouchers on Zeek, books on Amazon, clothes on Depop – just make sure all of the money you make goes into your savings fund and not on new shoes (so tempting!)

pay yourself a monthly bill
One other trick is to ‘pay yourself’ a monthly bill when you’re paying your others.  If most of your bills or outgoings are around the £20 mark, you could get into a routine of paying yourself £20 into your savings account every month along with your other bills.  You’ll hardly notice it at the time but again, it will all add up.

have a coin or denomination you always save
I know a lot of people who’ve had success with saving a particular coin or note, like £2 coins or £5 notes.  The thinking is that if you ferry these coins off to a savings jar or pot, this too will all build up without you really noticing.  Make sure you then pay these into your bank on a regular basis so that you’re not tempted to dip into them when you have to go out for some milk!

continue ‘paying off’ debts even after they’re cleared
Once you’ve cleared a big debt it can be easy to get used to having an extra £50 or £100 in your current account, and it so often just gets absorbed back into your day to day spending.  I find a good way to overcome this is to ‘continue’ to pay off the debt by putting the same payment into your savings account.  It’ll feel like you’re still paying the debt but instead it will be building up in your savings.

check your direct debits
It’s so easy to end up with bags of direct debits that you pay every month without really questioning them.  I tend to ‘audit’ my direct debits every couple of months and ask myself if I still need that magazine subscription, insurance policy or beauty box.  I know so many people who carry on paying insurance policies for phones they no longer have, and I myself am guilty of keeping magazine subscriptions even though they just end up piling up by the front door and making me feel guilty.  It’s good to have a little review every so often and see what you can remove or reallocate.

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