Top Tips For Saving Money

We all have at least one goal we work towards. My goal is to own my own house with a nice garden, and fill it with dogs. Stewart and I always talk about how the day we get a dog will be the best day of our lives, and we need our own place to facilitate that, so we are working towards saving for a deposit. Living in Brighton where rent is very high and wages don't reflect the increasing cost of living, saving money towards the approximate £30,000 we need is pretty tough. However, we are determined to get that pupper, so we've cut back where we can and have learnt little tips for saving where possible over the past couple of I thought I'd share in case they are useful!

1. Transfer a set amount into a savings account as soon as your wages come in. 

When I started working full-time, my mum gave me this little tip and it is probably the most useful one of all. It has allowed us to know our savings are steadily growing regardless of what else we spend that month. As soon as that money comes in on payday, transfer or set up a direct debit for however much you realistically think you can afford to put away that month, whether it be £50 or £250. Having that money set aside in an account that you can't dip into (save for emergencies), means you know you'll always have that amount to fall back on.

2. Batch cook and plan out your meals. 

We have a weekly planner whiteboard on our fridge, and it is both a blessing and a curse. God I hate thinking of meals that aren't repetitive or boring, but it does really help us to focus our shopping list and only get the things we need for those meals, rather than buying a load of things we 'fancy' but don't actually go together in a meal. This minimises food waste and also saves money in the long run. We often make a two or three of those meals 'batch meals' during the week; it's only the two of us so making a family size meal means that Stewart has leftovers for his shift meals (saving money on Tesco meal deals and snacks!), or we can freeze them for a quick dinner another time. Instead of paying for Dominos or a ready meal, we can dip into the freezer for free!

3. Cut out the morning coffee trips!

Caffeine is a must for me- I can barely function without a cup or two of the good stuff in the morning. However, if you're someone who gets a latte to go every morning, this could be £15-20 saved every week....up to £80 a month, just by cutting this out and opting for making your own coffee at work or taking in a travel mug.

4. Bring lunches into work.

I absolutely hate having to prepare our lunches each day. It's boring, but the organisation is key for saving a bit of dolla here and there. (Note: batch meals are very handy for this, and if you're super organised then you can even batch plan your lunches for the week....that's a bit too much effort for me though). You can save around £100 a month just by bringing in a lunchbox instead of heading to the supermarket every day come 1pm. I also bring in my snacks for the day (fruit pots, yoghurts, popcorn etc) so that I know I have healthy food there to eat rather than feeling the need to nip out and get chocolate and crisps. Don't get me wrong, sometimes chocolate is necessary if you're having a really crap day...but preparing your work food does help towards those savings!

5. Walk wherever you can. 

I know this won't apply to everyone, but I for one am lucky enough to live within walking distance from work. I used to get the bus there and back, but my New Year's resolution this year was to ditch public transport and walk the hour and a half round trip in a bid to be healthier. And I've actually stuck to it! Not getting the bus saves me about £80 a month, gives my legs a stretch, and gives me some 'me time' in the morning as I stroll along listening to my podcasts (plus the fresh morning air wakes me up on my journey). I've grown to love it and it's one of my favourite parts of my day. Even when going into town or visiting Stewart's parents, we try to walk when we can. It's a chance for us to have an undistracted chat and work off the brunch on a Saturday morning.

6. Look at different bank accounts.

I had never moved my money around until last year. I'd stuck with the same savings account I'd had since I was around 18, offering no interest or perks at all....but I was convinced that switching bank accounts would be a faff so I put it off (for 6 years, lol). Stewart is on it when it comes to these things, so luckily he helped me shop around and find a savings account that offers a good interest rate. You do have to move money, shop around and look out for offers, but it is worth it once your savings start to grow. Any interest on your savings is better than none and it all helps!

7. Give yourself a set amount for treats. 

All this effort going into saving money is great, but it's so important to remember to reward yourself too (I recently wrote about my struggle with this...check it out here!). Another nugget of wisdom from my mum is that you should set aside an amount for you to enjoy each month (with the amount depending on your budget). I'm still not very good at this, but I'm slowly starting to chill out and splash some cash on myself. Usually, my monthly treat allowance goes on 'date nights'; Stewart and I will go to the cinema, out for a meal, or go on an adventure, but within this we will look for any deals or offers we can take advantage of. There's no point working so hard if you can't enjoy it!

8. Discount cards!

I don't know where I'd be without these; my 16-25 railcard saves me so much alone as I get the train to visit my family quite a lot. The railcard costs £30 per year but saves you 1/3 on all tickets, so if you travel a lot by train it is definitely worth it. Trains to see my family would be £30-40 a pop usually, so I make this money back after 3 visits. If you qualify for one, NUS cards are also incredibly useful and can save anything from 10% to 20% in loads of different shops; again, you easily make up the cost of one through what you save, so get one if you can!

What are your top tips for saving money?

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  1. Wow Brighton must be expensive if you need as much as £30,000! I count us very lucky that we managed to get a good sized garden for the price of our first house (thought we would get a yard if anything) but we only saved £11,000 before we looked at getting a mortgage. I mean people in the North of the country where I live still find saving difficult but that sounds like it would take forever for your average person.

    1. Yeah Brighton prices you're looking at £300k for a central flat...just outside its around £300k for an OK house! Makes me tempted to move up North....


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