If there is one thing I’ve learned in adolescence, it’s that things are expensive and a hundred pounds does not go far. Sometimes I think back to the days where I managed to make my pocket money stretch over an entire month, still having some to spare and think ‘boy, those were the days’. Now I work sixteen hours a week and I’m lucky if I can afford a McFlurry at the end of it. Combine this with the fact that I am somewhat a shopaholic and suddenly I’m basically bankrupt.
Now, I’m not cut out for a life with no spending money- it’s never going to happen; so I work hard to ensure that I’ve got enough saved for the big events, holidays, car payments, etc. while still having enough to splurge when the Zara sale rolls around.
The ‘365 Day Money Saving Challenge‘
This is a new thing that I was introduced to at the end of last year for beginning 2016. My mum and I both pledged to do it in the hopes that, by the end of it, a holiday could be on the cards. The theory behind it is incredibly simple and extremely worthwhile if all goes well. On the first of January you put away a penny, on the second its two pence, and so on and so on. And eventually, if all goes correctly, on the 31st of December you end up with £667.95. The chart is optional, but I don’t remember to put the money away every single day so it helps me keep track with where I get to. This is a great one for all the random change you have lying around or making your purse weigh a ton. I’ve went ahead, putting away every day until June 1st, and so far I have around £125 that feels like it has come from nowhere. The only downside to this is that it does start becoming quite a lot to put away, especially if you’re doing a week at a time or so on. To counteract this I’ve found a lot of people recommending to do it backwards, starting with £3.65 on January 1st and working your way down to a penny, this way it becomes more of a reward on a day to day basis as the amount you’re putting away gets smaller. And this doesn’t just have to be started as the new year starts, the specific chart I’m using isn’t dated and so it can be started at any time.
Save Your Change
If you’re not interested in this method, then simply saving your change can build up to quite a lot. I have a separate bank just for this, my tips from every shift, the change I get at the shop, if I find 20p on the ground- it all goes in there. I don’t carry anything smaller than a pound coin in my purse, because I don’t use anything smaller. I wouldn’t find myself standing at a counter counting out ten pence pieces- so why bother taking them? There are generally change machines in every supermarket, sometimes in banks as well. Otherwise you can bag up your change, take it to local cafes etc. in exchange for notes. In a way, it feels like free money.
Split Your Wage
Admittedly, this one is easier for me as I’m paid cash in hand. I started at my job just covering a couple of shifts for someone and the cash in hand thing has always just stuck. Every week, I try and put away £50 of my wages, leaving the rest to spend. I have quite a good mindset for this. Monthly I put £200 into the bank, and once it’s there I have the attitude that it’s not really my money. In my brain the money in the bank is not mine to spend. Growing up with both of my parents being self employed has meant that they’ve only every really paid with cash, and I’ve just adapted to that way of life. You will rarely find me at an ATM and I never pay with card in store, unless I’ve left my money at home or something. If you’re not paid cash in hand like me, then I’d recommend doing the opposite to me, and withdrawing what your planning on spending (sort of like an allowance) or setting up a savings account. Don’t leave yourself with nothing, but if your money isn’t easily accessible, then you’re not going to spend it.
Track Your Expenses
I’ve been tracking my expenses for a while but have only recently found a way to make it work effectively. It surprised me how much money I was spending when I first started doing this, especially considering how little I was earning at the time. I didn’t do this in the most effective way that I could, and if you’ve seen my bullet journal post then you’ll see how I set up my actual expense chart, but this is one I did when I was experimenting to see what would work best for me… the figures aren’t real before anyone shouts at me for spending so much. In all honesty, what I do spend is not far from this some months, however, what I spend it on is a lot more reasonable know that I get that shock at the end of each month. As a new on begins, I also set myself a goal to spend less in the new month than I had in the previous. I like to split it into three categories, this way its easier for me to see, for example with this month, that I’ve spent far too much money on fashion items and as a secondary goal, I’ll try and make sure to cut that down.
These methods might not work for you, but if you try then let me know and let me know what you are doing too because I’m always looking to improve my savings. With a combination of them all of these I’ve managed to cut down (at least I think I have…) over the past year or so and have started to think about planning for the future with my savings because unfortunately, new laptops and new cars don’t grow on trees.
PS. When I sat down to write this I did have 5 tips, hence it is going into my top 5 category, but I’ve somehow managed to forget the last one (always take notes when you’re planning a post, lesson learned). If I remember what it was I’ll share my thoughts on twitter, follow me @humblehollywood.