Millenials and our spending habits has been a hot topic in the press lately. Apparently if we didn’t go out for coffee occasionally and stopped buying pre-packaged sandwiches we’d all be homeowners in no time. *eyeroll* There’s a whole debate to be had about whether or not we should even be aspiring to be homeowners but I will get in to that on another post.
Whatever it is that you’re saving money for, whether it is a deposit on a house, a holiday abroad next summer or just to have some financial security, here are some tiny changes that will help.
Commit to saving every month – Every single month without fail £50 of my salary goes directly in to a saving account. I’m lucky that my work has a savings scheme where this happens before I even see my money but you could set up a standing order from your bank account to your savings account for the day you get paid. This works really well because I never see that money so I can’t be tempted to spend it. It’s slowly growing and it’s exciting to see the number on my payslip each month.
Sign up to a Rewards account – Most banks do these accounts now. There is a small month charge but you earn money by paying your bills from the account. You also earn cashback on using your debit card. My credit card is also through my rewards account and I earn cashback on that as well. The money I accumulate in rewards then goes in to my savings account. It’s not a huge amount but every little helps.
Change where you shop – This has made such a difference to my spending habits. Other than the odd trip to Asda or Tesco for something really specific, my friend Megan and I have started doing our weekly shop at Aldi. As well as finding the odd hidden gem that you can’t find elsewhere, all of Aldi’s own brand products are excellent quality for a fraction of the price of branded, or even other supermarket own brand, products.
Switch your utility suppliers – Often we move in to a new flat/house, set up our gas, electricity, broadband, TV etc and pay the bills each month for years without thinking about it. It can be a bit of a hassle to switch, since trying to switch my gas and electricity provider I ended up in a fight between two electricity providers but my case is unusual. Usually once you’ve done your price comparisons and decided who to switch to, there’s a few forms to fill in/phone calls to make but that’s it. With regards to your broadband/TV etc, often you don’t even need to switch to save – simply phone up your current provider and tell them you’re thinking of leaving and they’ll usually offer you a better deal over the phone.
Take a packed lunch – I know this is the one that nobody wants to hear but it really does make such a difference to your spending. Doing a big weekly shop and then packing snacks and meals for the day is so much cheaper than going out and buying food from cafes, small shops on the high street and the like. It also means you can make sure you’re getting your 5 a day and eating proper meals.
Carry a water bottle – I didn’t realise how much money I spent on grabbing a drink on the go but when you start to think about how many times you do it over the course of weeks and months it soon adds up. Filling up your water bottle before you leave the house means that you’ll be keeping yourself hydrated on the go as well as saving money. Most cafes and restaurants will happily fill it up for free for you which is really handy if you’re travelling.
Set a budget – This is one I still struggle with. I’m very much the kind of person that if I need something I just buy it whether that means dipping in to my overdraft or using my credit card or not. At the start of this month I looked at my finances and worked out that after bills, and paying off some of my debts, I had £400 to spend on everything else (food, cat supplies, entertainment, travel etc) which isn’t very much at all. Needless to say, it’s a week before pay day and I’m starting to use my overdraft and I imagine next month will be the same as we approach Christmas. I will be doing a spending ban in January so watch this space for updates on that.
Do you have any money saving tips? Leave a comment below and let me know your tricks.