Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great one.
I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions, as I feel you’re setting yourself up for disappointment when you inevitably stop doing them halfway through the year. Instead, let’s try to look at it as a life change, for your entire life! For me, I want to save more money and there is no reason I cannot achieve this throughout the rest of my life.
In this article I’m going to give you 5 of the easiest ways we can all start saving more money, without putting in much effort!
1 – Make a monthly budget
The easiest way to kick start your savings is by making a budget. Most other places would suggest you have to take into account every little detail, I like to take a different and more simplified approach.
The first figure you need to work out is how much money you have coming in, after paying tax and national insurance of course (and any other financial obligations you may have), this is called your net income.
Once you have your net income, subtract all of your fixed expenses. These are your regular monthly bills, ones you most likely cannot cut back on. Subtract this from your monthly net income, this figure is where you will be able to make cut backs. For January, keep track of your travel, food shopping, phone bill etc, any type of spending that can be changed.
Then, it’s time to decide your goal, how much you’d like to save every month. This will give you a good indication of where to make cut backs: maybe buy from a cheaper supermarket, or try to reduce your phone bill, resulting in you being able to see exactly how much you can save every month.
2 – Spend Smart
Have you ever wanted to own an item so badly, you don’t care at all how expensive it is, you buy it impulsively. We’ve all been there, but generally the thing we feel like we can’t live without, isn’t really a necessity and doesn’t even fit in with our long term goals.
There is a principle called the 30-day rule, a very simple tactic to keep impulse spending to a minimum. Whenever you feel there is an item you cannot live without, consider forcing yourself not to buy it. Make a note of the item, and continue to think about whether or not you really need to buy it, and consider this for the next 30 days.
If by then, you still want to buy it, then you probably should. However, generally this will not be the case. This works because you are not denying yourself the item entirely, you are simple delaying the feeling of gratification we feel from impulse buying (and getting rid of that dreaded guilt we all feel when we realise we didn’t really need what we bought).
3 – Change the way you commute
Do you have a car but take the train to work because it’s cheaper? Maybe you could share a car with a friend, not only is it environmentally friendly, you can have a nice commute every morning and evening.
Do you live close to work but you are always caught in traffic? Consider cycling or walking. Not only does this save you money, it will also give you some exercise without putting in much effort! Making you feel great and energised for the day ahead.
4 – Reduce energy consumption
We are all guilty of leaving lights on in our homes while we are not even in them. The typical UK home spends around £500 on electricity every year, some of which could be going into your savings by making a few simple changes.
Energy-saving bulbs can quickly knock off £55 off of your bill, and they last up to ten times longer than normal bulbs. Each one can save you up to £120 over it’s lifetime, which is astonishing.
Read your meter as often as possible. Energy suppliers bill you using estimated bills, make sure to avoid this at all costs. They are essentially guessing how much energy you use in a year and then average it out, this can result in you paying much more than you have to.
5 – Unused subscriptions
Have you signed up for any 30-day free trials in the last year and forgotten to cancel it before the trial ended? You see the money come out of your account, say to yourself “I have to cancel it”, but you always forget until it’s too late?
Look over your last few statements and work out exactly how much you are paying in terms of subscriptions, I promise you will be able to find a few that you will want to cancel straight away. Even if you have a subscription to the gym and you enjoy going, do you go enough to warrant spending £70 a month? Wouldn’t you be better off buying some equipment and doing it at home?
To end, by incorporating these 5 things in your life, I can guarantee you will save more money in 2019. Let’s do it together and get ourselves a more secure financial future.