Oh the joys of being an adult, I'm in the process of saving up for a house deposit and it appears I'm not alone. Pretty much everyone I know is in the same boat, and if they're not, they're saving up for doing work on the house they've already bought, a wedding, travelling or putting money aside for when they have a baby.
A lot of us are at the point in our lives where big things are happening that we need to actively save for but we also don't want to give up the little (and not so little) things that make being an adult fun like shopping, eating out and going away so I've put together a few tips to help you save money without shopping or spending less, who knows, you might even end up in profit!
Have a clear out
First things first, have a clear out of what you already have, you'll probably find clothes you'd forgotten you have and make up that you haven't even opened yet! Put it on eBay or Depop, then you can either save what you earn or use that as a shopping budget. Try to have a clear out, however small, every month to keep on top of what you're hoarding away, it's amazing how quickly it piles up!
Tip: I tend to use the money in my PayPal for treating myself so I know that I'm not touching my bank account.
Set yourself a budget
Setting a budget can really help you stick to saving a certain amount each month, whether it's a budget for going out, online food shopping or for clothes shopping. You'll find that you'll be stricter with yourself and you'll see your savings grow.
Tip: Every time you go to buy something think 'do I really need this?', if it's yes, buy it! But if it's probably not, put it down.
Help to Buy ISA
If you are saving up to buy a house, open up a Help to Buy ISA as the government will add 25% of what you have in there when you use it to buy a house up to the value of £3,000. Find out more about it here or ask your bank.
Tip: You can move up to £1,200 in your first month and then £200 every month from then, set up a direct debit for an amount you're comfortable moving over each month so you're in control.
Use voucher codes
After working in online retail for nearly 5 years, I can tell you that there's usually a voucher code out there! If there's a voucher code box at the checkout, there's a voucher code. Even if it's just free delivery, that's a saving.
There's a few way of finding out about discounts, voucher code sites are an easy way of having them all in one place but be conscious that brands will run exclusive offers with different voucher code sites every week so have a hunt around. The best UK ones are Voucher Codes, Vouchercloud (for in store offers too) and Hot UK Deals (amazing for holidays too!). I've also just discovered Groupon Coupons that opens up a world of US voucher codes for us to pinch, from domain names to discounted Canons.
Sign up to the brand's newsletter directly and get their best offers (as well as first dibs on sales) straight to your inbox. This is great for brands that do regular email offers like Carluccio's, M and M or GAP.
Tip: You can also just ask brands and retailers, if you have a good blog and it's something that you would feature anyway, why not be a little cheeky and ask if they have a press discount? The worst they can say is no.
Don't forget cashback
Whatever you're shopping for, check if you can get cashback first. From clothes and groceries to phone contracts and travel, there is a lot of money out there that you could be earning. Like voucher code sites, brands and retailers will run exclusive offers on a weekly basis with different cashback sites so make sure to shop around, you can earn anything up to 15% cashback so it's definitely worth checking. Start with Quidco!
Tip: Some banks also offer cashback, I'm with Natwest and build up cashback every time I use my card in certain stores (places like supermarkets, coffee shops and petrol stations) so it's worth seeing if your bank offers the same. It's basically saving money without even thinking about it!
Go to charity shops
If you're obsessed with clothes shopping, try out charity shops too. Since Mary Portas' charity shop revolution around a decade ago, charity shops are now fashion conscious and you can get your hands on some really good pieces. They're also great for finding vintage mom jeans and 90's pieces!
Tip: I love shopping at Goodstock in Manchester, it's curated by students and encourages donations form bloggers so the stock is aways current and good quality. Have a look at Goodstock here and see if there is anything similar in your area.
Host a swap shop
Any excuse for a party! Instead of going shopping or out with your friends, get them all round with a bag of clothes they want to swap and have a swap shop party. You'll all get new pieces to add to your wardrobe without spending anything and have a clear out at the same time, win win.
Tip: This would also be good at work, so if you have plenty of colleagues who would be up for it, set one up in the office one evening. Have it alongside a bake sale and ask for a small donation for a ticket and you can also raise money for charity, everybody wins!
This might sound like a scary option but investing and trading shares could be a way to make money, both in the short and long term. Maybe not quite The Wolf of Wall Street, but small sensible investments could make a big difference to your bank account. Take a look at Glenmore Investment to find out more.
Hopefully this helps you to put a little more aside every month without making compromises, good luck with your saving and feel free to add more tips in the comments below!