Five Ways to Save Money (without trying too hard)
My relationship with money has had to change quite drastically this year, I've always been one of those people who just buys what they want when they want it and doesn't mind going into their overdraft to do so. To be fair I'm not really into expensive things which is rather lucky, I tend to spend my money on experiences, travel and food, mostly food... But I did always get to the end of the month and think, where has it all gone?
But this year with a baby on the way, multiple house renovations under our belt and a pretty shocking maternity pay coming my way very soon, I've had to sort myself (and my bank account) out a little. I thought I'd share a few tips and tricks that have helped me that could help you too.
Find a way to save that works for you
In the past I've tried a few different ways to put money aside each month, but I found that by the end of the month I'd always dip back in.
One of the best things I've done to combat this is sign up for Moneybox after Joe had been using it for a few months. It's an app that moves a certain amount of money from your bank account into your Moneybox account every week, then invests that money for you into stocks and shares with the aim of making you more money in the long term. You can also round up your purchases so if you spend £2.60 on a coffee, it will automatically round it up to £3 and save the 40p for you. Sometimes the investments don't pay off and there have been some months where I've been down a few pounds thanks to them so I wouldn't rely on it for that side of things.
The best thing about it is that the money is out of sight and out of mind which works well for me, I can't be trusted otherwise! So far I've had my account for about 9 months and saved just over £1,400 and made about £40 from the investments it's made for me which is better than the interest I would have got in my savings account.
Other ways might be to have an ISA in a different bank to your current account so it's out of sight or saving money in real life in an actual money box, whatever suits you!
Switch and save
Whether it's your car insurance or your gym, there's usually something you can do to reduce a few outgoings in your life.
I just rang up my insurance and energy providers but you can use things like uSwitch and Compare the Market to find a better deal. You can make a difference with even the smallest things for example my AA monthly payment seemed a bit ridiculous so I rang up to question it and they halved it straight away, it only saves a little bit every month but it adds up!
Check your credit report
Credit reports are really handy to be able to track your financial info, you usually get a monthly report showing you where you can improve and what score you currently have. Having a good credit score will mean you'll get more competitive rates on credit cards and you're more likely to be accepted for a phone contract, car finance or mortgage which will save you money in the long term. Vital for being a grown up and that.
A few months ago I was supposed to go along to a Giff Gaff saving workshop which I was really looking forward to considering the year I had ahead of me! Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it but they kindly sent me through quite a bit of info to help me out. One of the links was to the Giff Gaff free credit report which I signed up to and having been tracking it ever since. I spotted that my credit score dipped quite drastically and it was because I'd somehow dropped off the electoral register which I would have never known about if it wasn't for this!
There is also Clearscore which is easy to use (and I really enjoy the dog on their old adverts) but it's not as in depth and it's pretty hard sell when it comes to credit cards and loans.
Budget and plan
Oh budget, the dreaded word. We thankfully had some savings ready for the house renovations, we had to bring them forward a little when we got pregnant a bit quicker than we were expecting so we had that to stick to for the budget. We knew we wanted our kitchen to be one of the main areas of the house so spent more on that getting it right but found an amazing builder who helped us get great trade prices on a lot of it. The bathroom on the other hand (renovation blog post coming soon!) was more of a 'it needs sorting because it's broken' so we were less precious with everything and ended up sorting everything we needed to and more under budget. I'd really recommend making a spreadsheet to plan and track all of your outgoings if you're planning on renovating your home.
This is something I'm yet to do but I'm going to sit down and plan out each month of my maternity leave and allocate a bit of savings which will almost act as a bit of a salary. Our maternity leave pay at work is pretty shocking so I'm going to have to be quite strict with money if I want to make the most of the time with our new little human.
I'm planning make note of all of my monthly outgoings, what will be coming in every month and how much I want to take out of my savings to fund baby yoga and cake dates. I love having a plan and by outlining all of this, it should help me stick it it fingers crossed!
Keep track of your outgoings
Last year I took part in a TV show where myself and another blogger Leanne had to try different methods of keeping track of our outgoings. I had to physically write down everything I spent and keep the receipts whereas Leanne kept track of everything in an app. I found this so useful and ended up barely spending anything because I was considering every penny, it also made me properly check receipts and I realised a few times in the week I was doing it that I'd been overcharged so god knows how much money I've wasted on little things like that over the years.
To do this easily, you could sign up for a card like Monzo which quite a few of my friends have an swear by. It's basically a digital only bank that is connected to an app where you can set savings targets, split out all of your outgoings to see where you could save money and get a push notification every time you spend money so there's no scary exodus of money on a Monday after a prolific weekend of using contactless like with other accounts.
None of this is sponsored by the way, just bits and bobs I've found useful that could help you too. Feel free to add any other useful info in the comments below, I'd love to hear them!