There’s no better time to take stock of your finances and keep track of where your money is going each month.
As our lifestyles continue to change, it may help to be mindful of how this can affect spending, to be aware of regular costs that may start to increase again and understand opportunities to build lasting savings habits.
Tips to help you start - or continue - saving
Check your finances every month – Are you making time to check your finances each month? If not, one way you could start finding savings is a regular review of your incomings and outgoings.
Compare spend over recent months with those further in the past and ask yourself some questions such as:
Where are you spending more now compared to this time last year?
Where are you spending less?
Where might you need to start spending more soon?
This will help build up a picture of your spending, how it has changed and how it might change. You can use a tool like our Personal budget calculator to help plan your finances for the coming months.
Go digital – If you haven’t already, consider signing up for online banking. Check your transactions as often as you can – you can do this daily – to keep a clear view of how much money is in your account. Register to manage your accounts online
Check your interest rates – could you reduce the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage, credit cards or other loans? Be aware of any early repayment charges or other transfer fees before you switch.
I’d forgotten about that one – Whether or not you checked your direct debits in the past few months, you can check them again now. Are any paused direct debits likely to start up again and do you want them to? Do you have any free trials that you didn’t realise are now charging you?
Hold on to new lifestyle habits
It’s likely you’ve needed to do things a little differently lately and you may have developed new skills and habits that are worth holding on to, like:
cycling/walking rather than public transport
working out at home or outside rather than the gym
cooking from scratch rather than using pre-prepped food or eating out
home beauty treatments/haircuts rather than going to the salon
DIY decorating, maintenance and repairs rather than hiring a tradesman
Keeping up with these habits at least some of the time and where you have the skills to do so could help you save money.
Plan the treats – The odd treat feels like a fair reward for living frugally. Plan the treat you intend to buy ahead of time and try to avoid being tempted by impulse buys.
If you find a saving you can sustain, you could set up a regular transfer to a savings account for the amount you’ve saved. You may need to start paying for some things again, like childcare or trips to the dentist. But if you are saving on something you don’t need, consider where else you could put that money to store away for a rainy day.
A little saving can make a big difference - even £50 a month, or the equivalent of a takeaway for the whole family, would add up to £600 over the course of the year.
Find a home for your savings, and save each month
When you’re saving for something specific or want to build up your savings for a rainy day, rather than simply leaving it in your current account, you can set up a new savings account where you can see your cash build up.
If you’re setting your cash aside, having this separate account can help you avoid the temptation of dipping into your savings. A lot of providers will let you name your account too, so whether you go with ‘New bathroom’, ‘Monthly set aside’ or ‘Sports car’ it’ll help to keep you focussed on your goal.
Two ways to save monthly:
Standing order on pay day – automatically moving money out of your current account as soon as it goes in, removes the temptation to spend it.
Sweep up left over money - if you have left over money at the end of the month (just before payday), put this with your savings so it’s going towards your goal, rather than being spent the next month.