We’ve looked at some of the most common things that people at various stages of life are saving for and offered a few tips to help along the way.

Retirement coins

Going to University Getting married Buying a home Retirement

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Going to university is a great opportunity to get some life experience and for developing your career options, but this comes with a premium – total costs per student can rise well over £70,000 (Source: Independent, using research into Governments figures ). It’s no surprise that students and their families are looking to plan ahead. Your future self could be thanking you for starting a savings pot early.

Did you know...

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, over the course of their studies a university student should expect a debt averaging £51,000. This figure includes tuition fees of almost £30,000, accommodation, utilities, food, travel, study materials and other costs. Which means that many young adults are starting their working lives with a higher education debt of over £50,000 – with an added high interest rate on those student loans.

Which? The Consumers' Champion, can give you a good idea of the living costs at your chosen university with this free tool.

Saving options

With debts of that size a seemingly unavoidable part of university study, there’s cause to start saving as much money as possible before university, so that the debt at the end is as low as possible. Our savings options offer a wide range of choice, from regular savings accounts and fixed rate bonds to tax free ISAs – the perfect way for parents to build up a substantial nest egg, especially if they start saving early.


Pension lump sum

For parents over the age of 55 with a pension fund, there’s also the option of accessing a tax-free lump sum from your pension pot – seeking financial advice first to ensure there will be enough money left over for retirement.

Grandparent gift

Grandparents can gift up to £3,000 each a year, without incurring inheritance tax, or use a trust to gift money, which could also reduce their inheritance tax bill.


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Three simple ways students can save money...

  1. Choose the right bank account

    There are lots of student bank accounts to choose from. Shop around and find the account that suits your situation.

    Not confident about money management? Avoiding choosing an account that offers a large overdraft to reign in any temptations to overspend while you learn how to handle your own finances.


  2. Apply for council tax exemption

    If you are studying away from home remember, properties are exempt from council tax if everyone living there is a full-time university or college student – and student halls of residence are automatically exempt.

  3. Get a TV licence refund 

    Students who live away from home during term time and move home in the summer holidays can claim a refund for any full months remaining on their TV license. You must have at least one complete month left on your licence that you won't need before it expires. That means a colour TV Licence bought in October that cost £154.50 could be the chance to claim a refund of around £38.

To see how much you could start to save on a regular basis, check our quick and easy budget planner


It’s up there with the biggest and best day in anyone’s lifetime, but a wedding can be extremely costly with the average wedding day costing £31,974. Whether you’re saving for your child’s future dream date or your own, here’s a few tips to help you along the savings path.

Did you know...

The latest figures show that the average wedding costs


Source: MoneyHelper

Working out the cost – and setting a wedding budget

Writing down your budget

Writing down your budget sounds like it must be an obvious first step, right? But it’s the key to establishing and sticking to what you want to spend on your big day. In addition, using a Budget planner can help you to see what your might be able to save each month and keep you on track.

So, whether you’re a pad and pen kind of person, or like to see everything on a spreadsheet, writing down the figure you can afford – and remembering to work within that figure – will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

Be honest about how much you have to spend

It's important to be honest about how much you've got to spend. With venues, dressmakers, photographers and caterers lining up to create the wedding day of your dreams, there will be moments where you need to make sure that your head is in charge of your heart. No matter how incredible that organic silk looks, or how many courses of delicious food you think your guests can eat on the day, you need to keep a handle on the budget.

What does your day look like?

Once you've established your budget, you can start to think about what your big day might start to look like. How many guests will you invite? Will you get married close to home, or further afield? Are you planning a religious or a civil ceremony?

Supermarket shelves, Pinterest and Instagram are awash with wedding ideas and inspiration – so much so that it can be hard to make a decision – but starting to picture your day will help you identify areas where you will need to spend your budget, and those areas where you might be able to make some savings.


simple ways to save money on your wedding day

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1 Shop around

Make a list of everything you need to spend money on and shop around for the best deal if you can – some shops and venues may be open to a degree of negotiation.

2 Save every month

Once you’ve set your budget, it’s time to think about setting the date – and work out just how much or for how long you’ll need to save each month to meet your target. Our savings accounts offer you a wide range of options. Again, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in the timeframe you have to save for your big day.

For example, if you plan to spend £5,000 for a wedding in one year’s time, you’ll need to save around £400 a month. But, if you start saving two years before the wedding, you’d only need to save £200 each month.

Setting up a regular payment into your savings account every month means that your money will add up without you having to think about it too much.


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3 Check your dates

One of the simplest ways to save money on your wedding is to avoid getting married on one of the 52 Saturdays in the year – especially those in the summer months. Take a look at venue prices for weekdays in the winter or spring and you’ll see a staggering difference in cost.

4 Three meals a day?

Weddings that take place early in the day can mean your guests have time to get hungry – twice. Holding your ceremony in the afternoon means you only need to think about one wedding breakfast.

Catering can also be a place where you can save money – if you're getting married close to home, consider asking those guests who are a dab hand in the kitchen to bring something along as a contribution – it's easier to create a fantastic pudding menu or a mouth-watering cheeseboard when lots of people join in.

It's also worth checking whether your chosen venue ties you in to a particular caterer. If you're able to shop around, you may be able to save a substantial amount of cash.

5 Crafted with love

We've already mentioned Pinterest and Instagram – one way that these sites can be really helpful is in showing you how things like bunting, table decorations and wedding favours are made. The more you can DIY, the lower your costs will be. Choose things you enjoy doing and – dare we say it? – have a flair for. If you're going to be tearing your hair out trying to craft individual napkin holders, perhaps there's some budget that can be reallocated to save unnecessary stress. It is also an idea to benefit from the hard work and creativity of others, there are lots of (used once) wedding decoration on offer at ebay/gumtree at bargain prices.

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6 Cake

Tradition used to have it that the top tier of a wedding cake was saved for the first christening in the family, but with the recent trend for non-fruit cakes and even nude cakes, that's not necessarily practical. Cakes are one area where bakers can hear the word 'wedding' and triple their prices – and for good reason – have you seen the beauties that are out there?

But this is another area where substantial savings can be made. Think about the wedding you're planning – and the people you're inviting. Is it the sort of day that demands three tiers, Royal icing and a sword for the ceremonial slicing? Or would your family and friends be very happy with a warm chocolate brownie and a dollop of ice cream?

Consider turning that wedding cake into your desert, differing layers of sponge or nude cakes, decorated with simple fresh flowers are ideal served with cream. Or you could consider a savoury option turning your wedding cake into a cheese cake with layers of cheeses like Brie and Camembert and that's the pudding course and the cheese course in one. Pinterest is full of inspiration for nude and cheese wedding cakes.

7 Something old, something new...

Borrowing is a great way to keep your budget under control, whether it’s a piece of jewellery that’s been in the family for years or a friend’s veil to add to your headdress. Always make it easy for the person you’re asking to say no – but try and borrow where you can to keep costs down. You might even be able to expand this to include friends who have beautiful cars too, so you’ll arrive in style – if not, necessarily – on time.

8 Say yes to the dress

Wedding dresses are notoriously expensive, if you have ever seen an episode of ‘Say yes to the dress' you will know exactly where we are coming from on this one. However, don't despair there are several ways you could keep this cost affordable. Consider hiring, let's face it you are not going to be wearing it again (hopefully) so why do you need to buy? There are lots of wedding warehouses and wholesale stores out there too who offer sample dresses at a fraction of the cost as well as resell sites where you could get the dress of your dreams for half the price.

You could consider buying a simpler dress and having it altered to suit your own style, lots of designer dresses come with heavy beading and therefore a heavy price tag, you could add your own embellishments for individuality.

9 Lights, camera, action

Wedding photographers are in high demand so book early, if you leave it too late, you may be restricted in choice which could mean you end up paying above the odds.

Photographers usually have set packages for the big day, so consider whether you need them from start to finish or is there a particular part of the day that you would want them to focus on.

Discuss whether a videographer is absolutely necessary as this could be a tidy little saving on the overall cost. Engagement or pre-wedding photo shoots are also becoming more popular, but if you're looking to save this could be something you pass on to be able to spend in other areas.

It might be possible that your friends or family have used wedding photographers before and may have access to a discount via a recommend a friend offer.

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10 Honeymoon

For many, the few weeks running up to the wedding can be stressful and exhausting, not to mention the rollercoaster that is the wedding day itself, so it's natural to want a honeymoon.

The painfully obvious advice is to consider not going on a honeymoon which could make a huge difference to the overall wedding cost. Some people choose to delay their honeymoon so that they have some time after the wedding to save.

Or you could just consider the honeymoon being a little more budget friendly. Your honeymoon doesn't necessarily have to be a once in a lifetime experience (which usually would have a price tag to suit). You could try a shorter holiday or maybe not travelling too far from home to keep the costs low. You're going to be spending time with your perfect holiday partner, so maybe you don't need to go as big as you think to have a wonderful honeymoon.

Think you’ve considered everything for the Big Day?

Check out our guide - Top 10 unexpected wedding
costs, just to be sure.

See how much you could start to save on a regular basis

Try our quick and easy budget planner.


For people who want to get onto the housing ladder, getting that large deposit can seem daunting. Looking at your buying options and some smart saving might be the first step towards owning your home. Here are a few tips and things to think about that could help you start your journey.

Location, location, location

Where do you want to live? Whether you're moving out of the area, upsizing or downsizing, the area you move to can have a big effect on the price you pay for a home.

Our new affordability map shows some major differences in housing affordability across Britain since the start of the economic downturn. Have a look at our affordability map to see where you might be able to afford.

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How much can you borrow?

Your first step in planning to buy a house is to work out how much money you can borrow. Our online mortgage calculator will help you get started.

What will you be paying?

Next, you need to find out what you could afford to spend on a mortgage each month. But don’t worry, we have a calculator to help you work this out too.

How much for a deposit?

Now you need to work out how big a deposit you will need to save up to get a mortgage – a deposit is a lump sum of money, which is a percentage of the value of the property you want to buy.

In the current mortgage market, you’ll need a deposit of at least 5% of a property’s value to get a mortgage. A lender would then lend you 95% of the property’s value.

Have a look at what you could afford to save towards your deposit with our Budget planner

People usually save between 5% and 10% of the value of a house for a deposit. Depending on the price of the house you want to buy, this means your deposit could easily be £30,000 or more. So, if you want to buy your own home, it makes sense to start your savings plan sooner rather than later.

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Going in together

One option is to think about buying with a friend or partner, which means two people are saving for the deposit.

Getting a bump start

Alternatively, consider whether your parents or
grandparents may be able to help – either with a
contribution or a loan.

You might want to seek legal advice once you’re ready to buy to decide the individual responsibilities for the repayments.
If you use borrowed funds from someone for a deposit (and intend to make regular payments back to them) this needs to be declared in your outgoings and will reduce the amount you can borrow.

Alternatives and options

Check whether you can reduce the deposit you need, for example, through a Help to Buy scheme, shared ownership or family support.

  • Help to Buy and other shared equity schemes help you buy a new-build home. You typically only need a deposit of 5% and the government or the developer lends you the rest of the deposit – up to a further 20%.
  • A Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme will help you buy a new-build or older home when you put down a deposit of between 5% and 20%.
  • If you currently rent a council or housing association property and have a household income of less than £80,000 (outside London) or £90,000 (inside London), you might be eligible to buy part of a home and rent the rest. This arrangement is called shared ownership, and it will reduce the size of the mortgage and deposit you need – you’ll have to pay some rent, but you’ll pay less for your mortgage.

Find out more about our Help to Buy mortgages

Help with valuation & legal fees
(and don’t forget stamp duty)

As well as saving for your deposit you will need money for the added extras that are involved in buying a house. Look around at what’s on offer as some mortgage deals can also cover your valuation and legal fees (the paperwork required to help you make the purchase safely). This will reduce the amount of money you need to find up-front, on top of your deposit.

It’s worth checking your credit rating at this stage and paying off any outstanding debts or bills to help your chances of getting a mortgage.
If you pay more than £125,000 for your property You’ll also need to budget to pay stamp duty, which is a land tax paid to the government – the more your new house is worth, the more you have to pay. The site has more info about Stamp Duty.

Then there are the surveyor’s fees which may be necessary if the property is older as this will ensure that your house is structurally safe.
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How to start saving for your deposit
(and those added extras)

When it comes to saving money for a deposit on a house, it's true that every little helps. Even if you need to start small at first, saving £10 or £20 a month soon starts to add up, so start to save whatever you can. Setting up a regular payment into your savings account every month can make it easy to save without thinking about it.

Try and use your yearly cash ISA allowance to avoid paying unnecessary tax. Once you've got into the habit of saving on a regular basis – or if you've used up your ISA allowance – you can keep up the good work and open a second savings account like our Monthly Regular Saver. Remember to review your savings accounts every year to check you're getting the best interest rates – many ISAs will offer a tempting bonus for the first few months or year then offer poor rates of return thereafter

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Reducing your living costs

There are lots of ways to budget wisely and reduce your monthly outgoings.

  • Think about getting a lodger or housemate to share the cost of the rent and bills or even moving in with family or friends for a while to enable you to save. Moving into a shared house is usually cheaper than renting alone, and will give you the chance to start saving up for a place of your own.
  • Investigate becoming a property guardian, which means living in an otherwise empty building while bringing it back into use as housing. The model provides security to the property owner while the building is empty, and provides cost-effective housing for the people living there.
  • Make a weekly food budget – and stick to it. Try taking a packed lunch with you each day to save on expensive ready-made sandwiches and snacks.
  • Addicted to that morning coffee fix? Consider buying a coffee machine to make a proper cup of coffee at home – if your daily habit is one or two take-away brews a day, it will pay for itself in a week.
  • Take time to see if your gas, energy, mobile phone and insurance providers are giving you the best deal – it’s easy to do a quick comparison check online.
  • Be honest with yourself – if you have a gym membership or a satellite television contract that you’re not using or you could downgrade, make the change and put the money you’ve saved straight into your savings plan.
  • Love eating out? Try getting the cookery books out and inviting friends home to eat instead – and if everyone brings a bottle, you can save a lot of money over the course of a month while still enjoying a social life.

To see how much you could start to save on a regular basis, check our quick and easy budget planner


They say the real fun starts at retirement and having a healthy pension pot waiting for you is going to make your golden years even sweeter. It’s never too early to start saving - your future self will love you for it!

Did you know...

The full new State Pension is worth a maximum of


a week in the 2021/22 tax year.

Save money towards your retirement

Are you saving for your retirement? Many people in the UK aren’t saving enough for when they retire – and those who are may not be saving enough to be able to have the standard of living they’re hoping for when they do finish work.

When to start saving

The ideal time to start saving for your pension is when you start working – and earning money. If you start saving for your retirement later in life, this can mean having to save a lot more each month to make up the sum you need. Check your current financial status – and how much you could afford to be saving with our budget calculator.


State pension

If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016, the full new State Pension amount comes to £179.60 per week. To receive this amount, you’ll need at least 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions. Check your national insurance contribution record.

If you have fewer qualifying years, you might be able to fill in the gaps in your National Insurance record by making voluntary contributions now.

To find out how to do this, you can request a State Pension statement. You can find more details on the website.
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Workplace pension

Workplace pensions are arranged by your employer and are a way of saving for your retirement. As part of the UK's automatic enrolment arrangements for pension savings, employees aged between 22 and state pension age, who earn at least £10000 per year, must automatically be enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer.

One big benefit of a workplace pension is that your employer will typically pay into your fund, as well as you. The minimum employer contribution under automatic enrolment is 2%. Your employer, however, may have more flexible arrangements and possibly pay in higher pension contributions. Workplace pensions also offer tax relief on the money you pay in – as well as on your returns.

It is recommended that your total pension contributions should be in the region of 15% of your salary throughout your working life. Remember though, the size of your final pension pot will also depend on your investment returns and also when you start to access it.

Did you know...

You can currently benefit from tax relief on your personal pension. See the MoneyHelper for more information.
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Long-term saving options

Here are a number of ways that you can start to save for your retirement, in addition to making contributions to a pension. These include regular savings accounts, ISAs and fixed rate bonds. They're flexible, and you can choose the option that best suits your situation, but be aware that other savings options will not attract the same tax relief as pension savings, or employer pension contributions.

Find out more about your short & long term savings choices.

Alternatives to savings

In simple terms, if the money you have isn’t yet what you need to live the lifestyle you’d like, you can choose to retire later or adjust your expectations downwards and prepare to live a more economical life.

Quick ways to save more money for your retirement

  • Think about getting a lodger or housemate to share the cost of the rent and bills and put their contributions to running your household into a savings plan.
  • Take time to see if your gas, energy, mobile phone and insurance providers are giving you the best deal – it’s easy to do a quick comparison check online.
  • Be honest with yourself – if you have a gym membership or a satellite television contract that you’re not using or you could downgrade, make the change and put the money you’ve saved straight into your savings plan.
  • Love eating out? Try getting the cookery books out and inviting friends home to eat instead – you can save a lot of money over the course of a month while still enjoying a social life.
  • Switch to a water meter – if you’re living in a home with more bedrooms than occupants, it’s likely to be cheaper to use water on a meter.

To see how much you could start to save on a regular basis, check our quick and easy budget planner