There are two golden rules to use as a guide to saving money. Rule Number One, spend less on purchases. Rule Number Two, put the money saved on purchases into a separate account and leave it there. By making a few simple changes, you can build on your existing savings. If you do not yet put money away, you can start.
First, you need to find a way to keep track of what you are spending. What you don’t measure, you can’t manage. Find a way to do this that suits your character. If you are tech-savvy, set up a simple spreadsheet. Treat saving money as a computer game. Watch your ‘points’ add up.
If you are not a computer person, use a pencil and paper or stick all of your receipts in a box and add them up at the end of the week. Now, take a look at where your money is going and look for ways to cut back. This does not have to mean doing without or compromising on quality.
Start small. Don’t use exact change at the newsagent. Use notes or £1 and £2 coins. At the end of every day, transfer your accumulated shrapnel to a jar or a piggy bank and forget about it. When it fills up, either count it and put it into your savings account or find a bigger jar.
Save money on clothes and shoes. This is the Age of the Coupon/Voucher Code. Never leave the house without printing a coupon off the internet. Never shop online without a voucher code. Planning to buy from your favourite high street store? Google the name of the shop and then ‘Coupon’ or ‘Voucher’. Click, ‘Search’, and you could save 40% or more.
Save money at the supermarket. Learn which items from store brands and value ranges are identical in quality to brand names. Use ‘three for two’ offers on items you use a lot of or are able to either freeze or conveniently store.
Most major high street and supermarket chains have reward cards. Use them. Squirrel away money throughout the year to spend at Christmas time.
If you have pets, insure them. Shop around for a policy that suits you. You may pay between £5 and £7 pounds per pet per month. Weigh this against, for example, the cost of a broken leg, which can quickly rack up thousands in vet fees, anaesthetics and x-rays.
Save money on car, house, contents, travel and pet insurance by shopping around. If you use comparison sites, use more than one. Don’t forget to check prices for companies that don’t use comparison sites. You will be surprised at how much you can save.
None of these measures will matter if you contine to nickel and dime yourself to death and don’t actually record how much you save and stash the money away. Set goals. Start small. When you can save as little as £5 a month for six months, raise the bar. Aim for £10. Measure it, manage it.
Thereafter you may want to consider other savings options and earn interest on your money.