If you have a job and get a regular income, you may be wondering why you aren’t saving any money each month. Saving money can be tricky with modern day temptations – like online shopping, for instance. It is all too easy to click a button and buy something online. It barely feels like you have had to part with any money at all. Did you know that only 8% of the world’s currency is in physical money form? The rest is just numbers and digits that exist in the virtual world. It isn’t surprising that people have difficulty saving their digits.
So to really get to grips with saving, it is wise to set yourself goals. What is it that you really want to save for? More holidays? A better holiday? Home improvements? Do you need a new car? Whatever it is, it is an idea to write it down so it becomes a physical goal. This can really help you to visualise your target.
Better Money Habits says that you can choose several goals – such as short term savings goals and longer term ones. They say, “Set a small, achievable short-term goal for something fun and big enough that you aren’t likely to have the cash on hand to pay for it, such as a new smartphone or holiday gifts. Reaching smaller goals—and enjoying the fun reward you’ve saved for—can give you a psychological boost that makes the payoff of saving more immediate and reinforces the habit.” Longer term goals might be a deposit for a mortgage; these will take more time and would benefit from being separated from the rest of your savings.
You can also use some apps to help you save. When Wonga looked at how to save money each month, they wrote about technology that could help their clients. They say, “Using a free budgeting template or app can help you get a quick overview of your spending habits, where you’ll be able to see exactly where and when you spend your money. Apps such as Spendee or 22Seven can quickly and securely read your bank account information to automatically categorise your spending and develop a personalized budget just for you.” You can also download apps that ‘round-up’ any spending from your bank account, so even if this is just a few pennies for each purchase you make, it can really build up (without you even realising it!) over time.
Using a spreadsheet or budget template is really important as you can set out your incomings and outgoings, which highlights how much you actually have coming in each month – and how much you waste or spend on unnecessary things. You may find you have quite a lot of money that just gets spent on things you don’t use – like gym memberships or unused phone contracts. You can cancel these to free up the money. You may also see how many throwaway items you buy – like takeaway coffees – each week. Why don’t you calculate how much you could save from cutting some of these out each week?
Arranging a direct debit from your account on payday into your savings account can stop you being tempted to spend money later on in the month – as the money just isn’t there. Research shows that saving money on payday is one of the most successful ways to put money aside. Why not try it the next time you are paid?