Whilst trying to warm ourselves up with a coffee this morning, we started talking about savings. It turns out that we had all read the same article by the Money Advice Service (MAS) which revealed that nearly half (44%) of people in the UK had less than £100 in savings!
That’s not even the most shocking part… a quarter of the UK have nothing saved at all!
Our apprentice came up with a good point that not everyone is able to save because of low income. The MAS study didn’t support that theory as it stated that 40% of adults in the lower earning bracket* managed to save every month.
Apparently the biggest reason for not saving was that people would rather live for today instead of plan for tomorrow. You might think that’s admirable, but shouldn’t we be more responsible? We went around and each named our reasons for saving. They included saving to buy a house, wanting a new car, planning a nice holiday next year and someone just wanted to smile when they saw their bank balance. We looked at the MAS report again, and around half of the people interviewed said they have no goals to save for in the next FIVE YEARS. No holidays, no cars, no houses, no smile-inducing bank balances. HOW DULL.
This actually made us a bit depressed. So we teamed up and put together some tips for a making the most of your money, and to hopefully inspire people to increase their savings. Some of the ideas were things we had heard a million times, some were brilliant, and some were just weird.
We pulled out the best ones, and we’ll start with the boring ones (which are still really good to know if you haven’t done them!):
Work out a budget. Look at your incomings and outgoings. Are you happy with what’s being spent?
Take free debt advice if you are concerned about your level of outgoings or if you have more going out than coming in.
Set a goal and timescale for saving, which will allow you to work out how much to save each month.
I know, BORING. Stay with us though because here are some ideas that can really make a difference.
If you don’t use money-off vouchers – why not? Play companies at their own game and take them up on their discount codes and freebies. Just be mindful to only use them when you were going to buy something anyway. In other words, don’t stock up on peanut butter because there’s an offer on, only to remember you’re allergic to nuts…
A friend used to say “you drive like my nan” to people who were a bit slower and more cautious on the roads. We can agree that friend is an idiot – you can drive however you’d like… but also remember that if you have a ‘heavy right foot’ (which some of the team are definitely guilty of), you could be spending HUNDREDS more each year in fuel… whoops.
We decided that whilst we may spend more on fuel, we are making up for it on insurance. We buck the trend when it comes to being British and valiantly battle insurance companies when it comes to premiums and renewal prices. All you have to do is go through comparison sites to get a bunch of quotes, then just ring down the list playing them off of each other until you’re happy with the deal you get.
And when you’ve battled long and hard, don’t ruin it by spreading the cost. Spreading the cost on anything can be costly, but on insurance premiums usually adds around £100 for a £500 premium. If you pay up front then you’ll notice the extra cash in your pocket.
If you follow these suggestions, you probably won’t think of using your home phone (you know, the thing that collects dust in the corner until a PPI call interrupts your family dinner) to make the calls. These space-wasters can be ditched in favour of companies which offer broadband packages without line rental and will usually save you around £200 a year.
A smaller saving (but still worth mentioning) can be made by choosing a different night to go out. It means you don’t miss out on the next must-see film at the cinema or whatever else it is you love doing and you still get to save. Your local cinema for instance, probably does cheaper tickets early in the week.
On that note, take your own food to the cinema. Check first, but most cinemas allow you to bring food in, so long as it isn’t hot and smelly (or alcoholic!).
There are plenty of other ways to save money, some are more obvious, some a bit obscure, and some just completely absurd. If you have any good ones, tweet us @YourCash, we’d love to hear them!