Saving money has always been important, but doesn’t it seem more important — and harder — than ever?
The pound is on fire, energy prices are soaring through the roof, and the stock market is falling through the floor. Making ends meet week to week — let alone paying for any of life’s luxuries — might seem particularly challenging right now,
The lean times highlight how important it is to have a financial cushion, and we can forgive ourselves if they cause us a little concern over our, and our children’s, future.
But there’s good news. There are loads of practical ways you can save money. Even now. And the sooner you start practising them, the more you’ll save, and the better you’ll feel.
In this article, we’ll cover how to stop spending money and include some money saving tips.
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Why can't I save money?
It may seem obvious, but if you can’t seem to save money, it’s because you’re spending more than you’re taking in. So while saving money might not necessarily be easy, at least it’s simple.
It’s all about reining in your spending, and finding ways to put money aside before you even have the opportunity to spend.
10 realistic ways to start saving money in 2023
1. Automate your savings
Most of us get paid weekly or monthly straight into our bank account. At the start of the month, you might feel quite flush and tempted to splurge before the dreaded bills come in. Luckily, tech makes it easier than ever to protect your cash.
The HyperJar app, for example, lets you set up recurring transfers from your bank account and place them into virtual savings jars. You could have one jar for rent, another for the supermarket, another for taking the kids to the cinema. The app comes with a prepaid debit card for spending, and it also shows you graphs and analytics that track your spending, and help you visualise your habits.
Once you start seeing those savings grow, you’ll be motivated to save more.
2. Take on a money-saving challenge
Imagine setting aside 1p one day, then 2p the next, then 3, and on and on. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Yet at the end of one year, you’ll have saved over 667 quid!
There’s also the 52-week challenge. You save one pound the first week, two pounds the second, etc. After a year, you end up with £1,378. Not bad at all. And there’s the pound-a-day challenge. Pretty self-explanatory.
Or the no-spend challenge, where you only spend money on necessities for a week, two weeks, or a month. Really, there are limitless ways to sort of gamify saving money. Needless to say, you can always create your own.
3. Get an accountability partner
It’s easier to do something when you have someone else to do it with. Finding a partner to match savings with you can be especially effective because you won’t want to let them down. And they should feel the same!
Again, tech can be a great help. HyperJar lets you share Jars with other people, so you can put money aside, hold each other accountable, and track your progress together.
HyperJar also has a free kid’s account, which you can monitor and set limits on, so you can get the whole family in on the action. It’s never too early to learn the value of saving.
4. Save your windfalls
When you get a bonus at work, a tax refund, or a gift from a relative, it might be irresistible to see it as ‘free money’. Why save money that you never expected to have in the first place, right?
In truth, you should look at these windfalls the opposite way — as free savings. Resist the siren call of instant gratification, and salt the money away instead. You’ll feel better in the long run.
5. Review your apps, subscriptions, and bills
Chances are that your phone’s loaded up with apps that vacuum up your money.
Think about deleting Amazon and other online shopping apps where you tend to buy stuff you don’t really need. Also consider cutting food delivery apps like Just Eat or Deliveroo.
Cooking for yourself is inevitably cheaper and more rewarding. Sites like Great British Chefs have loads of free recipes for delicious meals, and tips for cooking them. Your waistline will thank you, too.
And take a look at your subscriptions. Do you actually make the most of your gym membership, or your access to digital newspapers and magazines? Do you really need Spotify and Amazon Prime?
Finally, reexamine your household bills. Can you move your landline, broadband, and TV into one package? Energy and other costs are sky-high; see if you can shop around for better deals, or consolidate some of your expenses. Sites like MoneySavingExpert and Uswitch can help you there.
6. Stay away from temptation
While you’re limiting your spending in the virtual world, you might want to do the same in the real world.
Try not to put yourself in places where you can go window shopping for expensive things you don’t need. Go for a bracing walk in the park instead of the shopping mall.
7. Save now, buy later
It goes without saying that credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later are the easiest way to fritter away funds. They make it so easy to buy expensive things, because you don’t even have to pay for them! Until you do, of course. And in the long run, you end up paying more.
But there’s a flip side to that approach: save now, buy later. For instance, the HyperJar app has deals with many merchants that let you commit money to them, and get an ‘annual growth rate’ on your money — usually 4.8%.
Say you want to buy your child a bicycle for Christmas. You could start committing money to HyperJar’s partner Decathlon over the summer, and by the time the holidays come around, you’ll have increased the amount you can spend on the bike without lifting a finger. It’s basically the opposite of using a credit card because in the long run, you end up paying less.
8. Practice mindful spending
When you’re online shopping, try putting something in your cart for 24 hours before buying it to give yourself time to re-evaluate whether you really need it. You’ll be surprised at the number of purchases you’ll be able to do without after sleeping on them.
And if you can stand it, you could even go for a 30-day rule. That’ll help you save even more.
9. Sell off unnecessary items
Speaking of not needing things, we all have dozens, if not hundreds of items at home that we no longer use or need.
Taking the time to sell these can bring in loads of bonus income (savings). You could hold a good old-fashioned car-boot sale, and there are also dozens of sites to help you do it like Vinted, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and Depop.
10. Find free or low-cost entertainment
It’s amazing how many priceless — but free or cheap — attractions there are in the UK. Yet so many folks don’t know about them. There are great places for kids, like the National Railway Museum, adults, like Wallaton Hall, and the whole family, like Fistral Beach.
While some ways to stop spending and saving might be unrealistic for you at the moment, we’re confident you can find one or two valuable takeaways from our list.
You don’t have to start with big aspirations – often, trying and failing to reach a high target is demotivating. Instead, begin with a realistic goal, and once you start to see the benefits, you’ll feel empowered to do more.