Our Red Team advise customers day in, day out about their accounts, so we picked their brains for their best, simplest savings tips…
Know your numbers
Work out a budget at the start of the month. There are many ways you can do this, depending on how your mind works. The savings pots in the Virgin Money mobile app Link opens in a new window are a great tool, and I also like to use the handy notes on my phone, but you could equally use a spreadsheet (find one that’s all set up for you here Link opens in a new window). Start by putting your regular salary at the top, then individually list every regular outgoing you have (don’t leave anything out: if you spend £10 on Spotify, get it on your list). Once you have a total for outgoings, subtract this from your salary and whatever is left is yours to spend (or save).
Do your research
My biggest expenses are holidays and festivals. I set money aside each month and sacrifice luxuries to save for them (I might buy 2nd hand clothing, say no to a social event or cook at home more rather than get takeaways). Then when I’m booking, I like to look for flights that fall on cheaper days, such as Tuesdays, and I will spend time visiting booking sites for accommodation, looking at reviews/location and trying to find the cheapest apartment but for the best value.
Follow the ‘One Year Rule’
Are you guilty of hoarding clothes? I know I am, holding out for when the flares come back in! I introduced the “One Year Rule” recently though – if it hasn’t been worn within the year then off to eBay Link opens in a new window it goes. Flog it on Instagram Link opens in a new window, pop it on Depop Link opens in a new window, whatever suits you best. It’s a great way to help create extra space, money and helps to curb the fast fashion dilemma the world is facing.
The beauty of recycling
A great way to save those pennies is to tap into initiatives like trading in your old, empty cosmetic containers for some new products when required. Who doesn’t love to treat themselves, especially with that free feeling? Not only are you saving those pennies you are also doing your bit to help the world! Lush Link opens in a new window & Mac Link opens in a new window are great advocates for this.
Be focused on WHY you are saving
“If you're seriously thinking about budgeting, there's usually a solid reason why. Maybe you regularly spend more than you earn, so you're getting into debt, or maybe you're saving to buy a house. Get that goal in your mind and really focus on it. Visualise a time in the future when achieved your savings goal and then, every time you think about spending on something non-essential, get that vision back in your mind. Is this impulse to buy strong enough to derail that goal?”
Make it fun, rope in a friend
Channel the wisdom of slimming groups around the country and bring a competitive element to your money-saving. Challenge your friend or partner to a budget-off: can either of you make it through a whole month with £10 in your wallet/purse without spending it on anything? If you can then you’ve just successfully budgeted for a drink with your budget challenge partner…
Make meal planning a habit
I scan recipes and plan which meals I’ll have that week before placing my online shopping order or popping out to do my weekly food shop (always take a list and never go hungry!). I try to plan smart (so not to waste) and pick dishes that have some of the same ingredients so I’m not ordering loads of different ingredients, and instead use the same thing across a few dishes. I’ve definitely saved money thanks to meal planning.
Educating yourself on environmental impact
This might sound a little different but stay with me! I find the more I educate myself on the importance of us becoming carbon neutral the more it has a positive impact on my spending! Learning about this has really changed my perspective – I am much more careful with spending money on ‘convenient’ throw away items in lots of plastic packaging that are also far more expensive, I’m less wasteful, use my car less and feel good about my choices. I’m early on my journey but already seeing positive impacts to my physical and mental health as well as my wallet!
Make switching as easy as 1, 2, 3
My tip to reduce your bills is don’t do nothing – always look around when your deal is coming to an end or insurance is up for renewal – you can’t afford to do nothing. My energy deal was coming to an end, so I switched providers using the Virgin Money mobile app Link opens in a new window. It is so easy to do, as all my personal details were carried forward, so it took minutes. I received a £40 cashback and I’m on track to save £380 over the year on my energy costs!
Sell, sell, sell…
Get selling. Whether it’s on eBay Link opens in a new window, Gumtree Link opens in a new window or Facebook Marketplace Link opens in a new window, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. If you have something you haven’t used in ages, get it up for sale. And always put an extra £5 more than you hope to get on your item so that when they ask if you will take less, you can knock the £5 off – you’ve got your ideal price and the buyer feels like they’ve got a good deal, so it’s a win-win.
Whatever your spending habits are right now, Virgin Money customers can get help with budgeting via our clever app.