Finding spare cash feels difficult just now, but if you can, saving it is a great habit to get into. As with any good habit, it takes some effort to start and practice to maintain. Here are some ways to get you started.
1. Set goals
Knowing what you’re aiming for can make it easier to save. Ideally, you’ll start by putting away six months’ worth of living expenses for an emergency, such as a boiler replacement or roof repair. But once you’ve got a rainy-day fund set aside, you can set particular savings goals.
For example, you may want to save towards doing a particular course, or a summer holiday. If you hit your goal within a few months, it’ll inspire you to keep going. Making some longer-term goals too such as saving for a new car can help to sustain your savings habit.
Remember, you can set up dedicated savings pots for your saving goals in the Virgin Money mobile banking app Link opens in a new window.
2. Start small
If you’re new to saving, or you’re struggling to make ends meet as living costs soar, start with a small amount and gradually increase it over time. Even just £5 a week will add up to £260 at the end of the year – and any savings will be boosted by interest when you put them into a savings account Link opens in a new window. With savings account interest rates soaring in the past year, it’s important to make the most of your savings.
Remember that it’s about building a savings habit, rather than the amount you can afford to put away, so every penny counts. You could start, for example, by saving just 1% of your salary each month, and increase this by 1% every few months. You’ll gradually see your pot growing in value, and this’ll hopefully motivate you to save more. The key is to save little, and often.
3. Automate your saving
Setting up a monthly direct debit to move money from your current account to your savings account on the day after payday each month can start a savings habit. This makes saving an automatic habit, and ensures you don’t forget to put some money away.
Plenty of current account providers offer current accounts with linked savings accounts that pay attractive rates, and this makes things particularly simple - take the Virgin Money M Plus Account, Link opens in a new window for example.
Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, says: “Setting up a standing order to save each month is a good idea for those who want to be organised, and start saving regularly. But it’s very important to ensure that you can commit to the amount every month and ensure all your essential spending is covered. Also, make sure you choose the right account for you – so consider whether you need easy access to your cash, or if you’re saving for a longer-term goal, and could go for a fixed-rate account.”
4. Use savings apps
There are many savings apps that can help you to save money, so it’s important to find one that works for you. Some apps offer cashback for specific purchases, or round up your spending and save the difference, for example.
These days, choosing the right bank can provide you with a wealth of money-saving tools at your fingertips. If you’re a Virgin Money bank account customer, you can use the Virgin Money Mobile banking app Link opens in a new window to help budget better, top up your savings, and slash your spending. You can track your transactions easily with automatic tagging, or create your own tags. Within the ‘budgets’ section, you can then set budgets against a particular tag to ensure you don’t overspend.
You can also set up savings pots for all your goals and set up direct debits so that these are topped up automatically. And you’ll benefit from exclusive rewards and discounts, such as Virgin Money Cashback Link opens in a new window and Virgin group discounts.
5. Try a savings challenge
Taking on a savings challenge can be a great way to boost your savings. You could also try the no-spend challenge, for example. On specific days of the week, cut out any additional spending on everything from snacks to cosmetics. You’ll still pay for your basic essentials, such as utility bills, but you won’t buy anything else. You can personalise this challenge so that it works for you. For example, try a no-spend week or even longer if you’re game.
But there are plenty of different challenges to choose from. Check out our very own savings challenge Link opens in a new window on our Instagram page. Also, Faith Archer, money blogger at Much More With Less, Link opens in a new window says: "One of the most popular savings challenges is the 52-week challenge, which involves setting aside £1 the first week, £2 in the second, £3 in the third and so on. If you can stick to it for a whole year you'll build a chunky savings pot of £1,378."
“Sometimes I also set myself the challenge of writing down everything I buy on a spreadsheet. I’ll start with my essential outgoings, such as household bills, and then write everything from treats to the children’s activities down. This makes you stop and think before you spend and can dramatically cut down what you buy over time.”
There are loads of ways to get into the savings habit, and gradually build up your pot of spare cash. Pick a tip that suits you and good luck on your savings journey!
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