With the cost of living rising thanks to increased energy, fuel bills and inflation, savings might be the last thing on many people’s minds. But, there are still ways you can save money and to help you manage your everyday bills.
Here’s a handy guide with things to consider when it comes to saving, so you can make your spare pennies work for you.
A good first step is to track exactly how much you spend each month. Make a record of all your expenses. Make sure you include everything – even that coffee you buy on your way into work, every household item you buy and every shopping trip.
Use your credit card and bank statements to make sure you know exactly what is going in and out. Once you’ve made a list, organise it into categories so you know how much is being spent on things like household bills, shopping, mortgage payments, phone bills and miscellaneous items.
Put away the pen and paper though, with the advent of Open Banking, there are now some apps that will help you do the tracking. Visit the App Store or Google Play on mobile to find out which one suits you.
Once you’ve assessed your income and expenditure, it’s much easier to work out a budget and where you can make savings.
A workable budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income—so you can plan your spending and limit overspending. Make sure you factor in costs that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance or vet bills.
If you’re spending so much you can’t save as much as you’d like, it might be time to cut back. Identify non-essentials you can spend less on, such as takeaways, entertainment and dining out.
If you have subscriptions you rarely use, you might want to consider cancelling them. Do you pay for gym membership, but rarely go? If so, why not cancel it and work out virtually – and for free - at home or in the park instead?
Perhaps you can have a takeaway once a fortnight instead of weekly or find some special meal deals at restaurants so you can enjoy meals out at a discounted price too. Cutting back means you can save money without cutting it out altogether.
To save money effectively, you need to separate the money you spend on your daily needs from the money you intend to save, and you could do this with a designated savings account.
Hodge has Fixed Rate Bonds and Short Rate Bonds as well as ISAs – you could also opt for a No Notice Bond in case you need to access the money quickly. If you're wondering which savings account is for you, take a look at the Hodge savings accounts here.
If you’re saving for a mortgage, retirement or even your child’s education, you might want to consider putting that money into an investment account like we just talked about in point 4. But, it's good to set some smaller saving goals too. Reaching smaller goals - and enjoying the fun reward you’ve saved for - can give you a psychological boost that makes the reward of saving more immediate and you will be more likely to keep at it.
The interest on your debts is almost always higher than the interest earned on your savings so you could consider paying off any debts with your savings to be better off.
There are lots of way to reduce your tax bill, whether you’re an employer, employee, landlord investor or pensioner. It’s always worth checking your tax code every year, or after changing jobs, to make sure it’s correct for your situation. If it’s wrong, you may be entitled to pay less tax or receive a refund.
Make sure you are aware of tax reliefs that you are entitled, such as The Marriage Allowance and Working from Home tax relief and if you are self-employed, make sure you meet the tax return deadline as you will be fined £100 if you miss it – even if you don’t owe any tax.
On the topic of tax, the end of the tax year is also coming up. Read our blog on Cash ISA’s to find out what that might mean for your savings .
Look for the best deals so you can make savings. Price comparison websites allow you to compare hundreds of financial products so you can choose a deal which best suits you. Whether you're looking to buy home insurance, car insurance or a broadband bundle, there’s normally a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive providers so it's definitely worth browsing for the best offers.
Also, make some savings at the supermarket check-out. Try supermarket own brands and try searching for vouchers and discount deals. There are lots of discount deals and extreme couponing blogs which post dozens of offers on their social media pages every day.
If you’ve got a big purchase coming up, research which shops might have sales soon so you don’t miss out on an offer.
If you have quality clothes and goods that are just sitting in your house, why not sale them online to make some money? Sites like eBay, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace are great options for selling. Not only will you make some space in your home, but you will also have made some money too.
If you pencil in a weekend that you can enjoy without putting your hands in your pocket, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are having fun – for free. Go for walks, have a movie night, visit a free museum – there are plenty of options which don’t require spending your hard-earned cash.