In a few weeks time I’m going to be celebrating my 30th birthday. Although turning the big 3-0 doesn’t bother me, milestone birthdays are naturally always a time of reflection and taking stock; working out what you have achieved thus far and what you hope to achieve in the weeks, months and years to come.
For me, the big thing I would like to do is to own my own home by the time I’m 35 – however, the financial status of the world we now live in means saving up is hard work. That said I’ve looked at the mortgage calculator on Money Advice Service, and I think a 5-year window to save £25,000 is do-able – if I behave myself and remain focussed.
Having cleared £30,000 of debts incurred from a bad relationship (and its numerous associated bad choices) I’m no stranger to scrimping and scraping, so in theory all I need to do is apply the methods I used in those 3 years of hard slog and non-spending to my life now.
I know I’m not the only one who wants to save up for a pad to call their own, so I thought I’d share some of my tips for saving up for your own home – please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments; let’s create a mind hive for all those of us striving for the same end!
Look at your outgoings
This is going to be painful, but the first thing you need to do is sit down and look through your bank statements. Every. Single. Transaction. Write a list of what you’re spending on each item (i.e. food, pub, clothes, mobile phone etc) every month. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be shocked how much money you are kissing goodbye to with simple small purchases – that lunch you buy at the local shop everyday? That’s costing you £20 per week, or more than £80 per month – that’s nearly £1000 a year! By removing these small spends (perhaps taking lunch into work with you, or allowing yourself to buy one item of clothing a week rather than splurging) you’ll be surprised how much you can save.
Take a look at what you’re spending on items such as utilities, broadband or your mobile phone. Can these outgoings be reduced? Quite often if you phone your supplier and explain you are struggling with cost and are thinking of leaving them, they will negotiate a discount for you. It’s worth a phone call – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Give yourself a ‘pocket money’ allowance each month – for example, £100. Draw that amount out of the bank on payday and keep it somewhere safe, dipping into it for treats and non-necessities. It’s all too easy to spend money on your debit or credit card without realising how much the total is reaching; having the physical cash in your hand will encourage you to be more frugal.
End of month money
Every payday, empty the coins left over in your purse into a piggy bank at home. This loose change soon adds up – I counted up a years worth of saved shrapnel and it came to just over £80! Not bad for money I didn’t really realise I had! Likewise, when payday comes around, if you had any money left in your bank account, transfer this into your savings. Even if it’s only a few pounds, it’s better than nothing and is one teeny step closer to your end goal.
Do you want it or need it?
This is perhaps the most obvious but is surprisingly difficult to master as you need to retrain your brain and habits – namely the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. I was a nightmare for thinking, “I need a new pair of jeans” or “I need some nude heels for that outfit”. But the simple fact is, I didn’t need either of those things – I wanted them. Change your habits to only buying what is completely necessary and needed and it’s surprising how little you find you come to spend.
Keep track of your savings
Whether you decide to do this by downloading an app, creating a spreadsheet on your laptop or using a display board on the wall, updating your savings balance on a monthly basis somewhere where you can see it grow will reward and encourage you. It’s such a buzz to see those numbers creeping up pound by pound and knowing you’re getting ever closer to picking up the keys to your very own property!
It’s a long (and sometimes painful) journey and there will be times you’ll want to scream at the top of your lungs and jack the whole process in, but it’s at those times you need to not only be strict with yourself, but kind too – look at what you’ve achieved, know you’re taking the steps to improving your life and be proud of yourself. You’re getting there, one day at a time.
Do you have any more little life hacks to help us save more money?
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