So, you know what your goals are and you’re ready to start saving. But where do you start? Whether it’s saving into your pension, or to build up your rainy day fund, here are some tips that could help you get into good saving habits.
1. Pay off debt first
Loans such as credit cards and overdrafts could cost you more in the interest added to the loan, than you could earn by having the money in your savings account. Consider paying off your most expensive debts before you start saving.
2. Start small
Making a start, however small, is better than not doing anything at all. It could help you get into the habit of saving, which could benefit you over time. Our article – The benefits of saving £50 a month – explores this further.
3. Work out which budgeting method works for you
There are lots of different budgeting methods out there to help you save. From budgeting apps and tools to more traditional ways of saving, try a few methods until you find one that works for you. This could help you stick to saving long-term. Read our article – Which budgeting method is best for you? – for some suggestions, or try MoneyHelper’s Budget Planning tool.
4. Save on pay day
One way to save is by transferring money into your savings account on the day you’re paid. This means the money could be gone from your current account before you have a chance to spend it. You could transfer funds manually each month, or set up a standing order so you don’t forget. If done automatically, the money could leave your current account before you’ve even seen it, making it easier for you to budget for the month ahead with what you have left.
If it’s going well, or your income rises, you could try increasing the amount you save each month over time. Remember to be careful with how much you transfer as you’ll still need to make sure you have enough money left over for bills and outgoings.
5. Consider increasing your pension contributions
For saving more into your pension specifically, increasing your contributions could be an easy way to save without too much effort. Once you’ve increased your contributions, the money will be automatically deducted from your pay before it goes into your account. This means you can budget your money for the month, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already saved into your pension.
To increase your contributions, get in touch with either your employer or pension provider, who can arrange this for you. In some cases you may be able to activate or log in to your online pension account to make these changes yourself.
An alternative method of pension saving might be to opt in to a salary sacrifice arrangement if your employer offers this. This works slightly differently from a typical pension arrangement, as part of your gross salary is ‘sacrificed’ to make contributions to your pension. You and your employer may both benefit from tax savings, which are then used to either boost your pension pot further, or to reduce the effect on your take home pay . You can find out more about how salary sacrifice works in our guide Your workplace pension explained.
6. Look for ways to reduce your expenses
You don’t always have to make sacrifices to save money. There might be some simple ways to save hiding in plain sight. Reviewing your bank statements could be a way to identify expenses you weren’t aware of, such as a TV subscription you don’t use. Our infographic – Life admin tips to save you money – highlights a few simple ways you could save in this manner. There is also support in our Cost of living hub to help you in these uncertain times.
If you do feel you could cut back, think of ways to save without too much impact. For example, cutting down on your daily coffee shop visits in favour of bringing a flask from home. Or, buying clothes from a charity shop or online marketplace might be cheaper.
7. Focus on your own progress
When it comes to saving, it’s important to remember that the only person you’re up against is yourself. Try not to get caught up in how much those around you may or may not be saving. It’s all about progress against your own goals for the future.
It’s natural to compare ourselves to others. But comparing based on wealth can hurt our financial wellbeing and overall life satisfaction. (Aegon financial wellbeing, p. 14) When saving, look at the progress you’re making and how far you’ve come. And if you do compare yourself to others, try choosing an attainable role model whose success you think you can achieve, and use this to motivate and inspire you.
Read more about social comparisons in our Financial wellbeing index.