We could all do with a little more savings, right?!
Maybe you’re working towards a deposit on your first home. Perhaps you need a new car. Or maybe you are simply saving for a rainy day.
I set a goal for myself this year to save for a trip to the UK. I am hoping to go at the end of the year, or next year. So I have given myself at least 12 months to save as much as I can toward my goal. Being self-employed means my income is unpredictable and inconsistent and I knew if I was serious about reaching my goal, I would have to get creative and be serious in my attempts.
It takes some time, and some effort, but remember, you’re working towards a goal and each step you take and change you make will take you a little closer. Also remember you don’t have to live this way forever! It may be a few months, a year, or a little longer, but it’s not forever and the sacrifices will be worth it!
This is how to get started:
A. Track Your Expenses
Firstly, you want to track your expenses. This will show you where you’re spending your money, and most importantly, the areas in which you can cut back your spending. Look through your bank and credit card statements, and purchase receipts and log what you spend each month/week in various categories.
B. Set a Budget and Stick To It!
Based on that information, work out what a realistic budget is for your expenses in a weekly or monthly period, whatever works best for you. Set the budget, and stick to it. Checking back on what you’ve spent each month will help you make tweaks for the next month.
C. Have a High Interest Savings Account
Then, if you don’t have one already, set up a high interest rate savings account that you will store your savings in. Online accounts make it easy to transfer your money to your savings. You can set up automatic transfers of your savings into the account at regular intervals or set up a reminder to transfer any extra money you have saved at the end of each month into your savings account.
D. Do Not Make Withdrawals
Most importantly, DO NOT TOUCH the money in your saving account! Pretend it’s not even there, until you have reached your goal and it is time to reap the rewards of all your efforts!
12 Ways to Grow Your Savings
1. Cut Your Expenses
Now you know where you are spending your money, take a look at where you can save money. Maybe you’re spending too much on eating out – eating at home will help! Or perhaps you are paying a lot on running your car – maybe public transport or car-pooling will be a more affordable option. It could even be worth looking into your utility bills and insurances and shopping around for the best price that covers what you need.
2. Shop Your Closet
Most of us tend to wear the same outfits over and over and have more clothes than we actually wear. If you are feeling the urge to go shopping for something new to mix it up, shop your closet instead!
Take some time to sort through your closet. See what fits, what doesn’t, what you still wear and what you don’t. Mend anything that needs it, rather than throwing it away and buying something new. Then, organise your closet so you can see all your clothes, especially those you haven’t worn for a while, and you will be more likely to wear it. Or if you like to be super organised, set up a system where you regularly rotate the clothes in your closet to continually freshen it up in your mind. Sometimes wearing an outfit that you haven’t for some time, can feel as good as wearing a new one! It will certainly save you money!
3. Clothes Swap
A great way to refresh your wardrobe with new-to-you clothes and accessories is to host a clothes swap with friends! Take along anything that is in good order, that you no longer wear, and ask friends to do the same. Then, have a ball looking through and trying on what friends have brought along and head home with a selection of their clothes, and them with yours! Set some ground rules to make it fair for everyone, like you can only take home the same number of items as you originally brought with you.
Or if you have a special even coming up and don’t have the right thing to wear in your closet, ask a friend if you can borrow something of theirs just for that one event!
4. Use Your Stockpile
If you’re anything like me, things just somehow accumulate in your cupboards and on your shelves. For me it is mostly stationery items and beauty products. I love trying new things, and only manage to use a tiny fraction of each product before trying the next new thing!
Spend some time sorting through what you have. Refresh your memory of all the things you have stockpiled, set aside anything you won’t use, and throw away anything that is broken, dried up or no longer useful. Use up everything else, before you buy a new item of that kind.
5. Frugal Gifting
Gift giving can be expensive and there always seems to be an occasion for a gift coming up! Take a moment to think about the gift-giving occasions coming up over the coming year and allocate any appropriate items from previous points as gifts for those occasions. If they’re brand new and unused, the recipient will never know and you’re saving money with each item! Store them together in a box to have them at hand when needed.
A little planning ahead will help when it comes to sale time too. If you know who you need to buy gifts for ahead of time, you can buy gifts are great prices during sales, rather than paying full price for something because you left it to the last minute.
6. Sell What You Don’t Use
Now that you have sorted through your closet and the other areas of your home where you have excess stuff, and worked out what of those things you are keeping to give as gifts, gather together all the things you don’t use, that are too good to throw away or donate. There’s money in that stuff! Sell it! This has been my biggest success in growing my savings, and has helped in decluttering my life too!
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Online auction sites – are especially good for clothing, shoes, accessories, collectables and other items of quality.
- Online classified sites – great for items that are in less than excellent condition, or for larger items, such as furniture.
- Book buyers – head online to find stores who buy second-hand books.
- Garage/Yard Sale – you will generally get less cash for your items this way, but it will often require a lot less time and effort to sell more items at once.
- Facebook – Post your items on your Facebook page to see if friends and family are interested in any of your items. Or you can find Buy, Swap, Sell groups for your local area on Facebook too.
- Family and Friends – simply ask around if anyone you know is interested in buying any of your items.
Items that are awesome to sell:
- Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, Bags
- Appliances, big and small
- Crafting/Hobby Supplies
- Unopened Beauty Products
- Stationery Items and Office Supplies
- Sporting Equipment
- Toys and Games
7. Eat Your Pantry
Another place where you can really save money is to take a look in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Chances are there is a decent selection of food there already! Keeping in mind what is already there, make a meal plan for the week, and make it your goal to eat up as much of what you already have as you can. Do this for consecutive weeks until the pantry is low. It’s a great way to be creative in the kitchen and to save some cash!
8. Savvy Supermarket Shopping
Of course there will come a time when you need to hit the supermarket for fresh food supplies, but when you do, be savvy about it! There are a number of ways you can save money at the supermarket:
- Plan your Meals and Make a Shopping List – it might sound boring, but taking a moment to plan your meals for the week and writing out a shopping list will help you stay on track when you’re actually in the store. Remember to take into account what you already have at home, and try and use up those items when planning.
- Look at the catalogues – before you head to the store, take a look at the weekly catalogues for the stores in your area. This can help you make your meal plan based on the best deals available.
- Shop at discount stores – it might not be your usual routine, but shopping at discount supermarkets is a simple and effective way to save money. Aldi is one of my favourites for this!
- Buy in Bulk – if you have the room to store it, buying in bulk is another really great way to save money
- Buy Generic / Store Brands – again, it might not be glamorous, but buying generic medication and store brand products really will save you a lot of money! In most cases these products are actually exactly the same as the big brand products, simply packaged and marketed differently. Yet in other cases, I have found that store brand food products are actually tastier than the big brands!
- Buy Ingredients, Not, Ready-Made Meals – yes, it will take more time to prepare your meal, but you can be saving a huge amount on your shop by doing this!
9. Stop Impulse Buying
We are all guilty of it! Whether it’s a chocolate bar at the checkout, a new fad product you’ve seen online or a snack when you fill up your car, all those impulse buys add up! A good rule-of-thumb is, when you find yourself going in for an impulse buy, stop yourself and wait 24-48 hours. If you still want to buy the product after that time, and there is room for it in the budget, then go ahead. Many times, after waiting that amount of time, the impulse is gone, and you realise you didn’t want that product so much after all!
10. Shop Around and Wait for Sales
If you do find yourself needing to buy something, perhaps your hairdryer broke, or your car needs new tyres; shop around! There are amazing websites where you can buy branded products are significant discounts. A lot of research can be done online, even for bricks-and-mortar stores now too. Look around for the best price and then make your purchase.
11. Home Entertainment
Going out for fun can be expensive and can use up all the spare money have very quickly. Staying home can be fun too, with a little imagination! Break out the board games, invite friends over for a meal, or have a movie night!
Sometimes spending a little money can save you big money so it might be worth considering a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix which is small amount each month, compared to the cost of hiring movies or heading to the cinema.
A music subscription can also be a great way to save money. They give you access to millions of songs to stream and play at any time at a fraction of the cost of purchasing the songs and albums outright.
12. Save Your Change
Sounds, simple, but it can add up! Determine the type of change you will save – it might be silver coins, or gold coins, whatever you like. Then at the end of each day or week, take the change out of your wallet or purse and put it in a separate container, out of sight. Then when the container gets full, or at the end of the month, deposit the change into your bank account. It will add up more quickly than you expect!
The above points are just to get you started! You might think of many other ways you can grow your savings, but these are some of the things I have been doing this year which I have found to be really effective!
Yes, it takes some time, and so effort, but I am seeing the figure in my account growing steadily and that is exciting!
I’d love to hear your ideas and tips for growing your savings in the comments below! There might be some other points I can add to my saving plan!