Now this may not seem a lot to some extreme savers but after some dialogue with my friends and workmates, it seems a common problem for twenty-somethings is saving a substantial amount of money. A disclaimer is that I live with my mum who is an angel in a human suit who doesn’t charge me for rent (if you are also in this situation, then please let me know how I stop feeling so guilty…). Which leads me into how you, most probably a twenty-something year old, can save some dollar.
1. Put any big sums of money you receive in a savings account straight away
Birthday or Christmas money if people love you that much, tax returns, student loans, bingo wins, you name it, take it and run with it. I received around £1,250 from a grant from my government student loan in April or May which I worked out I didn’t need to use and put it straight into my savings account. I then received two tax returns which is basically the government saving for you. If you can live without it in the immediate future, save it for your sunny days.
2. Realise that it’s not your money
Don’t even look at it. Pretend it’s not yours. Pretend you stole it and you’re hiding it from the cops. I don’t care. The biggest task I had to overcome when saving was realising that my savings is different from my money. I don’t have £4,000 right now. I have £154 in my main bank account so that’s what I have to live on – to eat lunch, to go to the pub, to buy gig tickets with, whatever. After a few weeks of this, you may think of your money as some higher deity, mysterious and untouchable. And it should stay this way.
3. Stop spending it on stuff you really, really don’t need
Like we’re all human and need a Netflix account. It’s fine. But somehow I signed up for a direct debit with Ancestry.com around six months ago. What? I could have burnt that £10 into ashes and it would have been more useful. The way I started turning this into habit was other than things I needed (lunch, travel), I’d leave things for at least a week. If I was still thinking about it after that week, I’d look into cheaper options. I’d then leave it a bit longer until it bugged me that I didn’t have said item. This method has saved me from buying a lot of crap, especially clothes and make-up, that I don’t need and it’s a natural habit now.
4. Set up a direct debit to put money straight into your savings account
I don’t actually do this because I get paid weekly so it’s easily manageable for me to do it as soon as I get paid but I hear that this is good for people who get paid monthly. This is my weekly ritual:
– Get paid on a Friday
– Put £100 into my savings
– Live off around £100 for the week
– Put any leftovers in my bank on Thursday
I don’t keep meticulous spreadsheets of my weekly budgets, I go out for dinner quite a lot, I treat myself and my mum occasionally. Figure out the least you can live on whilst having around £20-30 for a treat each week then everything else, direct debit. There are some things that are important to you and it’s obviously fine and smart to budget them in. For me it’s going to gigs so I expect to buy at least four gig tickets a month. Instead of buying a new outfit every time I go out with my friends, I rework the clothes I have so I can go to two gigs with that money. It’s about priorities.
5. Get a banking app/online account
Without my banking app, this would have been a lot harder. Because of the weekly pay situation as well, going into my bank every week to sort out my savings would have been a nightmare. But with the app, I wake up and I’m £100 closer to my goals within a few minutes. They also can send you reminders and alerts which can help curb spendings and encourage diligence.
And that’s all I’ve got for now! I’ll probably do more posts on how I’m continuing to build up my savings, but hopefully this is a good place to start for some.