Do you mean to put money aside every month but find that somehow it’s all going on a million little things? Maybe you struggle to keep track of all the expenses each week and find that they all add up?
Family budgets can be tight and it can feel hard to know how to even begin to save a little (or a lot) of your hard earned cash for a rainy day.
But there are ways to begin working towards big savings, without having to bother with excel spreadsheets and expense trackers.
Read on to find our top 8 low hassle ways to start saving while raising kids and build up a nest egg.
Sweep away some of your income automatically
Set up a direct debit so that a certain amount (try for 10-20% of your income if you can) goes directly into your savings account each month.
Make sure that as soon as your wages land in your account a portion is swept away into savings.
It’s true that we spend what we have. And you’ll soon get used to only spending what you have in your current account without thinking about the small amount you scooped off into savings.
The beauty of this tactic is that you can set it up and then forget it’s even happening. After 2-3 years you may look back to find that you have a nice amount of money squirrelled away, there for whatever you wanted to invest it in.
Start with one small change
If you’re on a tight budget, it can be hard to set up regular savings that take a big chunk out of your monthly income.
If so – start small.
Put away a smaller amount each month
You could put away 2% one month, then over a few months work up to 3% and then 4%. Gradually build your way up to saving 10-20% each month and by that time you’ll be accustomed to spending less and saving more.
Make certain coins or notes in your purse ‘illegal tender’
If you prefer to be more actively involved with your savings, then this is a fun game you can play with yourself.
Whenever a particular coin or note lands in your wallet, whether it’s £2 coins, 50 pence pieces or a £5 note, make it a rule that you can’t spend it. You have to put them in a savings jar. Over time they can all add up to an impressive amount.
Choose one small daily expense to give up
Look at what you’re spending money on every day. You may find something that’s adding up to a much larger expense each month.
It could be a daily latte or fuel and parking for a car journey that you could walk instead. Choose one thing and make the decision to give it up, or at least halve the number of times you do it.
Wherever you start, if you’re consistent the small savings will add up over the years.
Set your sights on what you’re saving for
Decide what’s important for you to save towards and set your family savings goals. It might be a family holiday, supporting your teenager through university, or buying a new house or car.
Having a specific goal in sight can help you to focus on spending less and saving more.
It can help to print out a picture of your saving goal and pin it somewhere prominent, like on the fridge or by your desk.
Keep your goal in mind and every time you pick up something to buy you’ll naturally ask yourself if you really need it or if you could put the money it costs aside to add to your savings.
Demand to be paid what you’re worth
It’s hard to ask for a pay rise or promotion. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable. But if you feel they’re due, don’t be afraid to ask.
If you can demonstrate the value you’ve added to your company by listing the things you’ve achieved, it will strengthen your case and show that you’re not being unreasonable.
Remember that hiring and training a new staff member with less experience in your exact role will cost the company more and so they will often consider your request seriously.
If they can’t increase your salary now then they might be able to come to some agreement to reward or compensate you for your hard work in the short term, until they are in a position to offer a more substantial pay rise or promotion.
Either way, if you feel it’s due, it’s worth asking the question to have a discussion about it.
Don’t be afraid to switch and haggle to get the best deal
Each year you’ll probably set up lots of direct debits to pay for things like energy bills, mobile phone contracts and insurance.
When your contract comes to an end, many of us just let it roll over. Instead look around for better deals and switch to someone cheaper.
You can also phone your existing company and ask for their best deal for you as an existing and loyal customer. Quote what other companies and pricing the same service at to strengthen your case and give you the best chance of getting a discount.
There are plenty of online comparison sites that can do the hard work for you to find the best deal.
They even switch you to it for free, with no hassle or effort from your end.
Know what you need and what you want
We’re all guilty of spending money on what we want rather than what we need. We can go to the supermarket armed with a shopping list and be tempted by special deals and beautiful displays.
We can pop to the corner shop for milk and bread and be seduced by new products and magazines. We browse online and see all sorts of things we want but don’t really need.
A top tip is to pause and (unless it’s essential) take a day to consider whether or not to buy the item you want. If you’re shopping online put it in your basket but don’t check out. If you’re in store put the item down and walk away.
After 24 hours, ask yourself if you want it or need it. Only buy if you need it. Sure – you might have to walk away from a lovely item that you really wanted but the savings you make may give you other things in the long run.
Or if there’s something you REALLY want, why not put it on your birthday list and tell your family. They’d probably love the chance to get you something that they know you want and will enjoy.
Always research the best deals
When you want to buy something there’s often always a better deal out there than the first one you saw. Yet so many of us pay the first price we see for the item we want without even looking around for a better deal.
Sure, it takes a little time and effort, but if you hunt around for the best deal on everything you buy, the savings you make quickly mount up.
Some ways you can research pricing are to:
- Check online.
- Check for any vouchers or discount codes.
- Check on deal sites like Wowcher and Groupon.
- Check on eBay to see if you can buy the same item second hand.
- Check on Freecycle and Gumtree to see if you can get the item at a steal there.
- Check your loyalty cards to see if they count towards a discount.
- Check Martin Lewis’s money saving tips to keep abreast of the newest and best tips for offers, deals and money saving hacks.
Pay with cash not cards
When you tap your card to pay contactless or use your credit card to put things on a monthly payment plan, it almost feels like no real money is changing hands.
Unless you keep a day to day account of what’s going out of your account, the money can trickle through your fingers without you even realising how much you’ve spent.
Savvy savers often pay with cash not cards. Withdraw your weekly budget and pay with what’s in your purse.
You get a real handle on how much is going out and how much you have left. It also means you’re much less likely to splash the cash on things you can’t afford.
If you do pay with cards consider using apps, which track spending and put the extra into savings.
You won’t notice the extra pennies going out of your account but you will be surprised by how much your expenses add up. Over time setting a savings level and tracking expenses can give your savings a little extra boost.
Whichever tactic you choose to put money aside, the most important thing is to begin somewhere. Even if you start small you’ll soon get a kick out of seeing your savings grow.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. It’s what your Grandma probably told you. And she was right.
When the pennies become pounds and then hopefully tens, hundreds or maybe even thousands of pounds over a number of years, this can motivate you keep on and save even more.