Saving money is something that we all want to do. However, finding extra cash in your income to put aside into a separate saving account each month is easier said than done.
Whether you’re trying to save up for that family holiday you’ve always dreamed of, or you want to put a deposit on a new home, it can feel as though you’re never going to make any progress.
The good news is that anyone can achieve their financial goals. All you need to do is find a strategy that works for you. To help you start moving in the right direction, we’ve put together these quick tips on how to hack your budget – no matter your situation.
#1 Start Tracking your Money
It’s impossible to save money if you have no idea where your cash is going each month. Whenever you get your income from your job, don’t just leave your cash to go to bills and loan repayments automatically. While it helps to have those direct debits set up (so you don’t forget your payments), make sure you’re regularly checking your bank transactions, so you know exactly where your cash is going. This will give you an opportunity to see where your biggest weak points are when it comes to managing your money.
Fortunately, tracking your cash is easier than ever these days. Head onto the app store or Google Play on your smartphone, and you can find plenty of spreadsheet and budgeting apps that will help you to get to the bottom of your missing money.
#2 Make Saving a Priority
When you start budgeting your cash, you’ll have two main areas that you divide all your money into. These are the things that you want, and the things that you need. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that savings are something that they “want.” However, your savings account should be just as essential to you as paying your mortgage or rent.
Before you even start looking at the things you want like entertainment and extra food, focus on getting your savings sorted out. Remember, you don’t have to save a lot to make a difference. Even putting £10 a month away makes a difference in the long term.
#3 Become a Keen Negotiator
In the UK, many customers are just too darned polite to fight for a better deal. That’s why we end up getting stuck with a specific vendor, rather than switching to a provider that can save us money. However, the truth is that more things in your life are negotiable than you might think. If you’re willing to stand up and ask for a better price on your rent, your utilities, and your broadband bills, then sometimes, you’ll get what you want.
Obviously, asking for a better price won’t work every time, but you can always compare your options online and find out if someone else is willing to give you a better deal if you can’t negotiate one. Sometimes, switching to a new provider is the easiest way to save some money.
#4 Decide on All Your Spending in Advance
Hopefully, when you apply for a cash loan for a big purchase, you sit down with your partner and plan that expense in advance. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to apply for finance. In the same way, you should be planning every purchase you make – even the small ones. Don’t just go shopping when you know you need to fill your fridge. Check what food you already have and build a shopping list around what you know you need.
When you’re out and about, don’t buy anything randomly. If you see something that you want, or that you think you need to give yourself a 24-hour cooling-off period to think about it and come back to the purchase later. You don’t need to make every decision instantly.
#5 Do More For Yourself
Finally, we’re living in a world where we all have access to infinite amounts of information. In your pocket, the chances are that you have a smartphone with access to the world’s global supply of guides, videos, and articles. Use that information to become more self-sufficient.
You can find out how to do practically anything on the internet these days, from upcycling your furniture, to planting and growing your own vegetables. Try learning a new skill and using what you learn to save yourself a little extra money each month. You could even set a challenge to learn something new every month.
What are you doing to hack your budget and save more?