If you’ve set a high savings goal for yourself, it can seem like an impossible task to ever get there, which can mean you struggle with the motivation to save.
If you’re paying into your savings account but feel like your rainy day fund isn’t growing fast enough, there are some simple ways that you can boost the amount you can save, without feeling like you’re going short.
#1 Save What You Can
The cost of living has gone up in recent years, but salaries haven’t always risen to match it.
Many of us have less disposable income than we used to, and aren’t able to save as much every month as we might like to. If you aren’t adding much to your savings, it can feel like it isn’t worth the bother of saving at all. In reality, even a small amount saved is better than no savings at all, so save what you can, even if it isn’t much.
Small savings will still grow, and will still help you towards your target.
#2 Set Goals
Having a firm goal in mind for your money gives you a target to aim for, which can keep you on track with your savings. Aim to save a set amount of money, or for something specific, like a new car or for Christmas. It can be harder to justify spending extra money over saving it if you know that it will keep you further from reaching your target.
Having your goal in your mind offers some real motivation to keep saving, and put away any extra cash you come across, as you’ll have something tangible to drive you.
#3 Compare Savings Accounts
Not all savings accounts are made equal. Look for savings accounts with high-interest rates, as these will increase your savings much faster than a low-interest account.
Take into account how much access you want to have to your money, as some accounts are harder than others to make last-minute withdrawals from.This can be a bonus if you want to save and leave your money alone or might be a nuisance if you want to dip into your savings occasionally.
Can you meet a minimum deposit amount if there is one? Would you benefit from a Certificate of Deposit rate being higher to boost savings a bit? Shop around and compare several different accounts before deciding where to put your money. A financial advisor may be able to help you find the account best suited to you, or ask at your bank for some help.
#4 Think Like Someone Good With Money
Good money habits can be learned with time. Get in the right mindset to help you save the most you can. Recognize the factors that trigger reckless spending, like a bad day at work or shopping with friends and find better ways to deal with these triggers.
Keep a close eye on what you spend your money on day today. The results may surprise you, and you might find some great places to cut back on spending, like realizing just how much your morning coffee costs you every month.
Learn good money habits, like checking for a cheaper alternative before making a purchase. Meal plan, make a grocery list and stick to both. Avoid impulse buys, and pay with a debit, not a credit card to avoid overspending. Stay away from payday loans, as the interest rates can be very high, making your debt even larger.
#5 Set Up A Direct Debit Into Your Savings Account
Choose an amount to put aside each month, and set up a direct debit to move this amount directly into your savings account as soon as you get paid.
If the money goes straight from your salary to your savings, you won’t miss it, and won’t be able to justify not paying into your savings that month.
#6 Track Your Spending
A spending diary is a very effective way to take a hard look at what you spend. Track every penny you spend, from your mortgage payment to buying a newspaper. You can use this diary to find places to cut back. Have you still got a direct debit going out for a gym membership you haven’t used in months? Are you still paying for the TV license for an old apartment?
You can also see where you’re overspending, such as ongoing for after-work drinks too often, or buying lunch at work instead of making it.
Lots of apps will track your spending for you, making this even easier.
#7 Save Extra Money
Earned a bonus at work or been given money as a gift for your birthday? Don’t be tempted to spend it, and instead put at least a portion of this money into your savings. Windfalls like this can help you to get well on your way to reaching those savings goals.
#8 Find Good Benefits
When changing jobs, look for employers who offer great benefits for their employees.
Give priority to those who offer good health insurance, life insurance, matched retirement plans, gym memberships, or transport reimbursements. If your company will pay for these things, you don’t have to, which gives you some good savings that you can move into your savings accounts.
#9 Set Up An Emergency Fund
If you have long-term savings for something like a house deposit, it can be depressing when you have to dip into it for costs like repairing the washing machine or having the car serviced.
Set up a second savings account, separate from your main goal, and call it ‘Emergency Fund’. Aim to keep three to six months of living expenses in this account. This covers you for emergencies like a period without work, the engine falling out of the car or the roof starting to leak, but still leaves your big saving and those goals intact and untouched.
Having money like this will feel better than having to dip into your savings for your long-term goals, and is a good safety net to have in case of disaster.
#10 Always Have Money of Your Own
Many couples share a savings account, for goals like saving for a vacation, a house or a wedding.
This makes sense, but you should always aim to have some money set aside that is just for you. While nobody likes to think about what would happen if you lost your partner, some money that is just yours is a safety net. This money would allow you to move out in the case of a breakup, and give you something to live on while shared assets are being divided.
It also helps if your partner were to die and inheritance is slow to be sorted out, you have some funds to keep you going.
#11 Look Into Old Savings
There’s a surprising amount of cash left in lost bank accounts or old savings accounts.
Ask a money advisor to look into old accounts; this might be old bank or savings accounts you no longer use or old pension schemes with companies you no longer work. Any cash you manage to reclaim can be put into your current savings account, instead of lying forgotten.
#12 Get Cashback On Your Current Account
Most of us just use our current accounts to store our day to day money in and don’t see it as a way to earn more.
Many current accounts, assuming you pay in a minimum amount each month, will give you cash back for doing ordinary things like paying for your utility bills, helping you earn back a little money, which can be added to your savings.