Massive one-time savings are always welcomed, but you have to spend a lot of money all at once to save a big chunk of cash. How often do you buy something so expensive that getting a good deal changes your financial outlook? Your house and car are among the priciest items in your stable of assets, and you probably don’t replace them very often. It’s definitely worthwhile saving money on these things when you can, but if you only focus on extra-large saving opportunities, you may be leaving money on the table.
Though high-profile savings opportunities may spark your interest and attention, incremental, small-time savings are equally as important for maintaining a healthy personal budget. If you’re serious about sustainable spending, turn your attention to minor, everyday cost cutting strategies that keep more money in your hands. The small savings add up over time, yielding a sizable pot for individuals who stick with the strategy and take advantage of every chance to save.
Challenge Yourself to Save More
Skint Dad blogs about a 52 week saving challenge, outlining the rules for his readers. The straight-ahead scheme challenges savers to put by a pound a week, continually increasing the figure for each week of the year. If you stick to the schedule, you’ll put by 5 pounds during the fifth week of the year, and by the end of twelve months you’ll reserve a 52 pound savings contribution for the final week of the year.
The ambitious saving challenge is easy to reconcile during the early part of the year, but as you roll through November and December, sticking to the scheme can really test your resolve saving cash. The monthly total tops £200 by that point, so finding the cash in your budget may require creative finance solutions. Rather than fail the challenge and sour your determination, Skint Dad recommends another, more affordable approach that still helps families accumulate savings. Instead of aiming for pounds, he suggests replacing them with pennies.
Substituting pence for pounds and successfully completing the 52 week saving challenge can still net hundreds of pounds over the course of the year, so it’s a worthy stand-in for the other version, which simply stretches many household budgets too thin to finish the scheme. Why not set course for a more realistic goal, and build upon your success? It’s important to remember an organized effort to save, such as the 52 week challenge, doesn’t have to be your only scheme to put by cash; reducing unnecessary spending is another way to fund your savings account.
Increase Spending Accountability
A pointed look at our spending habits is likely all that’s needed to highlight saving opportunities. Do you pay a high price for revolving credit? Is your daily spend too high for personal items and impulse buys? Can you trim waste from your spending budget? These are only a few of the things you can do right away, to make daily savings.
- Borrow Better – It’s easy to get locked into expensive credit patterns. Credit cards are convenient at the point of sale and you don’t have to carry cash, so reaching for plastic becomes a go-to move. While it’s not unusual or harmful to use credit accounts with discretion, there is a downside for families stuck in a revolving credit rut. High interest rates on cards and unforgiving finance fees can make the convenient type of funding expensive. There may be more affordable options available, such as personal loans and payday products. It’s up to you to do the maths for each spending need; consulting a list of lenders can help you get started – even with an imperfect credit history.
- Plan Your Shop – If you still think you can walk into the supermarket without a plan, and get out of there without wasting cash, you may not have a handle on your shop. Starting with a plan not only helps you avoid unnecessary spending at the market, but it also reduces waste at home. For results you’ll feel with each supermarket visit, plan a weekly food menu and shop your list, without falling for in-store promotions.
- Dine In – Meals out can sink your budget, so you’ll save money by minimising family outings or saving them for celebrating special occasions. And when you do dine out, taking advantage of restaurant specials, such as free kids’ meals and buy one, get one promotions makes meals more affordable.
- Give Yourself an Allowance – Set spending provides a disciplined route to better financial health. Establishing limits in each spending category is your ultimate goal, but it pays to start with problematic discretionary spending. To prevent overindulgence buying things you may not need, restrict your weekly and monthly spend to a preset level. Instead of reaching for your credit card when your cash runs out, commit to your allowance and stop spending when it’s gone. You’ll save money each month and can apply the same rules to other household spending, for similar savings.
It’s nice to save large sums on big ticket purchases, but most of your household spending revolves around smaller, everyday financial demands. To make progress toward your savings goals, you need to save money on day-to-day spending, as well as the big things you buy. For inspiration, try the 52 week challenge and use these ideas to increase financial accountability at home.