Saving skills

       

Claire Springer

Learning how to save is a skill that often has to be learned. To many of us, it doesn't come instinctively and requires more self-discipline and sacrifice than we'd like. However, the benefits of learning this skill are endless. Aside from fewer visits to payday lenders, saving skills will ensure that you don't live from mouth to hand. You'll be able to deal with rainy days better as well as work towards financial goals quicker. This might include buying a house, car, or going on the holiday of your dreams. Not to mention, if having financial freedom or just being financially flexible is on your agenda, then learning to save is a must. Whatever the case, we are here to bring you in on key saving skills and how to develop them. Hopefully, after going through this guide, you'll be inspired to set some saving goals and follow them through.

Set a budget

Everything begins and ends with a budget when it comes to mastering the art of saving. Even if your aim is not to master it and you're simply trying to give it a shot, you'll have to first see where you are. Budgeting is about looking at your current financial state, what your expenses are, and where you can cut back. It is more or less evaluating what you're spending money on and setting yourself an allowance. From there, you can set a limit on your expenses that will help you successfully reach your saving goals. The first step, in this case, is calculating how much your monthly expenses are. You can then subtract the amount you come up with from how much you actually earn. Your job from there on is to see how much you can cut off from your expenses and then determine how much you want to save monthly.

This guide lists some key expenses that you might want to include in your budget. We've also suggested saving skills you can develop for each to help you reduce the expense and stay within your budget. Consider using your account statement to calculate as accurately as possible how much you're spending and what you're spending it on.



squeeze your wallet to save

Food

When we suggest that you budget on food, we're not saying resort to fasting. It just means you may have to cut out some of those extra fast food meals in order to stay within your budget. You can set a weekly monthly budget for food, but whatever you do, try and stay within it. It might help to begin by roughly calculating how much you're currently spending on food. You might be surprised at how much you calculate and how much of that amount is probably unnecessary.

Budget menu ideas

  • Pasta with ham & minty pea pesto
  • Creamy fish curry
  • Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice
  • Tomato soup with tear & share cheesy bread
  • Black bean beef meatballs with stir-fried noodles
  • Homemade pizza
  • Split pea and lentil soup

Gardening and food preservation

A skill that you can learn to help you save money on food is gardening. If you've got space in your backyard, learn how to plant some fruit and vegetables. This will save you trips to the grocery store and should help you slash your food expenses. We put together a guide on how to save money gardening which might come in handy to ensure you're saving in that area too. Food preservation is also another skill you can learn. Canning, freezing and dehydrating will help you preserve your food. This result in less food spoiling and less of your money going to waste.



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Transport

Transportation is an unavoidable expense whether you're using public transport or driving. Public transport could mean you're spending a chunk on travel cards or bus passes. Driving, on the other hand, may require you spend on maintenance costs such as petrol, regular servicing, fixing faults, insurance, and taxes. Whichever category you happen to fall into, round up the estimate what you spend weekly or monthly and see how you can reduce that amount.

Travel tricks

Saving on transport requires you take advantage of bargains and discounts. In regards to public transport, you'll need to learn a few tricks. Some include refraining from buying daily travel cards as well as buying them as far in advance as possible to avoid extra costs. Another saving tip would be taking advantage of the refunds available if your trip is delayed by more than 15 minutes. You may be able to reclaim by filling out a form or visiting the travel firm's website. A third suggestion is learning the travel card or contactless capping trick. The daily and weekly caps enable you to get more travel for less as the travel firm may calculate your daily and weekly journeys and sets up a limit for you.

If you have a car, there are key ways to cut expenses when driving. Some include haggling with insurers, applying petrol saving methods, maintenance hacks and many others which we mention in our guide on driving for less. At the core of saving money on driving is learning how to hunt for discounts, seek out the right information and drive responsibly.



tube train station underground

Bills and invoices

Bills have a beginning, but very few have an end in the life of adults. Your bills may consist of electric, gas and water, repayments for payday lenders, credit cards, and overdrafts, among other things. In order to maintain a healthy credit score, these bills have to be paid. Calculate how much they come up to monthly and we'll give you tips on how to reduce them in our saving skills suggestion below.

Late or missed payments on bills can result in unwanted extra charges. The key to staying on top of your bills and not having to turn to payday lenders when they get overwhelming is paying them on time. To save while paying bills, you could look into paying more than the expected amount. This may help with credit card bills, for instance, depending on the interest and agreement you have with the lender. In regards to your energy bills, there are ways you can be more energy efficient to reduce the amount you're spending. To stay organised, setting up direct debits is one of the easiest ways to ensure they're paid in a timely manner. However, budgeting still plays a core role in this as you have to ensure there's enough money in your account to avoid bank charges. The key skill when it comes to saving on bills is to have a payment schedule and reduce consumption where possible.

Shopping skills

Updating your wardrobe and buying personal fashion items shouldn't be ruled out in the bid to save. Overspending and going on shopping sprees are things you may want to prohibit to keep up with your saving goals though. Personal upkeep expenses tend to consist of clothing, personal hygiene items and other related things. Calculate how much you spend on these items monthly and see what you could live without. Also, check and see where you could reduce wastage.

Bargain hunting

The good news for the skill that you'll need to save on personal upkeep is it's relatively easy to develop. Within the retail industry, flash sales, discounts, and clearances happen regularly. It's left to you to catch them while they're hot. Try and stick to only buying upkeep items when you can get them for less. Hunt for buy one get one free or half off deals on personal hygiene items as well. Stocking up during these seasons may save you more than buying one item every time you run out. The main thing is to keep your eyes peeled for deals.

Unforseen expenses

This is the pot that can't always be accounted for. It could include anything from buying a flying spaceship to buying toothpicks just because they were one pound. It is important to keep an eye on these expenses as they are the ones that are usually random spends. Accumulatively, sometimes they end up accounting for a large part of our monthly expenses. Miscellaneous might also include unforeseen expenses like a broken gadget or fixing a sudden plumbing issue. On that note, be sure to factor that into your budget as well.

In terms of necessary and unexpected costs, DIY will be your saving grace. Learn how to fix things yourself and remember that not everything that's broken has to be fixed immediately. Learning to go without will help you develop your saving skills.

The primary skill you're going to need to keep miscellaneous expenses under control is to learn to just say no. You'll find that most of the time, miscellaneous spends are driven by impulse. If you let the impulse die down, it's likely you'll realize that you really don't need that item. Another means of helping you keep the random spending under control is using cash instead of card. Cash may help you be more frugal with your spending. Sometimes the convenience of using a card is counterproductive as we can use it to buy things we don't need. Buying things you don't need is a quick way to end up short for the month.

All work and no play makes for a dull time no? In this case, we wouldn't ask you to ditch things that make you happy. Work-life balance requires that you sometimes indulge in things that aren't work-related. This could include watching some of your favorite TV shows, subscribing to a music streaming service, or working out. Calculate how much you spend on entertainment on a monthly basis. And then you can look at what you may be able to reduce or cut out. There are several ways that you can give yourself the entertainment you need without spending an exorbitant amount.

Entertaining yourself for as little as possible is the saving skill you'll need to adapt to stay within your budget. If you enjoy streaming music, perhaps look at cheaper alternatives. You could also take the time out to download music for free and create your own playlists. If your guilty pleasure happens to be the gym, we have a variety of ways you can keep fit and exercise for less. Whatever the case, never take a cost at face value. Search the internet and local newspapers for coupons, major deals and promotions.

Similar to the point above, socialising is an important part of life. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, it will be an expense at one point or another. Scan through your bank statement and see how much you've spent on nights out. This could include trips to the cinema, going out to eat with colleagues, or going out for a few drinks over the weekend. As with the other expenses, pen down a realistic amount that you want to stick to every month.

Socialising can be a lot cheaper when it's done with a bit of tact. There are several restaurant apps that will help you save money through dining credits, meal deals, and coupons. If you're going out for drinks, look for where they're doing happy hours or discounts. Cinemas often do promos as well. The point is, try your best to look for discounts and deals for your social nights out.

Invest like a pro

The other side of the coin is how to invest those savings to maximise the return. This is actually a huge area and outside the scope of this guide but make sure to do your research and speak to investment professionals before butting your hard-won savings to work.

Conclusion

Saving skills aren't something you will develop overnight. However, being in charge of your finances reduces the need to turn to credit if you experience the need for emergency finance. It takes time to unlearn all of your spending habits and adopt new ones. You may experience many episodes of rising and falling, but with determination, you can reach your financial goals.

We hope this guide has inspired you to go out and create your own budget and saving goals. What are some of your saving skills and which ones do you struggle with most? Let us know on social media. For more information on different types of saving accounts available why not take a look at this site.

We mentioned finding things to do for less, so why not check out our guide to exercising.