10 Clever and Creative Ways To Save Money

Written by Fraser Stewart
Reading time 6 minutes
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Are you craving financial security or saving towards a big goal? Do you spend all day reading finance articles and dreaming of not having to worry about money? In this article, we will break down the basic steps of managing your finances. If you want to know how to save money, this article is for you.

The Importance of Budgeting

The first step is to know what you're working with and crunch the numbers.

Creating a personal budget is a great way to record your income and budget for what you have available to you for spending. This can help you plan effectively and ensure that you are living within your means. We recommend the 50/30/20 rule:

To help you, we have created a detailed guide to budgeting. Or, if you'd like help straight away, why not sign-up to Lyfeguard? You can connect your bank accounts directly and view your spending and transactions in real-time. This is a budgeting tool that helps you without having to go through each of your accounts day-by-day.

However you go about it, completing an analysis on your income and spending patterns will help you to make a realistic budget. After this, you can focus on where to cut back and save money.

Cancel Unwanted Subscriptions

People tend to lose track of subscription services, forgetting to cancel them when they are no longer needed. 

In fact, research from Natwest reveals that Brits are wasting £25 billion each year due to unused monthly payments.

This equates to £39 per adult per month on things we don't use or want. That's £468 per year, or £30,000 across a lifetime!

Areas with the most unused subscriptions include:

The good news is that cancelling subscriptions is one of the easiest ways to save money. You should be able to identify these subscriptions when you create your budget, either by yourself or through an app, such as Lyfeguard.

Adopt Incremental Savings

Big changes can be hard to stick to. Start with small, manageable adjustments to your spending and review your financial progress after three months. This gradual approach helps form lasting saving habits. For instance, saving an additional £200 monthly can make a significant impact over time. Once you’re comfortable with this, gradually increase your savings. 

Simple actions, like bringing lunch from home most days or moderating your social spending, can contribute without sacrificing all enjoyment. Focus on trimming excess spending that doesn't align with your core interests or needs.

Establish Financial Milestones 

Aiming for financial security is commendable but can be too broad to tackle effectively. Break it down into measurable milestones for a clearer path to success. For instance:

Your financial goals should not just focus on ways to save money; they should also focus on paying down debt, building credit, purchasing assets, and saving for retirement.

Your financial strategy should encompass saving, debt reduction, credit building, asset acquisition, and retirement planning. Ensure your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Instead of a vague aim to eliminate credit card debt, plan to reduce it by £100 each month over six months.

Changing Your Mindset

Saving begins with changing your mindset. Learning to wait before making a purchase can make a big difference to your bank balance. It's about controlling the urge to buy things instantly and understanding the benefits of saving for future needs. This change in thinking can also make you feel more satisfied and in control of your finances.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Making small changes in your lifestyle can add up to big savings. Instead of paying others, try doing things yourself, like fixing things around the house or making your own coffee. Challenge yourself to spend less by not buying anything unnecessary for a whole month. These new habits can be enjoyable and can save you a lot of money.

Smart Food Shopping

Be clever with your grocery shopping to save money. This means looking for bargains, choosing non-branded items, and only buying what you need. Planning your meals for the week and sticking to a shopping list can prevent impulse buys. Shopping on days when there are sales and using cashback offers are also smart ways to save when you're buying food.

Managing Household Expenses

You can keep your home bills low by taking a few easy steps. Turning off your electronics when they're not in use and using lights that consume less electricity can cut your energy costs. Also, using your appliances during times when electricity is cheaper and making sure your home is well-insulated can help reduce your bills. These are simple habits that can save you money on your energy use.

Cutting Down on Eating Out

If you cook at home more and eat out less, you'll save money. Preparing your meals can be healthier and cheaper than buying food from outside. Getting into the routine of making your own food can also be a rewarding experience that saves money.

Reducing Transportation Costs

You can lower your travel costs by driving more smoothly, keeping your car in good condition, and sharing journeys with others. Using apps to find the best petrol prices can also help. These small changes in the way you travel can reduce your costs and help you save money.

In Conclusion

Gaining control over your finances can transform dreams of financial security into reality. 

By taking the time to budget wisely, monitor your spending, and trim unnecessary expenses like unused subscriptions, you can begin to build solid financial habits. Embrace incremental changes to avoid feeling overwhelmed and set clear, SMART financial milestones to guide your journey. 

Remember, it's not just about cutting costs—it's about making strategic choices that align with your life's goals and values. By adjusting your mindset, adopting lifestyle changes, and making informed decisions on everyday expenses, you can pave the way to a more secure financial future. 

Whether it's through budgeting tools like Lyfeguard or simply being more mindful about your daily choices, every step you take is a move towards a more prosperous and worry-free life.

FAQs

What is the 30-Day Rule?The 30-day rule is a simple method to curb impulse spending and enhance your savings habit. Whenever you're tempted to make a non-essential purchase, you pause and wait for 30 days. If, after this period, you still feel the purchase is necessary or valuable, you can consider buying it. The primary aim of this rule is to differentiate between 'wants' and 'needs', reducing unnecessary expenses and helping to build a more mindful approach to spending.

How to Save £10,000 in 1 Year in the UK?To save £10,000 in a year in the UK, you need to set aside approximately £833 per month. This target can be achieved through a combination of budgeting, cost-cutting, and possibly increasing your income. Start by reviewing your monthly expenses and identifying areas where you can reduce costs. Consider using budgeting tools or apps that track your spending. Additionally, explore ways to increase your income, such as taking on freelance work, selling unused items, or seeking additional employment. It's crucial to be consistent and disciplined in your approach to reach this goal.

What is the 50/30/20 Rule?The 50/30/20 rule is a budgeting guideline suggesting that 50% of your income should be spent on necessities (like rent, utilities, groceries), 30% on discretionary items (like dining out, entertainment), and 20% should go towards savings and debt repayment. This rule is designed to provide a balanced approach to managing your finances, ensuring that you cover your essential needs, enjoy your lifestyle, and build a financial cushion or reduce debt.

How Much Should I Save Per Month?The amount you should save each month depends on your personal financial goals, income, and expenses. A general guideline is to save at least 20% of your income, as suggested by the 50/30/20 rule. However, this percentage can vary based on your specific circumstances. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your financial objectives, whether it's building an emergency fund, saving for a large purchase, or preparing for retirement, and then tailor your savings accordingly.

Is it Ever Too Late to Start Saving?It's never too late to start saving. While starting early has its benefits, beginning at any stage can still positively impact your financial future. The key is to start as soon as possible and be consistent. Even small amounts saved regularly can accumulate over time, thanks to the power of compound interest. Starting later means you might need to save a higher percentage of your income or adjust your financial goals, but the act of saving itself is always beneficial.

Is it Ever Too Late to Start Investing?Similar to saving, it's never too late to start investing. While starting earlier gives your investments more time to grow, beginning at any age can still provide financial benefits. When you start investing later in life, you might need to adjust your investment strategy, focusing more on less risky investments and considering your shorter time horizon. However, investing can still be a valuable tool for growing your wealth and achieving financial goals, regardless of when you start.

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