Your Savings ABCs


First things first: set your savings goal. Write down how much it is and when you are aiming to reach it by.

When it comes to saving, planning and research are your friend. Make sure you are registered for online banking and do some research on the apps available to make managing your money easier, like OnTrees and Money Dashboard.

Hot tip Set up a separate bank account that is only for savings. Work backwards from your goal and work out how much you can realistically transfer each month, then set up a standing order from your main account. Committing to doing this, even if it’s a small amount each month, is a great habit to get into and will help you maintain slow and steady saving.

Saving in large chunks is hard; saving bit-by-bit is much more manageable. Avoid impulse buys, follow our budgeting tips and it will gradually add up.

Hot tip Write your savings goal at one end of a piece of paper and put it on your wall. Every time money - however small the amount - goes into your separate savings account, draw it onto the piece of paper. Or if, like most of us, you look at your phone more than your walls, try an app like SavingsGoals. Seeing it add up will help keep you motivated.

The more you keep a beady eye on your money, the more you will find yourself becoming a savings master. If things are getting too off-track, don’t be afraid to change your plans or savings goal.

Hot tip Download your bank’s app to your phone and put a reminder in your calendar to check it once a week. Most apps have a ‘fast balance’ check option, so you can see how you’re doing in a matter of seconds (and before you go and spend your recent pay check on *another* pair of trainers).

Don’t be disheartened if things don’t go to plan. Just refocus for the following week or month and get back on your savings track.

You can always go back to your goal, or plan, and re-jig things to make it more manageable within your budget.

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Back to Savings ABCs

Click on the tabs to see how you can save in different areas

1
Plan your food shopping for the week/month ahead and make sure you buy what you need for meals, rather than spending money on less necessary bits that might go unused.
2
Consider choosing 'own brand' items when food shopping. They're often just as tasty but can save you lots of money.
3
Cooking in bulk is a really cost-effective way of eating. If you live with mates, take turns cooking for everyone: it's cheaper AND saves you cooking everyday.
4
Head to the supermarket just before it closes: you could find loads of discounted products (make sure to check the 'use by' date and eat in time).
5
Know your weak spot – if it's coffee, buy a travel cup and make it at home; if it's a salad from a certain shop, buy ingredients to make your own. Both will be cheaper and you can save the difference.
6
Search for recipes online based on the ingredients you have in your fridge and cupboards - you'll be amazed at what you can do with a tin of tuna, a leek and a potato.
1
Compare prices online before you buy rather than impulse buying in the shops – you can often find cheaper deals online.
2
Check out websites that give you cashback for shopping with them – some banks offer this service via current accounts, or try out websites like TopCashback. You'd be surprised how much it mounts up!
3
Consider second hand bargains - check out charity shops in your local area first to see if they have what you're after. Shopping AND giving money to charity is a win for everyone. Or hunt for bargains online with sites like Gumtree or Etsy.
4
Consider making gifts, rather than buying them. It can save loads of money and be great fun in the process. Check out sites like Pinterest for inspiration. Sites like Hobbycraft are a great one-stop-shop for craft bits – students even get a 10% discount.
5
Swap it; don't buy it. For large items like furniture, check out Freecycle ® – a website where people give away unwanted goods. It could save you a fortune, and you can feel great about helping the environment, all at the same time.
6
Sell things you never use online, with sites like eBay, to help fund your next purchase. If they're matching amounts, you'll even come out...even.
1
Have a treat day. That café-bought drink coffee or sandwich will taste even sweeter if you've eaten at home all week.
2
When out with friends, consider withdrawing a fixed amount of cash (that you have checked next to your budget) so you can track your spending easily. Or use an app like Event Splitter to spread payments evenly among your pals.
3
A bit of research can save you a lot of pennies: check out local listings for fun, free events like Open Mic nights or exhibitions.
4
Throw a house party rather than paying for an expensive club night. If you're working, set up a netball or running club with colleagues, for a healthier and cheaper evening out.
5
If you're dating, it doesn't have to be expensive to be fun and impressive. Think outside the 'dinner and cinema' box – have picnics in the park or make your own cinema and have a DVD night.
6
If you're eating out, see if you can find a voucher online e.g. Voucher Codes, or through rewards points that you may collect.
1
Make sure to add up those monthly streaming subscriptions. Check how many you are signed up for. Challenge yourself to think about if you're making good enough use of all of them to justify the outgoing.
2
If you register for a free trial - remember to cancel it before the monthly payment kicks in if you aren't using it properly.
3
Keeping up with the latest mobile and other technology packages can be a huge chunk each month. Check out sites like uSwitch for advice on moving provider for a better deal.
4
Technology moves quickly. Prioritise your savings goal over the latest upgrade (there will always be another one coming up).
5
If you are in the market for a new laptop or tablet, think about buying a refurbished one instead of brand new. Just remember: manufacturer warranty only applies to the initial user, but you can pay for additional cover.
6
Consider buying the physical version of games rather than downloading from official services. This way you will be able to sell/swap the disc once you're done.
1
If you travel a lot by train and are within the age range, look into getting a 16-25 Railcard. You can save up to 1/3 on all journeys. Or check out Megabus, it might be cheaper to travel by bus than train.
2
Travelling around your city or local area will be cheaper - and healthier - by foot or on a bike.
3
Cabs can become expensive. But if there are a lot of you, a cab might work out cheaper than a train when divided between everyone. Use an app like 'Pay Friendz' to transfer money between people in your group.
4
If you're a new driver, insurance can be a huge cost. Use sites like Money Saving Expert for advice on the best insurance deals for new drivers and if you can, talk to your parents about how best to bring costs down.
5
Set up price alerts for cheap flights so you're booking at the cheapest time.
6
Be flexible in your approach to holidays - on sites like SkyScanner, use the 'everywhere' tab, and be guided by the cheaper options. Your new favourite holiday destination might be somewhere you never knew existed...

34 ways to save

So, you’ve decided you want to save up for driving lessons, or perhaps a holiday. Or, it might be that you don’t have a specific goal in mind but want to make it through the month worrying a little less. Whichever category you fall in to, you’re probably feeling a bit daunted by the prospect. Having money to put away each month might not seem, at first, like something you can do. But fear not: by developing good spending habits and thinking about where your money goes, you can reach your savings goals. From your Savings ABC to being thrifty with food, tech, socialising, shopping and travel, our 34 ways to save tool can help. 

Following completing the tool, if you don’t yet have a savings goal in mind, why not get a head start and sign up to Money Saving Expert’s weekly saving tips email. It gives handy hints about how to save, and even money-saving vouchers. And the Money Advice Service is a brilliant one-stop-shop for all money matters.

34 Ways to Save isn’t the only way you can improve your money management. Get to know your Money Personality, get help Understanding your Payslip and learn to think long term about Your money and your life.

Please note: We’ve provided these savings tips for information purposes only. This isn't financial advice. We don’t give tax advice, so you should seek independent advice from a suitably qualified professional if you need it