I am one of those people who likes to have some cash tucked away. If I have no savings at all, I get a bit nervous. I’m by no means saintly and usually the amount I put away isn’t a huge amount, but even a couple of hundred euros tucked away could be a life saver.
This year, I managed to save successfully for a couple of things. I saved up enough cash in 6 months to pay my annual car insurance and clear my credit card debts totalling approximately 4,000 euros. I also managed to tuck away enough cash so that when the unexpected news came that I would need to move out of my lovely apartment, I had enough cash not to worry about how I would get the rent deposit (usually 2 month’s rent) together at such short notice.
During all that, I still managed to maintain my social life and did not deprive myself of things. I still managed to go out and even managed a few weekend trips away! These are some of the techniques that I use when saving.
1) I make a budget. I find that if I have an idea of what I can spend, it makes me think more about how I am spending my money.
2) I check my bank account on a regular basis. It always surprises me how many people out there don’t do this! How do you know what you have and what you’ve spent if you never check?! That’s just a recipe for disaster in my opinion.
3) I arrange for all my bills to be paid by direct debit. Companies usually prefer it and it makes it easier to keep track of what is paid.
4) Following from 3, I make sure that all my bills come out the first week after pay day. I do this because it makes it easier for me. Plus you always know that way that there is enough to pay them. If you wait until month end, you might be running low on cash.
5) After bills are paid, I use my budget to work out what the maximum that I can save that month is and then I transfer it immediately to my savings account. If I need it back, I have to log into my account to transfer it to my regular account and usually that seems like too much work, so I end up not touching it.
6) I don’t count my overdraft as extra money. That just eats into my savings money, so in my head, I treat it as what it is…debt! So as much as I possibly can, I try to avoid going into it. If I do, it is never that much. I only go in as far as I can afford to live without the next month when it is repaid.
7) I have a savings app to track my savings and how it is looking against my target. I find having a visual of this keeps me motivated
8) I learned to say no to things. If I cannot afford to go, I politely decline and explain that I cannot afford it. I have learned to be realistic with how far my money can stretch to accommodate my social life.
9) I shop around. I don’t automatically assume that the first price I find is the best. If I’m making a huge purchase, I will do a quick search on Google to see where else I can buy this from and what their prices are like.
10) Also on the topic of shopping. I stopped just going into shops to browse. I found that doing that I spent a lot of money buying things that I’d never use or wear. Now, if I go to a shop, it’s because they have something I want and I go in and get it. Of course I still get distracted whilst there, but at least I lower the temptation.
I’m sure there are others that I have been doing, but at the moment they have completely slipped my mind.