Money is something that we all work very hard to earn and hate to see go down the drain. For me, money is something I have had to learn to manage and over the years it hasn’t always been easy. Although this is not a saving money blog, I want to make sure I cover issues that are bothering most of us right now. We all need to keep an eye on our wallets as the cost of living rises.
Fifteen years ago I got hooked on an online casino game and racked up a massive credit card bill. For a long time I paid the price by working through my holidays and cutting back on everything until I got my finances in order.
These days I am a lot more organised when it comes to personal finance. Though I definitely do not claim to be an expert (Far from it!) I would like to share my findings and ask for your ideas in the comments. As the energy crisis hits and the cost of living is set to rise, we all need to find ways to get cover our costs.
Cutting Corners (Saving money by keeping a close eye)
Now it can be very hard to keep track of income and outgoings so I would suggest finding a way that suits you.
When I discovered that one of my direct debits had gone wrong and I was being overcharged by a utility provider every month, I made a drastic decision. Instead of having direct debits I cancelled every single one and asked for a monthly bill instead. Then on pay day I could glance over each bill and pay them individually.
Keeping a close eye on my outgoings like this made me feel more in control and enabled me to spot mistakes in billing, which I would otherwise never have noticed. Even my mortgage is paid like this and I can choose to overpay it if I feel as though I am having a flush month.
Saving money is hard
Have you ever seen a bit of money in the bank and then been itching to spend it frivolously? I have. It is one of the main reasons why saving money is so difficult. I used to put my extra cash in bank ISAs but every time I opened my banking app I could see that money staring at me, willing me to use it on something unnecessary.
Currently money doesn’t make much interest in savings accounts anyway, so it may be worth exploring other ways to store it. I have used an app called ‘Moneybox’ (a product I like but am not sponsored by) which has proven to be a safe place to keep my money and many of my friends have started to use it as well.
Moneybox allows you to store your money in a savings account which has a slightly higher interest rate than most banks and locks in your cash for either 45 or 90 days. In other words I have to think weeks ahead about taking money out and cannot just pull it out and spend it on a whim.
Saving money or investing?
While mentioning Moneybox I have to also say that you can buy and sell shares there easily, too. There are so many options, including allowing the app to invest your money for you, spread across low, medium or high risk investments. Personally I have grown comfortable investing but I feel as though this topic is too complex to include here in any great detail, so watch out for a future mention of this.
Another such form of investment is cryptocurrency which I have also started to use and profit from. It would be interesting to find out how many of you have already begun to use this trendy but volatile method of investing money. Again, I haven’t been using it long enough to speak with confidence about it, but I am keen to know how others are finding it. One of my friends made £1000 in a day but I can see how the same amount can be lost at the drop of a hat.
Stop paying for things that you don’t need
When you sign up to new services, you often forget about them or stop using them, whilst still paying for them monthly. Recently I looked closely at my bank statement and realised I was paying two lots of home insurance as I had searched for a cheaper provider and not bothered cancelling a previous one. I know that is a crazy example but these things happen.
I also noticed that I was paying for a membership of a group that I no longer have an interest in or time for. It is really easy to keep adding payments and signing up for apps and services without then remembering to get rid of them. One online newspaper that I was using had increased its cost by £4 a month without me knowing, and of course I hadn’t even read the thing for ages.
Put money to one side
My nan always said to me, ‘If you earn a bit more one month, spend half and keep half.’ I do this now. When I find that my income has gone up slightly or my costs are down in a particular month (such as February when council tax is not paid) I take half of that additional money and spoil myself with something I want. This can be a theatre ticket, a new book or even just some chocolate. Meanwhile, I pop the other half into my current favourite savings place.
In the past, when I didn’t trust myself with that money, I used to transfer it to my mum and ask her to give it back to me in summer when I most needed it or it could help me find a holiday. These days I am more settled and can exercise self control, so that extra cash will nearly always go straight into Moneybox or into a separate bank account that I keep without a card. Having no card for it means that I don’t think about using it and it can sit safely in a medium interest account.
Saving money is important
After being incredibly bad with money during my University years and early twenties, I have learned the importance of money saving the hard way. Hopefully, some of the thoughts I shared might resonate with you as you read this. I look forward to reading your comments about any money saving tips that you may have. My short list is not all encompassing but I tried to talk about the key things that have helped me.
Thank you for reading my blog post. Another recent post I wrote about money is Boost Your income – Side hustle suggestions which is where I discussed passive income and ideas for working additional jobs. If you enjoy my content, please consider following my blog and look out for new posts about books, entertainment and life hacks.