Keep Calm and Save Money: The Basic Guidelines…

Saving can be a b***h sometimes.  Especially when you’ve finally got yourself a full time job and you’ve never had that much money in your account before.  Like so many, after pay day I used to find myself trying to suppress the urge to go on some insane shopping spree or book myself a holiday or go on expensive nights out.  Saying ‘no, you don’t need this, you need to save your money for more important things that are going to fall down on you like a ton of bricks in the future,’ becomes more of a whisper, with the little devil on my other shoulder screaming, ‘you know you want to.’ This used to be me, but now I’ve got the hang of this saving malarky and as simple as these tips might sound… put them together and it might be a whole lot easier to say no to the next thing you want but don’t need.  

  1.  Have a clear idea as to what you’re saving your money for.  Yeah it’s probably always wise to save money even when it’s not for anything in particular.  But if you’re bordering on zero self-restraint then knowing that you have money saved for nothing in particular, means that you’ll be quite willing to spend it without feeling bad about it.  
  2. Without being pessimistic, be realistic and recognise the prolonged difficulties you may face in the future if you don’t save for it in the present.  Remind yourself over and over that you’d rather not spend now so as to make things easier in the future.
  3. Set yourself a realistic amount to save and a target to reach by the end of the year.  Obviously it differs with how much you’re earning but try and save the exact same amount every month and don’t be unrealistic with how much you’re saving.  I mean, don’t say to yourself that you’ll save a grand a month, if it only leaves you just enough left to get by on.  By doing this, you’re more likely to keep it up for longer.
  4. Still treat yourself.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend your hard earned money.  I’m just saying, don’t get carried away with it.  For example, rather than going shopping after pay day and buying a handbag, dress and shoes, just buy one of these items, the one that you want the most.  And when you get used to doing this, each month there will be one thing that will stand out to you and you’ll restrict yourself to buying only that.
  5. As basic as this sounds, get yourself a bank account purely for the money you’re saving.  Separate your money and do not keep loads of cash at home and similarly, don’t keep money in the same account as the one you use your card for daily. Otherwise, expect it to go!
  6. I’d say only really bother if you’re serious about it.  This being because it doesn’t matter if you save a grand over a few months but then spend it on something completely different and irrelevant to what you were saving for in the first place, unless it’s something you DO need.   So don’t go into things half-hearted, only save if you’re serious about it.  

 

Obviously it all depends on what you’re saving for.  But I’m looking at it from the perspective of a 22 year-old who’s got herself her first job out of university and who’s beginning to see the dreary realistic side of becoming an adult living in London.  I’m very fortunate in that I can still live at home for a very small amount of rent.  But it can’t be that way forever, so I’ve set myself goals in order to make my situation easier in the future.  So if you’re finding it tricky to stick to your savings plan, I hope maybe these pointers have refreshed your outlook on it and that you’ll be able to get back on it soon enough!  Good luck!    

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