Monday, 19 January 2015

Savings advice I would give to my younger self.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Halifax via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Halifax.

Do you ever feel like you don't know what's happening to all your money, despite living quite a modest life? We have all been there, right? I know I have. It was understandable when I was a student, but with two adults working full time it was time to save for our future together. 

I must admit, I wasn't amazing at saving, but I managed to put a couple of thousand pounds away towards our wedding, our first car and holidays. We originally planned to get a mortgage as well, but unfortunately it didn't work out, so we are still renting a property. If I could turn back time and have a slightly different attitude, we would be living in our own house by now. It is possible, you just have to develop a different mindset. Here is some advice I would give to my younger self. I hope you find it useful :)

- Sit down and make a list of things you want. Everyone is at a different stage of life and you can either save up for your dream holiday, a car, a designer handbag or a deposit for a house. Maybe you just want to have some emergency funds for your future to feel more secure. Once you have your goal in your head, you can start thinking about saving for it. 

- Choose your bank wisely. Remember that you don't have to stay with the bank you are using at the moment. I wasn't sure what to do when I started saving and when I went to my bank, the only thing they were concerned about was giving me the highest overdraft possible. Yes, overdrafts can be an easy way of getting extra cash when you need it, but you have to pay it back or you will keep paying interest and charges on it and the amount you owe won't change. Be smart about using your overdraft.

- Open a Cash ISA - individual savings account that let's you save tax free. I used a standard savings account that was linked to my online banking, but the interest rate on it was ridiculously low so it wasn't really beneficial. If you are saving big amounts of money, you want a high interest rate. But even if you only save £10- £20 per week, the cash is building up and after a couple of years you will have a decent amount of tax free savings.

- Calculate your budget. You have to know exactly how much money you are earning and how much you need to cover all your bills. Everything you have left after that is your disposable income and you can do whatever you wish with it. From my experience, most of it gets spent on groceries, meals out and takeaways. I also used to spend a fortune on clothes and makeup. It wasn't anything expensive, but it all adds up and you start wondering where all your money is.

- As boring as it sounds, meal planning is the key to saving money in my household. We spend most of our money on food and sometimes it is ridiculous. Did you know that one person can eat healthy, balanced meals for only £10.00-£15.00 a week. Yep! You just have to spend 15 minutes a week planning the meals and preparing your shopping list.

- Another massive expense is lunches for work. Oh my... I could easily spend £5-£10 a day on my lunch. It adds up to hundred of pounds a month and thousands per year! Making your own delicious sandwich or salad and taking it to work with you will cost you a fraction of the bought lunch. Make your own cup of tea or coffee too and enjoy the savings. You don't have to do it every day, but you will quickly realise how much money you are saving and you will be delighted!

- Instead of going on a shopping spree every week and buying cheap bits and bobs all the time, invest in good quality, timeless pieces you will keep for longer (possibly forever). The way I look at it is simple - do I still have all the cheap clothes I bought 5 years ago? Nope. And I didn't even wear most of them more than once. Do I still have designer pieces I invested more money in? Yes, and they are well loved. 

- Shop around! I think it is obvious for our generation to find the best deals, especially when you are buying something expensive. Who said you can't save and splurge at the same time? Whether it's a new phone or a new designer bag, shopping around can save you hundreds of pounds. Same with finding insurance, mobile contracts, broadband, electricity providers etc. There are always great deals available.

- Save while you spend! Use cashback sites, voucher codes, points cards etc. You would be surprised how much you can save with them, especially if you shop online a lot. It's very rewarding :)

- Sell all your unwanted clothes, gadgets, jewellery etc on websites like ebay. Sell anything you haven't worn or used for longer than 6-12 months, unless it is something special. I am a hoarder so I understand that it is easier said than done, but having too much stuff means that you don't even use 10% of it and you simply don't need it. 

- If you love going out, but want to spend less money on it, check out restaurant deals online. The savings you can make are incredible, but you still get to enjoy yourself the same way you used to.

- Love parties, but you feel like you spend far too much when you go out? When I was at uni, I didn't have a student loan. I worked for every penny myself, so I knew how hard it is to earn a living. I still loved having a good time with my friends, but instead of going out all the time, we preferred house parties and we had even more fun! Whether you drink alcohol or not, it is always cheaper to do cocktails at home. Same with food - homemade pizzas, sushi, canapes etc.

- If you have kids (like me), you will know that they cost a fortune. They grow out of their clothes really quickly, they want new toys etc. I buy 90% of Zachary's clothes on sale, mostly in supermarkets. The quality is great and I can stock up on basics for a couple of pounds. Same with toys - I always get the best deal possible and don't go crazy with presents. Charity shops are also fantastic for used toys in an excellent condition. 

- The last tip, but probably the one that can save you a huge amount of money is staying with your parents, if they are happy with the idea. I moved to another country when I was 18/19 so this doesn't apply to me, but the amount of money you can save this way is insane. If you have a great relationship with your parents, it is the best thing you can do. 

Saving doesn't mean that you have to stop living your life and become a Scrooge. You can live your life to the full and save or save to experience new, amazing things, travel the world and treat yourself to the things you are dreaming about. If I didn't save money, I wouldn't be able to afford our wedding or an amazing holiday in France and visiting my family abroad. The next step for us is buying land and building a house and I am really looking forward to saving up for it. Financial jargon can be a bit confusing, but Halifax recently created some short videos explaining everything you need to know about saving. You can find them all HERE. Straight to the point, no confusion. Want to know What types of mortgages are there or what interest rates are? They have you covered.

What are you currently saving for?

Halifax – Making Banking Extra Easy to Understand

*sponsored post



  1. Some really good tips here, I wish I'd listened to more of this advice as a student! I used to live in a student house at half the cost of one nearer to campus but it was so far away I never went home between lectures and always ate out so I didn't save money at all! Now that I work I make myself lunches etc. and it's made such a difference to my budget.

  2. Love this post, so useful.
    I think i'm pretty good at saving money but it's nice to have some more motivation.

  3. I completely agree with everything you said! Setting up a savings account and starting to budget every month is the best thing I've done!

    I also think checking your account a few times a week is responsible, because people tend to be scared away but carry on spending. I like to make sure I'm on top of my account and can see every transaction. I also think writing a list of direct debits and the dates they are taken is so helpful because some people forget and don't budget accordingly

  4. Thanks for the advice! These are great tips. As a college student, I need to be think about this a lot more.

    Theatricality by Mariah

  5. Some great tips Sandra. I could kick myself now thinking about some of the bad decisions I have made with my finances over the years but I guess its never too late to change spending habits & learn to save. Oh & I love your Wedding photo - you look beautiful

  6. Some great tips :) I am about to start my first job soon so I really ought to think more about my spendings and start a plan to save.

    Thank you for the tips, Hope you have a lovely day ♥

    Ying | * Y i n g c b e a u t y *

    X x X x X

  7. I love personaly fianance tips! There were some good ones here I have never though of.


  8. I agree about the meal plan too , I waste so much money keep shopping every other day and then I pick up extra when they are on special . What a great post. xox


Thank you very much for your comment. If you have an important question, you can contact me via Twitter: @TheBlackPearlB

PS. I approve all comments manually, so giveaway links and other spam comments will be removed.

Love xxx Sandra

01 09 10