Want to make 2020 the year you get your finances in check? Putting some time aside to manage your money can make a real difference to your year but, for most, getting started is the hardest part. Read on for 6 easy money saving tips and ideas, designed to help you create habits that will make sure you finish the month in the green.
1. Monthly challenge and monthly reset
At work, a lot of us have deadlines we’re expected to meet, objectives we’re given to achieve – and we aim for them! So why do our personal lives have to be any different? At the start of each month, sit down and figure out your expenses by breaking them into categories:
- Committed expenses (bills, mortgage, etc)
- Expected expenses (fuel, charitable contributions, school trips, etc)
- Necessary expenses (food)
- Recreation expenses (cinema, impulse clothing, coffees, etc)
Once you know exactly how much your imperative monthly outgoings are, you can start breaking down what you have left to play with.
2. Create a financial to-do list
I LOVE a to-do list. Which is exactly why I created our handy, tear-off, Dragonfly Magnetic To-Do List. When my list is feeling a bit intense, even just the action of writing them all down leaves me feeling a bit more like “I’m on it!”
How many times have you been walking down the road, wondering when your home insurance is up for renewal? You know it’s coming … but just how long do you actually have? Pop your magnetic list on the fridge, and as soon as the reminder drops into your mailbox, note it down. It’s a handy tool for when you come to sit down and start planning.
3. Break it down with a weekly savings plan
Once you’ve calculated what you’ve got left as a disposable income, break it down further. How much does that leave you per week? I recommend using a weekly tracker, such as our Trusty Highland Cow Weekly Planner.
Breaking your monetary week down into days means that there are no unexpected surprises. I use mine to list down when bills such as my credit cards, utility bills and home costs are going out. It’s a weight off my shoulders knowing that all my outgoings are there at a glance. It also means I can plot in little rewards for myself (such as a take-away coffee), without feeling guilt or worrying I’ve gone over.
4. Set yourself goals
Saving goals are a great way to motivate yourself. However, so many of us feel like we have nothing spare at the end of each month. As the days go by, we quickly chip away at what we have access to and, before we know it, it’s all gone. To combat this, try removing a small amount as soon as your salary hits down. I recommend setting up a little direct debit that goes into a separate savings account. It doesn’t need to be a large amount, even £20 would give you £240 over 12 months – a great way to start saving money for Christmas.
5. Review Your Budget
To reiterate your work mindset approach, don’t be afraid to review and make amendments to your monthly strategy if necessary. Big businesses do it all the time. You can too! Just because you went over budget one week, doesn’t mean you can’t tighten the reins a little the next. Reviewing your spending and planner at the end of each week can help you get the month back on track.
6. Take notes with a spending diary
Call me old school, but I often get a little bogged down with all the apps that are already on my phone. As a result, I prefer to carry a little notebook about with me to jot down little spends that I make throughout the day. A little piece of cake here, a birthday card there; these things add up faster than you think (but they’re always the bits I can never remember at the end of the month). Noting down your impulse buys is a great habit to get into so that you can recap at the end of the month. It’ll make you more mindful of your spending. With 32 plain note pages, our Puffin Notepads are a great size for tucking into your back pocket and tracking on the go.
On a final note, don’t be disheartened if your week/month doesn’t go to plan. We all have unexpected outgoings and sometimes they simply can’t be avoided. Just be sure to hit ‘restart’ the following month. I hope these money saving ideas help get you started.
Be sure to check out our range of animal themed stationery to make your planning that little bit more colourful.