I’ll admit it, I love saving money, sorting my life out and feeling super organised and in control. I read Refinery29 Money Diaries every week, I save every month without fail and I love a coupon. I also love shopping and spending money on shit I like which is why I don’t want to waste money in places that I could spend less. I also save so that I know I have something to fall back on in any emergency!
I’m asked for life and money advice as much as I’m asked about red lipstick tips and restaurant recommendations so I just wanted to share a few things for the New Year that might help if you’re in a pickle with the pennies. Please feel free to DM me on Instagram if you have any questions too, I’d love to help if I could.
1. Reduce or relieve yourself of debt
- Step one. Getting out of that overdraft or paying off your credit card? The dream, right? This should be your aim before saving if you have debt to clear. Break it down into smaller amounts, pay as much as you can and you’ll soon see things clearer and you can watch the debt tick down. Transfer your debt to a no interest credit card if you can and then you won’t be stung with further charges.
- See where you can cut back if you really need to make a change. Gym memberships, magazine memberships, Netflix, weekly food shopping, switching utility suppliers – there are so many places where you can make monthly savings. Share Netflix accounts with your friends, get a Spotify Premium family account instead of all paying a tenner each, cancel that gym membership for two months and do free home workouts. If your gym membership is £50+ you could pay £100+ off your debt or credit card in just a couple of months.
2. Get organised
- Make yourself a locked excel or Google Sheet financial fact sheet where you have all your household utility details like account numbers, the names of products that you have with each bank or lender and then maybe the credit that you have to pay off too if this is helpful to keep a note of. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for doing this next time you need to ring British Gas or whoever and they ask for the account number that you can never remember!
- Track your spending. I separate my ‘disposable’ income and pop it all onto a Starling account where I can see how much I’m spending instantly and I know that’s the cash I’ve got for the month. This means that I’ll never spend money that’s meant to be in my savings account or paying for my mortgage.
- Know your bills. Here is a Bills Tracker spreadsheet that I’ve created and I use to see how much disposable income I will have each month. Obviously this has made up numbers on and you can add your own outgoings too, for example I have National Trust membership and contact lenses on mine! You know how in the summer your heating bills might go down and if you get a freebie Spotify account for 3 months you won’t have to pay for that? You might as well track these things and you’ll have more cash than you think. Or, when you need to pay more into your savings account because Christmas is coming, you’ll know how much you can spend on day to day treats.
3. Start saving
- Make saving money the first thing you do when you get paid each month and it’ll become a habit. Work out how much you can save by taking your outgoings away from your incomings and then take what you want as disposable income and the rest can be your savings. This is how I save every month and how I had enough to buy my first house at 25.
- I can’t officially recommend any savings products as I work in financial services but shop around for the best savings accounts for you and your circumstances. There are loads of good interest rates on free accounts these days too. Make sure you’ll have access to your money if you’ll want it – or, alternatively, make sure you can’t touch your money if you’re trying to not spend your savings!
- Check that you’re enrolled on your workplace pension and that you’re contributing as much as you want to. Pay more now and you’ll have to save less over the years. If you start saving into your pension at 45, you’ll have to save a hell of a lot more each month than if you started at 25.
4. Shop better
- Now you’ve got your spending money sorted, you’re saving and feeling like a boss, let’s make it even better. Here’s how to get freebies, cashback and vouchers if you’re willing to put in a teeny bit of effort.
- If you get into the habit of using a cashback website such as Quidco or Top Cashback every time you shop online you’ll easily get little bits of cashback building up. Forget about it because you would have shopped anyway and then you’ll get a nice surprise when you get £20 cashback pop up in your account. Cash this out and use it for food shopping, Debenhams beauty treats, whatever the hell you like. I usually get mine for Tesco because you get a little bonus on top and it helps keep the food bills down. Use this link and you’ll get £5 bonus when you start using Quidco.
- Free snacks sounds good right? Yas. Say hey to Shopmium. There are loads of great brands on here from biscuits to cleaning products and you’ll either get them for free (after submitting a claim for the cashback) or with a big discount. The app is so easy to use. Spy a snack you want to buy, check which shops it’s available in, go to that shop and buy it. Keep your receipt, scan the product and take a photo of the receipt and then in about 2 days you’ll have a PayPal payout of your cashback. Obviously it’s a tiny bit of effort but it takes two minutes to do a claim. Once we got about £15 worth of free food from a really nice veggie brand from us both having Shopmium and it stocked us up for ages!
- Use this link to sign up and you’ll get a free box of Quality Street (if you haven’t had enough already!) and I’ll get ‘referral credits’ which means I’ll get extra cashback when I submit claims.
There we have four tips and tricks and random pieces of advice that I always use to keep my finances under control. Even if you just start to do one of these tips to save money or reduce debt or just get organised you’ll feel better about your cash flow. Let me know in the comments if this was helpful!