Did you make sorting your finances out one of your New Year’s resolutions? I didn’t go quite that far – I make it a point not to make any promises to myself that I can’t keep! What I did decide to do was to try and save some money properly over the course of the year in 2016 rather than do what I usually do which is move money to my savings account then see that I have money (thanks easy access banking app!) and move it back to my current account so I can buy that gadget I wanted.
I’ve been looking around for ways of saving that I think I can get along with and there are a couple of ideas that struck me as being quite interesting that I may be able to work with.
I think it helps to have a goal in mind so that you know what you’re saving towards – that will really help motivate you to keep saving. Whether it’s a new computer, car, holiday or Christmas there’s bound to be something you need to save for. My goal is a new Macbook; Mine’s 9 years old and while it has done me proud it can’t be upgraded any further and a lot of the newest software won’t run on it. Plus just before Christmas it completely died on me and I had to reformat the hard-drive and reinstall the OS, luckily I’d backed everything up (I had a problem last year that made me sort out a disaster recover plan) but I was still without it for a week or so whilst I managed to find time to fix it so I think I’m about due for a new one.
When saving, you can put your money in a savings account or save physical cash. I’ve tried putting money away in my savings account but as I mentioned it was too easy to access, with cash it’s too easy to dip into a pot (unless you’re able to use a sealed tin or similar) so I’m thinking of – once I’ve got the savings habit up and running – setting up another savings account that’s not so easy to transfer money out of like a 90 day access account, that way I’ll earn more interest too which is always a bonus. The other option will be to hand my cash over to my Dad who can put it to one side for me so I don’t spend it on general stuff but I know I can get access to it in an emergency.
The one thing that’s important to me is that the amounts saved have to be manageable. It’s all well and good saying put £100 (or more) away a month, but some months that’s easier to do than others plus that’s quite a big chunk of money to “lose”. The following are some ideas to help you save money that mentally – to me at least – makes it easier to save as you don’t perceive it as being a huge amount of money to put away but it does add up over time.
So, here’s a couple of ideas that may help you save some money over the course of 2016. And if you choose to try them, I wish you luck!
So the idea behind this challenge is that you save money each week in increasing amounts. In week 1 you start with £1, week 2 is £2 right the way up to the last week of the year when you save £52.
Keep saving in line with the plan and your year-end total would be £1378!
There are plenty of free printable trackers out there but I like the simplicity of this one – and the fact it’s one of the rare ones in pounds rather than dollars!
I think I agree with the thought and sentiment behind the 52 weeks reverse format. Saving £52 in the week of Christmas seems to be a bit counter-intuitive to me, whereas saving £52 at the start of the year and only £1 at Christmas does make more sense. You still save the same amount of money but it’s a bit easier to cope with over the festive period.
If you get paid monthly then the 52 week challenge (normal or reverse) may mean that you don’t have the funds available towards the end of the month to pay into your savings. If you take me as an example, I get paid every 4 weeks so the first couple of weeks of the month would be fine, the last one not so good – and if it’s a 5 week month you have no chance! This post gives some work-arounds for saving monthly but you’ll need to sit down and work it out for the current year, and weeks in each month – or set it up to be a regular 4/6 week thing depending on your pay schedule.
If saving $1 to $52 sounds a bit too expensive – which it does to me at the moment I’m afraid! – how about trying the “penny” challenge instead?
For the penny challenge you simply put away the number of pennies that relate to the day of the year you’re on so January 1st is 1p, January 30th is 30p and (as this year is a leap year) December 31st would be £3.66.
When you think about it, the maximum amount you’re putting away is less than a posh coffee or a pint of beer so in that content it’s not too bad at all!
If you use this method you can save around £670 which, although it’s half of the 52 week method I think it’s a lot less painful than having to part with £52 in one go. You could even double the amounts saved and it would still be a lot easier.
Specific Change Saving
This one depends on how much cash you carry (and spend) as to whether it’ll work for you or not. I rarely carry cash (just like the Queen) but if you do and you end up with a fair bit of change from your latte’s or beers then save some of it. I usually save 1ps through to 20ps. My Dad on the other hand only saves £2 coins. I have around £20 by the end of the year and Dad has a couple of hundred, just make sure you put it where you won’t dip into it for more lattes or parking money!
Read this $2 dollar bill saving post which is what my Dad does, except he saves pounds… and they’re coins!
Over To You
Do you have any savings plans or goals for 2016? If you do, how do you plan to achieve them – are you putting money away under your mattress, giving it to a family member to look after, in a high interest savings account or just sticking it in a jar? Let us know in the comments.