What would you love to do, or experience, this year?
How about treating your family to a special summer holiday? Or maybe you can think of a way to get more out of day-to-day life. Improving your kitchen with a roomier fridge. Buying a safer, more cost-effective car.
To achieve the things you want for 2016, you don’t have to earn megabucks. Most of us can work towards our goals by saving a little each time we get money in.
Get the most out of your year – save!
Savings are the best way to fund your new-year dreams. Not only do they let you make positive changes without getting into debt, they can also help you feel more confident about the future. Knowing you've got money to fall back on if things go wrong can save you a lot of stress and worry.
How to get better at saving
If you find it hard to get a good balance between saving and spending, then fear not! Make a new year’s resolution to follow these four simple saving tips, and you’ll have a nice pot of money in no time.
Tip no. 1: Know your budget
To become a brilliant saver, you have to know your budget. This means knowing how much money you've got coming in and going out, so you know how much you can put aside.
There are many free budget planners online that can make this task easier. Here’s one you can try from the Money Advice Service.
Before you start working out your budget, you’ll need to:
Understand what you typically spend each month. (A good way is to keep all your receipts, and write down what you’ve spent each day for a month.
Gather together all your bills from the past year.
Check your credit union or bank transactions for the last year to find out what you spent on one off occasions – like Christmas and holidays.
Once you’ve entered all the information into the planner, it will work out how much money you should have to spare. You can decide how much of this you want to put in to your savings.
Tip no. 2: Sort out your savings accounts
If you’re saving for more than one thing, it makes sense separate your savings into different accounts:
Emergency savings should go in an account with easy access, like your BCU member share account.
The Christmas Saver is perfect for preparing for festive spending well in advance.
If you have £1000 or more already saved, consider transferring it to a Bristol Credit Union Cash ISA, where you can earn interest at a competitive rate.
Tip no. 3: Make payments automatic
Set up standing orders into your savings accounts, so that straight after you receive your pay or benefits, the same amount of money automatically gets saved. Not only will this give you a hassle-free way to build up your savings, you’ll also be less tempted to spend what you’re meant to be putting aside.
If you work for one of our Employer Partners, we can set up payroll deduction, so that money automatically goes into your savings direct from your pay.
Tip no. 4: Cut down on costs
If you spend less, you can save more. A great way to do this is to avoid wasting energy, water and food:
The Energy Saving Trust offers great advice for lowering your energy bills. Check out their ‘quick wins’.
Visit Save Water Save Money to find out if you’re eligible for a free water-saving pack.
The average UK household throws away around £470 worth of food each year. Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for fantastic food-saving ideas that will also save you cash.
With a bit of thought and planning, healthy saving habits can become easy. Start saving now, and you’ll reap the rewards later in 2016!
Want to set up a new savings account? Get in touch today – we’re here to help.
What are your top tips for spending less and saving? Share them with us by tweeting with the hashtag #SavingTips2016.
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