Piggy banks

How to start saving cash when you feel like you have none

We all know that we should be spending less money and saving more – but that can be easier said than done when you feel like you’re always too broke to make ends meet. If no matter what you do, you seem to struggle to find room in your budget for a savings account, then you’re not alone. A lot of Brits say that they simply don’t have enough in their bank account to deal with an emergency if one should arrive.

The good news is that even if you’ve been struggling with savings up until now, you don’t have to give up on yourself. We’ve got some tips that will help you to start embracing new budgeting habits, even when you’re tight on cash.

1. Tell yourself that no amount is too small

One of the biggest things that stop people from saving is that they convince themselves that they have to be reaching a specific target each month to make their savings habits worthwhile. The more you tell yourself that you “should” be saving a certain amount, the harder it is to celebrate the small achievements that you do accomplish.

For instance, start by looking for ways that you can set about £10 aside each week. Maybe this means that you don’t eat out at lunch one day, or you walk to work instead of taking the bus. Anything you can save will make a difference in the long-term.

2. Get creative with your savings goals

By saving a small amount each month, you start to make saving into a habit, which means that it’s easier to accomplish going forward. As you get used to keeping track of your money, you’ll be able to start looking for other ways that you can set extra money aside. Can you pack a lunch three days a week to take to work, or join a car sharing service?

Look into the subscriptions that you pay for each month, like your gym memberships or TV subscription. Are you using them? Could you get rid of your gym membership and work out in the comfort of your own home instead?

3. Get help from your friends

Although your friends can’t necessarily pay all your bills for you, they can make it easier for you to stick to your targets. For instance, if your nearest and dearest know that you’re trying to watch what you spend, they’re less likely to invite you out to expensive evenings, and they’re more likely to be open to creative ideas like having a movie night at home or eating together.

Your friends will also encourage you to be honest about your spending so you can track your money more realistically. It’s much harder to tell yourself that you can ignore your regular morning latte when your best friend is reminding you to watch what you spend.

4. Put your savings on autopilot

The chances are that you already have a bunch of expenses that come out of your bank account each month. Why not look for a way to add saving money to those automatic payments? Just like you might set up a direct debit for your energy bills and insurance costs, consider adding a small payment to your bank each month that transfers maybe £20 from your income into a savings account.

By moving the money, you want to save into a different space; you’re less likely to automatically use it when you see something extra you want. You’ll also force yourself to be more creative with the way you spend your cash.

5.    Tackle debt quickly

One of the biggest reasons that people struggle to save extra money each month is because they’re constantly paying interest on their debts instead. With a little luck, you did some comparison shopping before you got your loan so you could ensure that you were getting the best rates, but you’ll still have an extra cost that you need to deal with for a while.

A good way to speed things along when it comes to reaching your financial goals is to focus on paying off your debts before you add any money to your savings account. This will give you more money at the end of each month that you can spend on yourself.

6.    Challenge yourself to a no-spend month

Finally, try changing the way you think about cash completely with a no-spend month. Only spend some money on your essential bills and avoid anything else. This will force you to come to terms with your financial habits and may transform the relationship that you have with your money.

Photograph by Low Jianwei

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