If you feel like there’s never enough money left at the end of the month to help boost your savings and finally own your own home, then take a look at our saving-savvy suggestions to get your deposit
1 Engage your brain
Do you ever buy without really thinking about it, those little things – cans of Coke, celebrity magazines? On a regular basis they really add up. See for yourself on thedemotivator.co.uk – an online tool that offers a truly eye-opening insight into your spending habits, and will make you think twice about any absent-minded buying.
The tool shows you not only how much you spend a year on one item, but how many hours you have to work to pay for it. For example, buying a £1 bottle of Diet Coke every day costs around £400 a year and, on an average salary takes a whole week of working to pay for – motivation to stop and think before you spend, if ever you needed it.
2 Get a new phone contract
Just because you’ve been on a phone contract for a while, doesn’t mean it’s the best financially. So, as your current contract comes to an end, do some research, using moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, or onedox.com (see page 38 for more information on Onedox). These sites allow you to compare all the latest packages and deals available from different networks. If you find a deal you like, it’s worth calling your current provider to see if they can beat it. And if there’s nothing wrong with your current handset, keep it and get a sim-only deal, which can often be purchased cheaper online. You could make significant savings adding up to several hundred pounds a year.
3 Make your own
If you really do need a coffee hit every morning, why not make and take your own? Get yourself a commuter’s coffee mug, and save yourself some serious money. Using thedemotivator.co.uk, we calculated that a £3 daily coffee costs us £750 a year and takes two weeks of work to pay off. Nescafe also sell a ‘coffee on the go’ range, complete with barista-style cardboard cup.
The same goes for buying lunches every day – a £4 lunch every working day will cost you £1000 over the course of a year. Are those soggy sandwiches really worth it?
4 Save-to-buy scheme
Mortgage-linked bank accounts can help savers edge closer to buying a home. These bank accounts offer better terms, higher rates of interest and, with Nationwide’s Save to Buy account, for example, savers have the opportunity to apply for a 95% mortgage after six months of saving. Take a look around at the save-to-buy accounts available through the high street banks, and talk to an advisor about your best options.
5 Assess your living situation
As many a news headline will tell you nowadays, renting can cost a fortune and with prices so high, it can feel impossible to save anything at all. So, perhaps it’s time to rethink your living situation. Is it possible to move back to your parents, into a friend’s spare room, or, if you have a spare room, could you get a lodger? The Home Ownership Association (hoa.org.uk) has some great tips for those looking to save money, and suggests the idea of moving into a house share, or with friends who are also looking to make savings. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in London is now over £1000pcm, while a room in a house share can be found for around £700. But not only are you sharing the rent, you’re also splitting those bills, which can save you thousands every year.
6 Sell, sell, sell
When it comes to moving, the less clutter you have to move with you, the better, so, while you’re saving it’s a great time to sell the things you don’t need. Ebay is an excellent and easy way to sell your unwanted items. But remember, 10% of the total sale also goes to eBay and a small fee to Paypal too, so also consider free sale sites like Gumtree, or local sites and noticeboards. Car boot sales are another excellent way to make money and make for a fun day out with family or friends who are also looking to make some extra cash. The carboot app Shpock, is an at-home alternative for those not willing to brave the early morning start. Moneysavingexpert.com has some excellent tips for making the most of a car boot sale.
7 Use voucher sites
Discount sites like Groupon and Livingsocial are great ways to save money on everyday activities and holidays. So long as you use them wisely – and not for impulse buys – they are great for bargain shopping. For example, if you normally visit a hairdresser every six weeks, instead of cutting back on visits, search for hairdressing deals in your area that can save you as much as 80% off of your regular spending – which, once again, could add up to hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
8 Rethink your fitness regime
Gym memberships are expensive. Whether you’re the member of a local, council-run gym, or a national chain, you can be paying anything from £20-100 per month on membership (or more!). With so many free and cheaper alternatives out there, ditching your gym membership is a great way to save money. Several of the big sports stores run some excellent free fitness classes, including Nike and Reebok – simply enroll online and sign up. Classes include yoga and high-intensity workouts. You can also search for free running groups, such as Park Run, who meet on a regular basis for group running sessions.
9 Be a cool commuter
Paying to get to work is often one of the biggest expenses after paying for rent. Huge savings can be made in this department. Buying an annual season ticket, instead of a weekly one can save you hundreds of pounds every year. Moneysavingexpert.co.uk calculate that this tip can save you over £200 on yearly commuting from Crystal Palace to Oxford Circus, for example. If you can’t afford to do this yourself, many employers offer an interest-free season ticket loan.
There are also a few commuter clubs, including commuterclub.co.uk and mycommute4less.co.uk, through which you can buy an annual season ticket but repay it in monthly instalments, saving you the cost of regular monthly fares.
10 Set up a regular payment
Once you’ve identified where you can make savings, set up a regular standing order from your everyday account into a separate savings account – on the day, or just after, you’re paid. This will put that money out of sight, and out of mind – if you can’t see it, you can’t spend it. You can always adjust the standing order if you think it’s too much or too little.