Let's start thinking about saving
Want to save but don’t know where to start? Our hints and tips will guide you on how to start your savings journey.
Take a little time to think about your finances
The first step to saving success is to decide you’re ready to take control and become a saver.
- Think about what money you have coming in and what you spend. Knowing how much you have to live off each week or month will help you understand what you might be able to save.
- Decide what you really need, and what things are ‘nice to haves’. Think about which things really make you happy and which things you only buy out of habit. Do you really need them? Or are they extras you could live without?
- Thinking about money can be stressful but try not to feel anxious. These are the first steps to taking control of your finances. If you’re really worried about money, find out where you can get help on our Support page.
Pay off debt first: If you have any debt, it’s usually better to pay it off before starting to save. Check out the helpful resources for managing your debt on our Support page.
Do what works for you: Whether it’s on paper, a spreadsheet or a budgeting app, find a way of looking at your money that suits you.
Having targets to aim for means you’re more likely to achieve what you want to do.
- Make your targets achievable and specific, not general. For example, instead of ‘save for my future’ say ‘save £3,000 to buy a car by the end of next year’.
- Put a visual reminder somewhere – like your dream house as your phone wallpaper, or a picture stuck on your fridge door. Track your progress, and feel proud about reaching milestones (e.g. your first £100, £1000 etc.).
- Make it regular, so you set a pattern of saving. Once it becomes a habit, it’s much easier to keep up. There’s some great apps and digital tools out there to help with a ‘little and often’ approach to saving.
- Everyone deserves a treat now and again, so don’t deny yourself all the time. You need to find your own balance that allows you to make progress in saving without having to sacrifice all your luxury spending.
Keep on checking: As your life changes, so will your goals. There’s always things you can’t control that will influence what you’re saving for.
Believe you can do it!: A strong belief that you’ll get to your goal is great for your motivation and really helps to keep you focused.
Don’t go it alone: Share your goals with a close friend or family. This helps you stick to saving by being able to talk about it as you make progress.
Get in control
Accept there will be temptations, and plan in advance for how you’re going to deal with them.
- If there are places or occasions where you know temptation will grow, try to avoid going there too much, if you can. Go into situations ready to recognise when you’re being tempted to spend!
- Commit to having an “If… then” conversation with yourself to think through spending decisions. For example, “If I see a top I really want on a shopping app, then I’ll picture three similar items of clothing I already own, and weigh up if I really need it”.
- Look at ways to help you budget, there’s loads of apps out there to help and using pre-paid cards or savings pots to split up your money could help you structure your spending.
Make money: Look at selling things you no longer want or need. You could sell at a local car boot sale, over social media or using online auction sites.
Shop savvy: Shop around for the best deals on everything – bills, subscriptions, phone contracts or just your weekly food shop. Also, make the most of cashback, coupons and vouchers.
Use technology: Savings apps can help with tracking your spending, setting a budget, splitting bills with friends, meeting savings goals, and also… encouragement!
Check for workplace savings: Some employers help staff to save by taking an amount from your salary each month and putting straight into a savings account, often called a payroll deduction. You can decide how much to save and when you want to take the money out.
Open a savings account: The right account helps you separate your savings from your current account, so you don’t spend it so easily. Check out our Savings Accounts page for more information.
What do I do now?
If you’ve decided to start saving, it’s worth thinking about opening a separate savings account. There’s lots of ways to do this, whether it’s visiting your local savings provider’s branch, online or using an app.
Finding the right account can be confusing but making sure you do can help you get the most out of your money. It gives you somewhere to set aside a pot of money that isn’t your current account.
There’s always help available
Where can I get support?
We’ve put together answers to some common questions about savings, as well as some simple explanations of any jargon you might come across.
You’ll also find links to some amazing financial help and support organisations.Visit Support
In 2019, for my 40th birthday, I went on an extravagant African safari and beach holiday of a lifetime. During the trip I proposed to my partner of eight years. The holiday however wiped out all my savings and so when I returned I had to start saving from scratch again.
Without any family support, and rises in the cost of living, saving was difficult. But together we have regularly put money aside in our Coventry Building Society savings account, even when we were hit with extra bills, such as car repairs and broken kitchen appliances. The savings pot is now looking healthy and, with an extra push on our savings next year, we’re planning our dream, destination wedding, on a beach somewhere in 2025.
Daniel French, Stroud