Over the years money has been tight. Some years it has been worse than that and we’ve really had to scrape something together at times. Money has never really been an easy thing in our house but we’ve also not really been very sensible about it either. The only time I think we have ever had any savings is when we were saving to buy our house, over 5 years ago. Since then I think we’ve only ever had some kind of savings when we’ve had a holiday to plan for or something.
So, now that we’re in a bit of a better position I’ve wanted to make sure we plan better, just in case we get into a tricky situation again. At the beginning of January I decided to make a change and to start a savings fund. I know it would have been really sensible to have done this before now, especially after Erin was born 4 years ago, but I didn’t think we were able to.
Having been the family that’s really skint all the time I want to share a few of the things I do to make sure I add something to our savings account each month, even if it’s £5! Making that little bit of extra cash can really help.
Different savings accounts
To start with, I have multiple savings accounts now. I have a few for smaller savings such as upcoming trips away or holidays. I then have savings accounts for home improvements, driving lessons and an emergency fund.
For me, I find saving smaller amounts easier rather than putting everything into one big account. I need to know what different amounts of money are for and if I can’t I will probably end up spending it on something else. I think multiple accounts is a good way of prioritising money and making sure you add more savings to the more important funds.
Over the last 10 years or so I have been a member of so many online survey sites. I only do a couple now as I don’t really have a lot of spare time but they’re still a good way to earn some extra money.
I use Prolific on a daily basis and I have it open all the time while I am using my laptop. This site can earn you quite a bit depending on how much time you put into it. You can do various surveys and tasks running anywhere from 1 minute to a couple of hours. The payment varies and it’s up to you what you take on. I tend to do a lot of the smaller, quicker surveys but the pennies really add up. I challenged myself to make £50 last November and I was short at £43 but that shows you what is possible.
Swagbucks is a site I have been using for many years now and although it’s not as good as it used to be, I still earn a bit every month. Here you can earn by answering surveys, playing games, shopping online and even by watching videos on your mobile phone. I actually have an old mobile phone connected to our WiFi at home and this is what I use for the videos so it doesn’t interfere with anything else I need to do. I only earn maybe £10 a month but I don’t put in much effort either. This would be a really easy way to make sure you add something to your savings.
Using your mobile phone
Recently I have started using a couple of new apps (reviews coming soon) to start to earn a bit of extra money. The apps I use now are called Receipt Hog and Snap My Eats. Both of these apps require you to take photos of your receipts and upload them, answering a few questions each time. Snap My Eats seems to earn money quicker but you can only take photos of food related recipes and they can only be one sided. You can’t earn cash with Snap My Eats (Amazon vouchers) but you can earn various things on Receipt Hog. It takes only a couple of seconds to use both of the apps so it’s very little effort to make a little bit extra. Anything I make from these apps will go straight into savings.
Some months we don’t have much to set aside into a savings account. For me, because I earn different amounts throughout the month I am trying to put something away each time. This might mean that if I get paid £20.90 for something, I will put the 90p away. Rather than feel like a large amount will be putting a strain on our finances, I find this a much better way for us. Of course, it’s whatever works for you and your family though.
You might also look to do something like the 1p challenge if you want to start small and work towards a larger amount.
As we’re quite new to regular savings I have asked some other bloggers to share what they do and how they save!
We have a couple of savings accounts that we deposit X amount in each week or monthly, depending on the savings pot. For example, we have a standing order set up to move £10 into a savings account each Monday which pays for our Merlin Annual Passes each year. As well as another one that saves up for Christmas (gifts and food). boorooandtiggertoo.com
The account tidy is one of the easiest ways to add money to your savings. Each day, log onto internet banking and swipe across the odd bit to a savings account. So, if you had £207.18 in your current account, move the £7.18 into savings. So simple yet effective! thefrugalcottage.com
I have two savings accounts – one for long term savings and another I put in money for bills that I know will be coming (like tax or childcare that’s paid termly). I would love to get to the point I’m putting away more long term but I just pop in anything I can. edinburghwithkids.com
I have a few savings accounts, but one of my favourites is the Natwest Savings Builder. There’s a good bonus interest payment, but they only pay it if the balance increases by £50 per month. It’s a great incentive to always add at least £50 per month and to resist withdrawing to make sure I get the bonus interest. lyliarose.com
I’ve been using my Monzo account, any purchases are rounded up to the nearest £10. It’s not much but every time I use the card, it adds a small amount to the fund. I often forget about it and end up with a decent chunk to transfer to my savings account
I use the 50/20/30 budget rule to stay on top of my savings. I use 50% of my earnings to pay bills and buy food etc, 30% for things I want such as new clothes or days out and then the remaining 20% goes straight into my savings account. It’s a great way to ensure I save a little bit of money each month. thehappyhomemaker.co.uk
I have a direct debit set up to come out of my main account and into a bespoke savings account every payday. I don’t even notice it going out and also, if I ever receive any ‘surprise’ money such as unexpected cash back, refunds or my bills drop, I put it straight into savings. Really helps things add up. lisavalentineblog.com
Do you put away regular savings? What would be your top tip?