20 Ways to Help You Become a Super Saver
If you have aspirations to be financially free, retire early, get in control of your finances and have good financial habits, a good place to start is by managing your expenses. Having more money left over at the end of each month gives you the option to, say, build your emergency fund, pay off any debt, invest or save for something big like a dream house or a luxury holiday and focus on the big picture.
Here are some of Sprive's favourite money-saving ideas.
Managing your money
- Automate your savings– Sprive recommends that you have 6 months of emergency cash sitting in a high interest savings account. To help build this nest and to prevent you making a financial transaction on things you perhaps don't need, set up a standing order from your current account on the day you are paid - on a monthly basis for example.
This way you can start saving by essentially paying yourself first and are one step closer to becoming a super saver. Even if you are able to save a £50 a week, over the year this amounts to £2,600 which can make a difference in your long term savings goals.
- Clear your debts– Have a look at your outstanding debts, e.g. credit cards, store credit and start working on paying off the outstanding balance. Start off paying off the debts that are charging you the highest interest rate first.
This will avoid interest building on those debts, which will allow you to have extra money and make a big difference in becoming debt free sooner.
If you just have your mortgage outstanding, please read our article on the benefits of paying of your mortgage here.
Track your spending– The more awareness you have of your budget and expenses, the better decisions you are likely to make around your spending habits in the future. You don't have to spend hours tracking this via Excel spreadsheets. Use apps like Yolt, Money Dashboard and Emma to help you manage your money.
Transfer your debt – If you are making large interest payments on debt, it might make sense to transfer it all onto a credit card with 0% balance transfer. These credit cards will give you opportunity to repay any debt at no extra cost. You just need to make sure you pay off the balance before the end of the promotional period.
A good way of making a significant change is to set yourself a more long dated goal like where you want to be in 5 years. This helps focus your personal finance decisions around this and have something exciting to strive towards.
No spend month – Pick a month where you decide you will budget and not spend anything except on household bills and essentials. This can boost the amount you can keep aside and help balance out months where you haven't saved as much of your income.
Pension – Even if you are a while away from retirement, you should look to maximise your pension pot. Making the most of your pension contributions brings you tax relief benefits and helps you increase your retirement income and build a healthier retirement plan. Money advice service has a useful article, should you want to learn more.
Loose change– Whilst you might think saving the pennies is really not worth it, you'll be surprised how much of an advantage it is to stay consistent with your contributions if you want to have more money and meet your financial goals. Make a point of gathering loose change every week and start collecting. The United Kingdom has £1.5 billion saved in coin jars, so if you're not already doing this then join the club of super savers.
Live on one income– If you have another income within your household, then you can try to see if you can live on one person's income and then save the other. It provides a real safety net if one person has the misfortune of losing their job. This type of lifestyle may give you the confidence to look for a higher paying job or negotiate a pay rise to further boost your finances.
Cashback credit cards– These credit cards pay you every time you spend on them and can save you £100s a year. Some of the top paying cashback cards can pay up to 5% as part of their introduction offer. Just try and make sure you don't overspend and that you are able to pay off the balance at the end of the month to avoid any interest charges.
Supermarket and store cards– Many large stores give customers rewards for your spending such as John Lewis / Waitrose and Amazon. Obviously select stores that you shop often at, with reasonable product prices and do your best to keep your spending behaviour the same as before you got the cards. Cards that give Nectar points can accrue to £100s of pounds of savings in a year.
Twitter / Social Media– check if the online stores you like to shop at have a twitter account. Many retailers such as ASOS and Amazon let their followers know of the latest deals that are available on the website. Most people may overlook this information but you can increase your savings through this method.
Discount codes and cashback sites – make sure you sign up to cashback sites like Quidco and TopCashback. It is free to join and can earn cashback at many of the online stores you are likely to shop at. Apps like Vouchercloud are great for finding discounts and coupon codes.
Switching to cheaper brands– try switching down to cheaper products e.g. supermarket own brands and keep doing so until you are unhappy with the change. You might just find that by doing that you're actually saving hundreds of pounds a year without a real change in your lifestyle.
Cheap Flights– use online tools like Cheapflights, SkyScanner and Kayak to find the best deals when purchasing a flight ticket. Just make sure you take into consideration costs to check in baggage as you can often find that low cost airlines are charging more for luggage than the cost of the flight.
Groceries– a great tool for saving money on your weekly shop is mySupermarket. They compare the price of a basket of goods across 14 supermarkets in England and can save you up 30% on each shop.
Petrol – there are plenty of apps that show you the cheapest petrol station to fill up your tank near you - which could save you a couple of hundred pounds a year.
Eliminate unnecessary spend
Review your direct debits– spend time looking through the direct debits and standing orders from your checking account. You might find yourself seeing payments that you can't justify, don't need or have just forgotten about such as streaming services or gym memberships.
Reduce food waste – Plan every single meal and you may reduce the amount of food waste. Try to understand what food can be frozen. You can make extra food and freeze the additional portions of food that you don't use. This will help you not only spend less on your weekly shop but can help you reduce the amount you spend on takeaways.
Don’t let contracts auto renew– it often pays to switch provider at the end of a contract, so do make sure you shop around whether it's your energy provider, mortgage, insurance, mobile provider or any other contract you are tied to.