I'm Emily, a Product Manager here at Tandem looking after our Savings products. Helping people start to save to build up funds to do all the things they love is a real passion of mine - it's definitely more than just a day job!
Welcome back for Round Two of revving up your savings! Our first step was to take a good look at where your money's going and be honest about your feelings towards your spending habits.
Now comes the more exciting bit –actually putting money aside so you can watch your savings grow.
How to start saving: putting money aside
1. The Could-Try-Harders:
You've usually got a bit leftover at the end of the month. You tend to leave your money sat in your current account, where it’s typically swallowed up by other expenses - holidays, big nights out, car repairs - so you don't ever really feel like you're starting to build up savings.
2. The Scraping Through-ers:
You're struggling and always end up cutting way back on spending the week or two before payday to try to have anything leftover. You feel defeated and switched off from the whole idea of saving - it doesn't seem achievable so why even try?
Both situations can be pretty frustrating and the fundamental problem is the same – you want to save and based on your current circumstances, you just don’t seem to be able to.
Thankfully there’s some really easy steps that won’t make you a millionaire but will take away a lot of the pain you’re currently feeling so saving becomes, if not effortless, a lot easier than it has been so far.
Open a separate account for your savings
Maybe this is an obvious one - the best way to have (and keep!) savings is to physically separate this pot of money from your day-to-day spending account.
Look for an instant-access savings account (with unlimited withdrawals and a low minimum balance) so you can pay in and out as much as you need. See what your current bank could give you and what other providers are offering too.
This puts a bit of space between you and your money (so it’s harder to spend it) but it also lets you see your savings grow. Watching a separate pot that slowly gets bigger will give you a boost psychologically and turn saving into a positive experience that (hopefully) makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You’re one step closer to that goal you’re saving for, go you!
Find your ‘cut corners’ to kickstart your savings
Now you’ve got the account, we need to start putting something in it. To kick off trickling money in, look at the exercise I suggested in the first blog for reviewing your living costs.
Did you cancel a gym membership? Haggle any of your bills down? Whatever amount you’ve managed to shave off your outgoings every month, that’s for your savings pot.
Turning the trickle into a flood (or at least a steady stream)
If you’re someone who has some leftover at the end of each month anyway, work out roughly how much that is and add that to whatever you’ve saved from cutting your costs.
If you don’t feel like you’ve got a lump sum left every month to put away, look at tools like Tandem’s Autosavings instead. The round-ups feature rounds up every purchase you make on your debit card to the nearest pound and funnels these small amounts into your savings. These little deposits build up over time effortlessly without you noticing.
Pay yourself first
When you’ve figured out how much you’re comfortable putting aside each month, don’t forget to pay yourself first. Set up a weekly or monthly deposit into your savings account, that you treat as a priority – set it up to go out on or just after payday.
Think of it as paying Future You before you pay your local takeaway. Future You will thank you for it!
Save it – don’t spend it!
Once your savings pot starts to build up, it can be really hard not to take the money back out and splurge.
To squash this urge, think about why you want to save up. Really get into it, are you saving for peace of mind in case your car breaks down? Do you have a once-in-a-lifetime dream holiday you’re desperate to make a reality? Whenever you’re tempted to take money back out of your savings for something a bit trivial, ask yourself if it’s really more important than taking your mum to Barbados for her 60th…
Some banks let you rename the account in Online Banking or in the app so you can’t forget what you’re stashing the cash for – try something like “Roadtrip USA 2020” or the simple “This is not beer money Dave” (Apologies to all the Daves out there for the sweeping generalisation).
Hopefully you now feel equipped to start the ball rolling on your savings journey; persevere with your new habits and you’ll see how even a small amount will build up over time. Having this pot set aside for a rainy day will bring you a bit of money confidence and a sense of stability. Now you can build upon this foundation and turn your focus to even bigger money and life goals.