Saving For A Rainy Day
Thursday 29 March 2012
Saving For A Rainy Day… How to plan for your financial future
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you expect to get there? Saving for the future is a good habit to get into whether you want to create a mortgage fund, are planning a round-the-world trip, need a new car or just want a lovely new dress? Here’s how to turn the pennies into pounds.
Money Help Saving Apps and Websites
If you want on-the-go help in your pocket, Account Tracker (£1.99) is the app one for you. You can link all your bank accounts together and it monitors all your balances, with alerts for bills and budget targets. It gives reports and full multi-currency support and makes it easy to control your finances
The Hot Deals UK app ensures you won’t miss out on the best deals again. You can view the hottest, newest or most discussed deals for only £0.69. There is everything from Walkers crisps, to newspapers and widescreen TVs.
www.moneysavingexpert.com is a great website you’ll go back to again and again. There, you’ll find the latest deals from Tesco, be able to grab yourself discount vouchers for your favourite restaurants, and access cheap beauty deals and hot bargains. Not only does this website cater for your personal quirks it also has a free mortgage guide and minifeatures on subjects such as Should I repay my mortgage? It gives advice on cheap car insurance, travel insurance, bank savings and income for the whole family. Eg Over-50s money saving, tax and benefits and students and schools.
First and foremost, write down absolutely everything you spend in a month. It seems laborious but it’s only by doing this that you’ll realise you could be spending a whopping £1,800 a year on soft drinks, snacks and sweets (that is only spending £5 a day so not as far fetched as it sounds). Imagine what you could do with almost £2,000 a year if you cut out chocolate bars, crisps and bought a bottle of squash rather than a can of pop each day.
Then you need to tackle the bills that go out each month. So calculate your outgoings for the following:
Rent or mortgage
Travel or petrol
If you have children, how much lunch money do you give them each day? What about school trips or clubs they attend, and also haircuts, new shoes and clothes?
Once you have worked all this out, it will leave you with your disposable income for the month. This is your fund for clothes, going out with friends and make-up and perfume. You should do everything you can to stick to this. If you consistently overspend in this area, you will get into DEBT… which can mount up surprisingly quickly.
If it feels as if there is next to nothing left, there are some easy ways to boost your income...
Blitz your bank accounts for bank account bandits. In other words, cancel those direct debits for things you don’t use anymore. Gym memberships? Run in the park. DVD delivery to your door? Sky+ yourself those films or rent from your local Blockbuster instead – it will save you money.
Trade down at the supermarket – try the supermarket’s own brand rather than premium ‘The Best’ or ‘Taste the difference’ or the manufacturers' brands such as Kellogg's. Downshifting can cut 15% off a family’s shop, saving over £800 a year without noticing the difference.
Stop smoking. In a year kicking that 20-a-day habit will save you over £2,000. Plus you will look and feel healthier! We say get to your local NHS service and start with a free no-smoking kit. (www.smokefree.nhs.uk)
Have a car boot sale. Let’s be honest all that junk, we mean stuff, you have in the back of your cupboards, or even at the front, is never going to be used again and needs to go. So sell it! You will be surprised how much you can earn from one single clear out of all the random gear in your life. A pitch will probably cost you about £10 for a car and £25 for a van but the average seller can make anything from £30-£100 per boot sale. This all depends on the stuff you have to clear out but you are almost certain to make a profit.
If you really enjoy it, how about searching www.carbootjunction.com
It tells you where all the car boot sales are so you can indulge in selling those items you don’t use any more.
Swish the night away!
Hold a swish night with your pals. Everyone brings 5 pieces of good quality but unwanted clothing or accessories, which you all swap for nothing. If you share the cost of the drinks and nibbles, it's a cheap fun night and you could leave with some great pieces to refresh your wardrobe.
www.bigwardrobe.com has a section dedicated to ‘Organise your own Swish.’ You can get tips on how to choose and set up your venue, and how to customise and alter clothes.
Try to use money-off deals and vouchers for as much of your spending as possible. You can get discounts on: www.groupon.com
Cards that help you save
For the best deals on balance transfers and credit cards click on www.moneysupermarket.com or www.compareandsave.com
You can check 0% cards, which banks are offering the best deals on loans, and which cards are best for transfers and purchases. For the travellers among you, www.compareandsave.com also shows you the best rate Airmile cards. And that means potentially more trips in the pipeline, yes!
www.uswitch.com allows you to compare all the prices from current gas and electricity suppliers just by tapping in your postcode.
Take the Money Saving IQ Test
On moneysavingexpert.com discover your financial intelligence with the Money Saving IQ Test – then brush up on the areas you didn’t perform well in.
Make the most of your loyalty card points/benefits
Make sure you use your clubcards/loyalty cards at supermarkets. Tesco, for example send you money off vouchers each month. Periodically you will be sent money-off vouchers to use online or in-store. They even give you petrol money off vouchers and discounts on clothes, trips to the cinema and holidays. A family of four who spend £120 a week on food can earn back up to £400 a year – a saving worth having.
Getting out of debt
If you are already in the red, it is vital you get rid of debts first, as you are likely to be paying interest on them. One way to do this is by paying into a separate account each month by direct debit. So instead of the debt totting up and causing you stress, you can save up and pay it off in one go. Just make sure you don’t add to the debt in the meantime. And do shop around to discover which accounts have higher interest rates on savings.
www.thisismoney.co.uk is a site with lots of helpful features on managing debt. Or check out Government advice at www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits
Ultimately, if you manage to pay off those debts, keep the direct debit going out and use this money to save up for something you really want. Imagine the possibilities when you look into that account a few months down the line and there is a nice chunk of money waiting for you to book that holiday with!