1: Set a goal
It’s much easier to save if you know why you will need the money in the future, for example, saving up before the exam period up until the end of term so that you aren’t restricted in your activities during the summer holiday. Constantly reminding yourself of the consequences if you don’t save is a form of motivation- who wants to be stuck indoors all summer?
2: Set a value
If you have a more specific goal such as a new pair of shoes or makeup, then work out how much it will cost you, how long you have to save for it, and how much you would need to save on a weekly/monthly basis in order to have saved enough money. Lloyds TSB, in particular, have a facility on their website for online bankers that works out such values after the initial data is inputted and uses a standing order to help you save this money.
3: Only carry cash!
We’ve all fallen into that trap of agreeing on a set amount we wish to spend when we go out but then sticking those ever loyal pieces of plastic into the machine and going beyond our budget… it’s time to stop! Withdraw the amount of cash you think you will need when you go out and don’t spend any more than that (unless it’s an absolute emergency, and no, that new shirt in Topshop is not an emergency).
4: Monitor your money
There are various smartphone applications available to help you keep a track of what you are spending your money on, how your spending has changed over time and how much money you actually have. For example, nearly all of the high street banks have apps that allow you to access your bank account, this way you can find out exactly how much funds you have on the go. But also, there are various apps, my favourite being Spending that you can alter to fit your needs; you can set a budget for the month, but also input on the app when you receive extra money, then every time you buy something you input this information onto the app to produce both a pie chart and a cash flow diagram to show your spending habits. I honestly believe that the only reason it works so well is that you always feel slightly guilty when you input a new transaction knowing fully well that you have exceeded your budget.
5: Find a motivator
It’s always good to have someone there to tell you whether or not they think the product you wish to purchase is worth the money; it’s even better if you have to ask for their permission before you spend your money. I like to call these people Money Buddies– every time you wish to buy something, they must approve, they must be aware of your savings goals in order to be effective and it must be someone whose opinion you value and respect if they say no, it means no!
The easiest way to save is to simply take advantage of the discount available, if you haven’t already, get a hold of the NUS Student Card as well as many other store cards- there are very few that don’t offer them- this way you don’t always have to wait for sales and you receive discounts just for being young! Those that allow you to build up points are great- especially when you’re starving at lunch time and you can’t seem to scramble up £3 in your purse for a toasted spicy Italian sub!