Ever notice how most ‘saving money’ blogs basically tell you to give up every little thing that gives you joy? Don’t go out to eat, use what’s in the fridge. Forget about buying that lovely flat white and treat yourself to an instant coffee instead. It’s a rubbish solution to a problem written by an author who’s probably never had to scrape and save – or they’re a bit masochistic, either way, it’s not for everyone.
So, instead of giving things up, how can you save money but keep spending?
How to save money without giving up things you enjoy
The good news is that it is possible to save money without giving up life’s little luxuries, but it always helps to make sure you have no high-interest debt first. This is because the money you’re being charged on your debt might be higher than any money you’re saving, effectively creating a loss despite having more savings.
With that in mind – here’s a few things that you can do if you’re ready to start saving.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to stop buying things. Firstly, it’s so much easier said than done, and secondly, if it makes you happy then that should be worth every penny. What you can do, is look at how you shop. If you’re already a savvy shopper, then there’s no point telling you to check prices on different stores or try to find discount codes, but have you thought about using loyalty cards or cashback sites?
While they may not save you a fortune on every purchase, you could get a few percent of your purchase price back, and that can really add up even if it's just a few pennies at a time. With most cashback sites you can ask for the money to be paid out at any time, so it might be worth setting a limit for yourself – say £50 – to make it easier to start building up your savings.
Have your cake and eat it
You know that coffee and cake that everyone tells you to give up to save money? Ignore it. It’s rubbish. Coffee is awesome and cake is even better, and if you want it then you go ahead and have it. In fact, why not spend a tiny bit more with a roundup? A lot of banks these days (including Monzo, Lloyds, and Halifax) offer a roundup feature on purchases.
This means, if you were to spend £4.25 on coffee and cake, then 75p would be put into your savings. And, if we’re being honest, you’d probably already think of it as spending a fiver anyway, so you’re unlikely to miss it. Doing this every time you make a purchase can start to add up, and the more you buy the more you save - it’s a conundrum, but it has the potential to work.
Save first, spend second
Getting paid is a great feeling and it can be tempting to start splashing the cash straight away, but instead of heading straight to the pub or your favourite shop, take two minutes to tuck some money away. You could even do this on the walk to the pub!
It doesn’t have to be a huge amount – you may see articles that suggest anything from 20-40% of your income. But for some of us, that’s a crazy amount of money that we actually need to afford to live! Instead, just put away money that won’t be missed in the short term – that could be £5, £10, £25, £50, or even £100 or more. From my experience, starting small and being able to put more in always feels better than starting too big and having to dip in if you struggle to make ends meet.
Does it make you happy?
This is a personal rule of mine, but it’s one I love to share. Before buying anything, ask yourself, does it make you happy? Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everything – your like bills, mortgage/rent, and groceries will still need to be paid – but it can make you re-evaluate what you’re spending money on.
Taking this approach could help you stop spending money on things that are just ‘meh’ and save for that thing you really want. So, for example, say you want a new pair of trainers but the ones you really want are £80, don’t buy ones “that’ll do” just because they’re £40 or less.
That might seem like a weird thing to say, as they’re double the price, but it’ll be what you really want. If you love them, are happy with them, and you worked to save for them, then you’ll probably keep them for longer and spend less money than you would buying more “they’ll do” shoes.
Make your money work harder
If you already have some savings but are frustrated that they’re not doing much due to low-interest rates, then you may want to look at ways to make your money work harder. This is where investing can really come into its own. With Wealthify, you can start investing from just £1 making it an affordable option for anyone looking to invest.
So, how does this work? Well, unlike traditional savings accounts, your investments aren’t pinned to a single point of return – like an interest rate. Instead, your money will rise and fall with your various different investments. It’s important to note that when you invest, you’re taking a risk with your money and you may get back less than you put in.
Investing is an approach that tends to work best in the long run. For example, between 1983 and 2020, the FTSE 100 stocks returned about 7.2% a year but not all of those years would have seen a positive return. If you’d just stayed invested for a year or two, you could have made a loss, but if you took a longer-term approach and ignoring market volatility you could have a better chance of making gains on your investment.
Not sure where to start? A Stocks and Shares ISA allows you to invest up to £20,000 each tax year without needing to pay income or capital gains tax. You might not be able to max this out each year, but everything you put in this year will be tax-free going forward, and over time this amount can really build up.
It’s up to you
So, there you have it. Five ways that you could save money and keep all the things in your life that give you joy. It might be slow going, but it’s not impossible.
If you’re thinking about investing but aren’t entirely sure where to start, then why not let Wealthify take on the hard work for you? You can start investing with just £1 and there’s no monthly payments required – so pop money in, or take it out, whenever you want with no hidden fees.
- *source bloomberg (with reinvested dividends) (30/12/1983 to 31/12/2020)
Your tax treatment will depend on your individual circumstances and it may be subject to change in the future.
Please remember that past performance is not a reliable indicator of your future results.
With investing, your capital is at risk, so the value of your investments can go down as well as up, which means you could get back less than you initially invested.