Saving money is tough for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging when you’re young. Add low wages to high rent, and factor in lots of tempting products and clothes, and money suddenly seems to be floating away down the drain. Most of my spare cash seems to go on burgers and theatre tickets. Rather than feeling guilty about that, I make sure I allow myself treats while still putting away every pound that I can.
It’s all for a reason. As you may know (I’ve mentioned it enough times), I’m off to Disney World in October and it has taken serious saving to be able to afford two weeks across the Atlantic with park tickets and great hotels. When I step onto that plane I know that every time I’ve sacrificed little things will definitely pay off.
So if you’re a single girl with high monthly outgoings, read on to discover my top tips for scrimping and savings to make your dream trip a reality.
- Get ‘appy. My life would be a shambles without my budgeting app. I set a weekly budget and then I enter every tiny little payment I make. No matter if that’s a tube fair, my groceries, or a cinema ticket, it all goes in the app. Since it’s always in my pocket, there’s no excuse to forget an entry. Plus, all I do is flick it open to find out how my week is going. Only got £10 left for three days? Time to lay off the spending and maybe borrow some cash from my next week.
I recommend My Weekly Budget – MyWB. It costs 69p, but you’ll save far more than that by using it.
- The power of the piggy bank If I know I’ve got an expensive weekend coming up, like if I’m off to Edinburgh, I’ll start putting a few pounds away a few weeks in advance. When I’m really struggling, I’ll raid my good friend the piggy bank. It feels like it’s free money, even though I only put it in a few weeks earlier. This really helped me stay in budget nearly every week.
- Set your weekly allowance Work out how much you have left over per month after tax, rent, bills, and travel costs. Part of this will be your spending allowance, and part will be your savings. I currently save about 45% of this number and spend the other 55%. Try using these numbers and see if it will be manageable for you. Once you’ve worked out how much money you’ll have left over for food, entertainment and shopping, divide it by 31 to get your daily allowance, then times by 7 to get your weekly budget.
- Be kind to yourself Some weeks will not be great. Realise this ahead of time and you’ll be fine. Recently, I started feeling rubbish because I hadn’t bought new clothes in such a long time. I didn’t have the money, but took a bit from my savings. It wasn’t enough for a fashion blow-out, but I was able to spruce up my summer wardrobe, which made me feel rather good. Saving is not about being unhappy; it’s about knowing when you treat yourself and know when to hold back. If you’re anything like me, it will make you only buy things that you absolutely must have.
- Think of the bigger picture
One thing that really helps me save money is when I know that it will also be good for me. Do I really want to spend £7 on another cocktail, or would I rather keep the money and avoid the calories? Or will you regret spending all your hard-earned cash the next day? There can be more benefits to a budget than you might think. Your self-control is about to step up a gear.
- It’s never to early to plan your big blow out No matter if you’re saving for a round-the-world trip or a week in the sun, it’s always a good idea to think about the details of your trip. Not only will this make you even more excited for your adventure, but it will also remind you why you’re bothering to save this money.
- Small cutbacks can make a huge difference If you can cut out one regular luxury, you could save a lot of money over a few weeks or months. By bringing a packed lunch to work, I’m staying healthy and saving at least £5 per day. If you can cope with instant coffee instead of Starbucks, that’s another £3 saved, and it will soon mount up. Sometimes it’s these small, regular payments that can make the biggest difference. It’s also worth checking your direct debits – is Spotify really worth it for you, or could you cancel a magazine subscription you don’t really read any more?
- Clear our and start selling I should really follow my own advice on this one. I’ve been meaning to have a massive wardrobe clean out for a long time. Not only will this clear up space, but all the branded good-quality clothing can be sold on websites like Depop. Since it isn’t making any money sat in the wardrobe, it’s all profit that can go straight into your piggy bank.
- Make physically and financially healthy decisionsSaving money doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom – it can get you fit and healthy as well. Could you swap your expensive gym membership for online Pilates classes and regular outdoor runs? Or could you invest in a second-hand bike to get to work instead of taking the tube everyday?
- Get discount code-savvyDon’t ignore those little boxes asking if you’ve got a discount code while shopping online. Instead, subscribe to daily emails with discount codes. If you know that you’re going to need to splurge at Asos once in a while, then it’s worth waiting until you can get the best discount possible. Plus, there are always food vouchers for nearly every high street chain. You’ll never pay full price at Prezzo again.
I hoped my top ten tips have been useful for your saving plan. Get downloading the app, and start saving. If you’ve got any other tips, please share them in the comments. I could use all the help I can get!