I am notoriously shit at saving money. It’s not unheard of for my card to get declined, probably because it’s so easy for me to pop into town and blow seventy quid in Holland and Barrett (who even does that?!). However, over the last year or so, I’ve gotten (a bit) better at saving my cash, so I’ve devised this list of eight helpful hints that might just be able to stop you spendthrifts out there from being so broke (I’m not making any promises though).
Tip #1: buy a tin.
And by this, I don’t mean any old tin or jar (although if you have willpower of steel then by all means, go ahead). Oh no, I mean one of those tins that you can only get into if you use a can opener. They’re a bit of a risk (nobody wants to leave their hard-earned cash lying about in case of burglaries etc.), but are totally worth it. I used one of these last year and managed to save up quite a lot, which I then transferred into…
Tip #2: set up a building society account.
The good thing about having an account at a building society is that you can’t draw money out unless you go into the branch. If you just have a regular savings account, it’s so easy to transfer that money into your current account via online banking, and the next thing you know, you’ve blown all your pennies in River Island’s Holiday Shop. At least this way you know your money’s safe and it’s not going to be frittered away. Plus it’ll be gaining interest, too.
Tip #3: put part of your wage aside each week.
Whilst being at uni, I’ve been fortunate enough to keep my job in the pub, so when I’m home for the holidays I still have a bit of cash coming in. It sounds like common sense really, but putting thirty quid each week into my savings instead of spending it on gin has made a massive difference.
Tip #4: put any extra money you receive into the pot.
The one thing I really hate is when I receive some money for my birthday from a thoughtful relative, and then I end up using said money on a mundane trip to Sainsburys or something. Whoever gave you that money gave it as a gift, cash to be spent on something nice for yourself. Pop it in your savings and you’ll be able to invest it in something you really want.
Tip #5: utilise your bursary.
This won’t be applicable to everyone, but I’ve been lucky enough to receive a bursary from my university during my studies. During my first year, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that this was spent on numerous trips to The Raz or Faculty, but I’ve since decided that it’s not worth drinking quad vods if it means I’ll have a bit more money in the bank when I finish my degree in June. So cheers, Liverpool, you’ve really helped with my savings!
Tip #6: stop spending your money on crap you don’t need.
This is my real pitfall. I’m a serial hoarder: I cannot stop buying junk that I won’t use. I have about seventeen nail varnishes in the same colour, which is just downright unnecessary. Stop spending money on that three quid Starbucks, or £20 a go on a Dominos, and not only will your waistline thank you, but your bank account will too.
Tip #7: use cashback sites.
Whyyyyy don’t more people know about this?? Using sites such as Quidco or TopCashBack are brilliant: go onto the site, type in the place you want to buy from and see what deals come up. A family friend pays for his flight abroad with the money he gets back every year, so it’s definitely worth having a browse if you can!
Tip #8: remember your student discount.
I think the worst thing about finishing my degree will be the loss of my student discount (boo, hiss.) Not moving back home and leaving Liverpool, not being separated from my friends, but waving goodbye to my 10% discount in Topshop. It’s not just clothes shops that offer a discount for students though: plenty of bars and restaurants usually have some kind of student perks, so be sure to ask when you get there. If you’re feeling really thrifty, you could put the money you save back into your savings account, and accumulate more pennies in the long run.
If you combine all these tips, you’re onto a money-saving winner. Now if I could just remember to follow my own advice, I’d be all set…