Welcome to reallymoving’s second guide to saving.
The first was our Starting Saving Guide
helping you get to grips with how much you needed for a deposit, what accounts would give you most for your money, and how to start thinking about your spending.
is for those who have already made a start on saving and are looking for ways to improve and increase their deposit.
You’ve already looked at your outgoings and (hopefully) got rid of that unused gym membership, unnecessary lunch deals and subscriptions you don’t need.
But how can you cut down even further, without feeling the pinch?
Staying with the same providers for utilities rarely works out well for the consumer – switching to get the best deal could save you hundreds of pounds a year and there are companies that will help you compare, ones who will do it for you automatically, and the chance to get cashback when you change.
No one would expect you to do without internet access, but are you paying too much for your connection? Look into when your contract ends and see if you can find a better deal. Even saving yourself £15 a month adds up over the year, for very little effort.
Do you really need the package you’ve got? How much are you paying and how often do you use it? If you can’t bare to downgrade to a cheaper option, why not see if a deal can be done to include internet, or if you can negotiate for a better rate?
If you’ve got an expensive contract, be sure to mark down the date it ends and make arrangements to switch to a cheaper deal, or a SIM only option.Otherwise, when your contract is up you will have paid off your phone and will continue paying the same amount – your network will probably try to get you to upgrade, but see what you can do about getting the cheapest deal.
Or switch to a different network with better freebies and offers.
If you can’t switch anything yet, put an alarm in your phone to remind yourself. Some websites like uSwitch will take your details so they can prompt you when your deal ends.
Remember that on top of changing your suppliers for energy, you can also change your habits. Switching light bulbs for energy saving ones, being strict about using the heating, not overfilling the kettle or spending too long in the shower are all small ways to create positive habits that will lower your energy bills.
Now we have entered real saving territory. The easiest way to save without noticing is to downgrade your items for cheaper ones. Whether that’s choosing supermarket own brand goods, buying fresh fruit or veg at market stalls (or buying frozen) or switching out things like paper towels for reusable dishcloths.
Small changes from premium to economy items can really add up
If there are items you always need to buy you can get together with other friends to split the cost of a bulk buy. For things like toilet paper, washing tablets and other cleaning supplies, this can work out better for you.
Never food shop when hungry! Of all the money saving tenets, this should be number one! You can spend so much extra without even realising until you get to the till.
Make a shopping list, stick to it, and avoid the home/gifts/seasonal areas of supermarkets. Even better, if it works out better with the cost of delivery, shop online so you don’t get tempted to add anything to your basket.
Treat yo’self well (but less)
If you are saving, that has to be your main priority. Which means redefining what matters. That doesn’t mean no more fun, just that you have to justify your choices.
As with the spending swaps above, it’s time to swap the facial/massage/nails/new products for a night at home doing it yourself. A face mask, two slices of cucumber and a lit candle – your home spa is ready to give you some love.
Similarly, think about how much you’d pay for a takeaway compared to a dine in for two meal for £10, or a ‘make your own pizza’ night with friends - there are easy and fun ways to make savings.
The alternative, of course, is for those who have iron-like willpower. Go to meet your friends at the pub, but only buy one drink or have tap water. Meet your friends for dinner but use vouchers, codes, coupons or just choose the cheapest thing on the menu.
It’s up to you which approach works best – if you’ve got a fear of missing out and are happy to stay strong whilst your friends indulge (and you won’t feel obligated to buy a round at the pub) go for it.
For others, turning down too many expensive social engagements, or offering alternatives is the easier way to go.
Whichever way you focus on saving up the pennies, make sure to occasionally treat yourself. Whether it’s to celebrate a savings goal, and whether you treat with money, time, guilty pleasures or anything else, it’s important that you don’t feel deprived.
Making More Money
Sometimes, no matter how good you are with saving, there’s just not enough left. You can be cutting down your outgoings but if you’re eager to save as much as possible, and want to reach your goal more quickly, you’re going to have to up your income.
Upping your income
Knowing your value
Asking for a raise just because you need the money isn’t really how business works, but if you do think you’re due an increase in pay, then take the opportunity. If your current employer can’t offer a pay increase, think of what they might be able to offer that could still help you reach your goal. Working from home one day a week might cut down on your transport costs, supporting some training would allow you to specialise, or they could recommend you for overtime or consultancy work.
Your employer has a lot to offer your earning capability beyond just your wage, so don’t think short term.
If you are open to moving jobs, finding one with a better salary can be an easy way to bump up the savings.
However – it’s easy to start spending more when you have a pay increase. The trick is to act like you are still on your old salary and put the increase straight into your savings automatically. Don’t forget to think about the tax implications too!
It seems like almost everyone has two jobs these days, right? If you can use some of your skills for freelancing work, or even turn your hobbies into money makers, everything you save adds up.
Whether it’s consultancy, delivery driving, selling your crafts, tutoring, dog walking, creating websites or anything else – price yourself appropriately and put the word out there.
Plus, the time spent making money means there’s less time to spend it. Just don’t burn yourself out or let it affect your main job.
It’s never been easier to unload your unwanted items onto someone else, and to make some cash in the process. From Ebay and car boot sales to Gumtree and Facebook Market Place, all you need are a few decent photos and a realistic price.
Whilst DVDs and CDs aren’t worth much anymore, there are multiple websites that take them, along with old mobile phones. Trade in shops like CEX are also an option for selling technology and games.
You’ll make space, gain some cash and you can feel good knowing that your removals costs when you finally move into that new home will be cheaper – there’ll be less to move!
If you’ve been saving for a while and you’ve made all the big changes (switching suppliers, buying cheaper alternatives, cutting down on the nights out and the holidays) at the beginning, as time goes on you can feel like you’re not making much headway. But remember - if you’ve settled into a regular saving habit, you’re doing a great job.
It’s now about sticking to it consistently without losing focus. Which is a hard job too.
Change your mindset
If you feel like you’re being deprived, eventually you’re going to fall off the savings wagon. You’ll give up saving, use what you’ve saved so far to buy a holiday, or end up ‘treating yourself’ so often that those savings will disappear.
Instead, be proud of what you’re accomplishing and building long term and keep setting small goals that you can hit.
Replace the feeling of ‘missing out’ with the ‘opportunity to save’. Try to focus on how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go. Plan in the odd UK break or night out to reward yourself (with a strict budget of course).
You’re one of the savvy savers – rejoice! And if you’re looking for how to seriously up your deposit have a look at our third guide: Supersizing your savings.
Boosting your credit score
Don’t forget to continue checking your credit score and keeping an eye on where you can improve it. A new option, Credit Ladder
, allows you to register your rent payments towards improving your credit.
Similarly, remember that regular credit payments will help build good credit (paying off an item on finance, like a car, a sofa or anything else) but could be detrimental to getting a mortgage if you don't time it right. So use it to build your credit rating, but try to have paid it off six months before you intend to apply for a mortgage.