Saving money isn’t particularly rock n roll. It’s not something that advertisers have traditionally used to motivate consumers to buy products and it’s not going to give you great (or more) hair or lots of friends. However, it’s slowly dawning on most of us that being good at saving money is one skill that opens doors to a better life, from being able to live within your means, to buying property or making investments. But why are some people better at it than others? Perhaps the rest of us can learn from them.
Their parents saved money
Often, good savers come from generations of good savers. Perhaps one of the first things a grandparent did for them was to open a Post Office savings account or give them a money box. Maybe their mum was very good at budgeting or their dad knew how to make the home finances stretch. We absorb such a vast amount of information during our childhoods that being good with money is often a learned skill acquired from others who set an example.
They got into good habits early
Even if they didn’t come from a particularly frugal family, if they managed to get into the habit of saving money before the age of 18 then they had a much better chance of being a good adult saver. The transition from the income of a Saturday job and/or pocket money to having a real income is one that can be quite difficult if you’re not used to putting a proportion of that cash aside from every payment. However, if you’ve always put a little aside, and continue to do so, then saving becomes second nature throughout life.
They’ve made a conscious decision
Managing personal finances in 2016 is a delicate balance between income and outgoings, bills and borrowings, and saving necessarily plays an important role in the process. For most of us it’s being able to save that will give (or has given) us the chance to buy a property, to have holidays and to be able to use the money we have, alongside personal loans or credit, to create a business, fund home improvements or buy something essential like a new car. This necessity has meant that many people have made a conscious decision to learn how to save and to better manage their money – maybe that’s you, or maybe you still need to learn…
Being better at saving money
Luckily, being a good saver isn’t something that you either have or you don’t – it’s quite simple to pick up savings tips and apply them to your own finances to make them work for you.
Have a budget – If you want to be able to put cash aside every month then you need to make sure there is some cash to spare. Budgeting effectively will give you the control over your finances that you need to be able to create some spare money to put aside in your savings at the end of every month.
Design a savings plan – It’s a good idea to come up with a plan for your savings if you want to get good at it – how much do you want to put aside each week/month, what exactly are you saving for and, if you have savings targets, how long is it going to take you to reach them? A savings calculator can be a good idea if you’re trying to work out specific time periods and numbers and there are plenty of mobile apps that will help you work out how to reach your goals.
Make savvy choices between saving and borrowing – Personal loans, credit cards, mortgages and payday loans are a necessary part of life and they are essential when it comes to making your money work for you. If you have limited resources and you want to buy something like a car then putting the spare money you have into car finance could be the best choice. If you’re looking to pay for a holiday next summer then you might be better off saving for it.
Stick to your guns – There is no magic pill you can take that will make you good at saving, no hormone or hereditary gene that will suddenly giving you savings ability you didn’t have before. It’s simply a matter of creating a savings plan that works with your income and then sticking to it every month, often in the face of lots of temptation! Anyone can be better at saving money – if you’re not, then perhaps this is the year to try.
It pays to be wise with your money which is why we’ve produced loads of “top tips” to help you. And if you need to borrow a bit of cash use our QuickStart tool to help narrow down your options.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read more about Oliver Jones