When every pound you earn seems to get eaten up by expenses, it can sometimes feel as if you simply can’t save any money. So how do you take control of your finances and start setting money aside for the future when money is tight?
Here are 5 steps to help you create a new savings habit.
1: Choose your savings goals
The first thing to decide is what do you most need to save for?
There are probably a lot of things you want in life but what do you need most right now and what’s most important to you? It could be money to spend on birthdays and Christmas, a holiday, a deposit for a home, a change of car, your kids’ education or simply a ‘rainy day’ fund so that unexpected expenses don’t knock your finances for a loop.
Write down how much money you will need for each of your goals. Then decide which one to start saving for first.
2: Work out how much disposable income you have
Next, work out how much disposable income you have left after you pay for all your essentials. Things like rent/mortgage, rates, electricity, gas, food, insurance etc. that you cannot do without.
Write down your income each month or week after tax, add up the cost of your essential spending then take the cost of your essentials away from your income. You can use a simple budgeting sheet to guide you; there’s one in our Managing your money brochure below.
Whatever is left is your disposable income.
3: How much can you save towards your goal?
You might decide to save all your disposable income towards your most urgent goal. That might work for a short time but most of us need a few of life’s little luxuries to survive.
Once you’ve worked out a realistic savings amount it’s time to take the cost of your goal and divide it by your weekly or monthly savings.
How many weeks or months will it take you to save up the money you need? If it’s going to take you too long then you might want to take another look at your goals and adjust them to fit.
4: Set up a separate account for savings
It’s important to separate out your savings from your day-to-day spending money so that you’re not tempted to spend what you’ve saved.
You can do this by setting up a separate savings account and automatically transferring your savings into it as soon as you get paid each week or month.
This means you will only spend the remaining disposable income and to get used to managing on this amount. This approach is sometimes called ‘paying yourself first’.
5: Start saving
Remember to review your savings regularly to check that you are still on track.
It’s not unusual to have a few financial ups and downs and to be tempted to stop saving. Try to keep on saving towards your goals.
You can always adjust the amount you save if you need to and raise it again later.
The information contained in this article has been prepared by Bank of Ireland for information purposes only. Bank of Ireland believes any information contained in the article to be accurate and correct at the time of publishing.