It’s never too late to start putting aside some money to achieve your saving goals, but the sooner you get going, the better.
Whether you’re setting financial goals in your 20s or 30s for things like getting on the property ladder, or you’re thinking ahead and are planning for your retirement, there are plenty of strategies you can use to reach your personal financial goals (or money goals you set together as a couple). Loqbox shares 18 top tips for reaching your short-term and long-term financial goals.
18 top tips for reaching your saving goals
1. Set specific goals
Before you can start saving, you need to know what you are saving for. Setting specific goals that are measurable and achievable will help you stay motivated. And being motivated is one of the most important factors when trying to reach your savings and financial goals. If you’re wondering how to set money goals successfully, first work out how much you want to save — give yourself a target.
You might want to save up for a deposit on a house, or grow an emergency fund in case life throws you a curveball, or perhaps you want to start planning for retirement. Whatever it is, setting a savings goal is a great way to focus yourself and motivate you to get your finances in shape.
2. Create a budget
If you want to know how to save money for a goal, it’s worth starting by taking a look at your current income and expenses and creating a budget. You could try using budgeting apps or spreadsheets to help you track your spending. There are lots of different budgeting rules that you can check out to see which one suits you best.
One of the most common budgets that people use is the 50/20/30 rule. It works by breaking your income (after tax) into chunks. So 50% goes towards things that you absolutely need - like your rent, mortgage and bills. 30% is for the things you want - like nights out, clothes and subscriptions. That leaves 20% for your finance and savings goals.
Because the 50/20/30 rule uses percentages to break down your income, it doesn’t matter how much you earn, it will still make sense. And it can grow with your career progression. Using rules like this you can work out a realistic monthly savings, which helps you to set your specific (and achievable) goals.
3. Cut back on non-essential spending
Once you’ve broken down your income using your budget, you might find that you are spending more than 30% of your income on the things that you want. Look for ways to cut back on non-essential spending, like eating out or buying coffee every day. Maybe consider cooking at home or bringing your own coffee to work.
If you can trim your non-essential spending to 30% of your post-tax income, you’ll be in a great position to use that remaining 20% to grow your savings. It can take a bit of patience and you might have to make some sacrifices, but before long you’ll be moving towards your savings goal.
4. Use a separate account for your savings
Protect the money you put towards your savings goal from your day-to-day spending by opening a separate savings account. You can easily set up new accounts that are linked to your current bank. Some accounts can also be locked so that you can’t access your money for a set amount of time. This often gives you better interest rates too - but be careful, as if you need to access that money before the set amount of time is up, you can get landed with a big charge.
5. Automate your savings
Set up automatic monthly transfers from your bank account to your new separate savings account. Standing orders are really simple and very useful. Just set them up once and you don’t have to rely on yourself to make your payments. It’s too easy to forget them when you’ve got a busy life.
The other benefit of standing orders is that you can set the payment to go out on payday, so that the money’s already gone towards your savings goal before you can be tempted to spend it on any of those things you’ve cut from your spending in Tip 3. Put your saving goals first, and you’ll soon see it start to blossom.
6. Sell unwanted items
Once you’ve cut back on your finances, why not take a look around your home too? You could be (literally) sitting on valuable items you never use that might make you some extra cash.
Do you ever use the bike in the shed? Are there clothes you never wear? Sell your unwanted items on websites like eBay, Depop, Vinted, or Facebook Marketplace to earn extra cash.
7. Negotiate your bills
When you create your budget, you might also find that you’re spending more than 50% of your income on the things you need. Rent, mortgage, insurance, and energy bills can really pile up. And it’s easy to assume that whatever these companies are charging you is just what it has to cost. But that’s not always the case.
Companies often offer better deals to new customers, and rely on the fact that existing customers don’t question their bills (because who wants to sit on hold for ages?). But with a bit of effort you could be surprised. Call your service providers and negotiate your bills and interest rates, or use comparison websites to find better deals. It can save you hundreds!
8. Prioritise paying off your debts
Debts can cause you anxiety and stress. But they also eat into your saving power. Generally, the interest that you pay on your debts will be considerably higher than any interest that you earn on your savings. Before you start building your nest egg, prioritise clearing your debts. It should make things much easier and faster in the long run.
If you have high-interest debts, consider consolidating them into a lower interest rate loan. Credit cards often offer 0% interest for set durations. This is great for taking a breather from interest, but be careful. Once the 0% period is over they will likely jump to high rates. Bringing down debt repayments makes it easier to clear what you owe.
9. Use a high interest savings accounts
A high yield savings account can earn a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. Check what options your bank offers and shop around for the best ones to suit your needs. Often you can improve how much interest you earn from your money by locking it away for longer.
If you want instant access to your money, you’re less likely to get as high a return. But if you’re happy to let your savings grow untouched, you can find the best rates with fixed term savings accounts, between around one to seven years. You can also opt for accounts that allow access with a notice period for better deals.
10. Avoid overdraft fees
Check your bank account regularly to avoid overdraft fees. If you stick to your budgeting rule, this should be easier. Of course, sometimes, using your overdraft is unavoidable. That’s what it’s there for, after all! But if you find yourself living out of your overdraft you could be throwing away money on fees.
11. Get a roomie
OK, this won’t work for everybody. But if you have a mortgage, you’ll know that those payments often make up a large chunk of your monthly outgoings. If you own your property and you’ve got a spare room, why not consider renting it out or getting a lodger in? Getting help with your mortgage payments can really help you to grow your savings.
12. Cancel unused subscriptions
With so many streaming services and subscription boxes available these days, the chances are you’ve got one or two that you’ve signed up for that you don’t really use. Check your bank statements and make a list of all the subscriptions you’re paying out for every month. Are you really getting value from them?
Do the same for any gym or exercise classes you have. Did you sign up hoping that the cost obligation would force you into going, but you’re only making it there once a month? Your physical wellbeing is important, but there are other ways of looking after yourself that don’t have to cost the earth.
You don’t have to get rid of all of the subscriptions and health commitments you have, but be honest with yourself. If you’re bingeing shows (rather than going on expensive nights out) or saving on your groceries with meal kits, keep them going.
But these small monthly payments really add up so be sure to check in on them regularly – if they aren’t positively contributing to your financial goals then it may be time to cancel.
13. Reduce your energy bills
We mentioned earlier that it’s possible to negotiate your energy bills down with providers. But there are other ways that you can bring down energy costs, not to mention do your bit for the environment. Win-win!
LED light bulbs use as much as 90% less energy than the normal bulbs you often find in houses. You can also unplug all of your electrical appliances when you’re not using them. While most modern appliances only drain a small amount, older ones can be much more thirsty.
Smart plugs are great for putting your appliances on timers so you don’t have to constantly squeeze behind furniture to get to your plugs every night. If your TV, games console, and sound system are all drawing from the same socket, buying one smart plug could save you money in the long run.
14. Cut down on your food bills
Of course, we all need to eat. But taking a look at your diet and shop preferences could go some way to helping you save for your financial goals.
If you eat meat, it can often be one of the more luxury items in your basket, so going meat-free (even just for a week every month) can help to push your food budget down while doing a little something for the planet.
Shop around (excuse the pun) for a better value supermarket. Supermarkets can be great for value, but they’re high on temptation too, often encouraging you to fill your trolly with impulse purchases. Making meal plans for the week will allow you to only get what you really need.
15. Get a side hustle
Start a side hustle to earn extra income. We know that finding time between work, friends, and family can feel difficult, and we’re not suggesting you overwork yourself or make yourself ill. But if you can find some extra time in your week, why not use it for a second job or become a virtual assistant? Even if you’re not time-rich, there are ways you can build a passive income, such as creating an online course, or selling display ads on your website or social channels.
16. Resist lifestyle inflation
If you haven’t heard of lifestyle inflation, it's basically just where we spend more on our lifestyle as our income increases. As you get better-paid jobs or promotions, it’s easy to start living within your new, more extravagant, means. And who’d blame you — you’ve worked hard and you deserve to enjoy yourself, after all.
But here’s another idea: resist the temptation of lifestyle inflation and save the difference!
That extra cash in your income will give your savings and finance goal a massive boost every month. You can shift the percentages on your budget rule and push more into your savings or debt repayments.
17. Build your credit scores
Your credit scores are numbers that summarise your credit history and give you an idea of how lenders view your creditworthiness when you apply for mortgages, loans, and credit cards. They’re calculated by the top three credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
You can find out more about what credit scores are and what affects them here.
Generally, the better your credit scores, the more likely it is that you’ll be accepted for credit. And you can also often get better deals on interest rates from lenders. Paying less interest can save you thousands in the long run.
But if you checked your credit score and it wasn’t as good as you hoped, don’t panic. Loqbox could be a great option for you — with Loqbox Save, you could set a savings goal for a year and build your credit score as you go.
18. Invest in yourself
Setting and smashing savings and finance goals is about you (and your loved ones). So don’t lose sight of that! It’s about putting yourself in a stronger position and living the life you want. Invest in yourself before everything else. Your savings aren’t just about making money. They’re about giving yourself a better future.
We all know that money can cause worry and stress. Our financial wellbeing should be as important to us as our mental and physical wellbeing - and it can actually impact on both as well. You can read more about the link between your financial, physical and mental wellbeing here.
By implementing these tips, you can build a solid foundation for reaching your finance goals. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your financial future – you’ve got this!