Whether it’s for an unexpected emergency or a wonderful celebration, most of us can agree that having a healthy pot of savings would really help to manage the big moments in life.
The tricky part is building those savings. It takes a long time and money doesn’t grow on trees (sigh). So Loqbox has put together this blog to help you build a savings habit that sticks.
Why are savings so important?
Having savings is important for our financial wellbeing, which is often closely linked with our mental and physical health, too.
With savings in place for a rainy day, short-term goals like a holiday, or long-term goals like a house deposit, you can feel more secure and less stressed about your money. And without that stress, you can make mental space to plan what you need to do for a brighter future.
How does saving make you feel?
Let’s be honest, saving a large amount of money isn’t easy! It takes a long time to do it, and that’s not mentioning the patience and steady determination that’s needed (even when the results still feel far away). But one important skill that can bulk up our piggy banks is habit building.
The first step to make habit building a success is to acknowledge that emotions are involved when it comes to money. Patience and determination are mental challenges, after all. So unless we’ve mastered those (and easier said than done, we know, but stick with us), it’s likely that we’ll feel impatience, frustration and may even want to give up.
By being more mindful of what we can expect to feel, then hopefully we can be more in control and manage the results better!
When you set yourself a goal, work out how it will take to reach it. Set your expectations that yes, it’ll take time and you may well feel fed up waiting for it. But instead of clock watching, set up some habits that will do the hard work for you.
Tips for general habit building
How much money do you have spare to save?
For your savings habit to be sustainable, you have to know how much you can afford to save. Essential outgoings are non-negotiable, but if you have some spare income that you use to spend on ‘fun stuff’ each month, you could try the 50/20/30 budgeting rule to figure out how much you have to play with.
Without knowing exactly how much cash you have spare to save, it can be really hard to stick to it and you could end up dipping into your savings pot. This can lead to you feeling deflated and unmotivated to keep saving (and maybe even a little like you’ve failed — except you haven’t! It’s those pesky feelings again!).
Little and often
This rule is surprisingly effective. Once you know your savings budget for the month, you just put aside a little amount of money as often as possible. You can read more about setting savings goals over at Loqbox Learn.
Setting yourself a daily goal of £2 a day would give you £730 after a year!
£3 a day would give you a £1,095 at the end of the year,
and £5 a day gives you £1,825 in just 365 days.
You’ll need to factor in how much you can afford to save each month, so take the daily amount and multiply it by 31 (that’s the maximum number of days in a month). If it’s in your monthly budget, why not give this rule a go!
You may start to get a little dopamine kick every day knowing you’re working toward your savings goal without doing much heavy lifting.
Substitute and save
You don’t have to give up every small pleasure in life to reach your financial goals (although sure, you’d get there faster if you did). But our mental health matters too! We need to be out and about, seeing loved ones, exercising, using our brains, and doing the things that bring us joy.
If you’ve set yourself some new year’s resolutions to join the gym or to be more sociable, why not redirect the ways this could cost you money and be proactive about putting that into savings instead?
Before you commit to a fancy gym membership this year, punch the numbers on the calculator. The average gym membership in the UK is £40 a month (*spits out protein shake* that’s £480 a year!).
Does your local park have ‘free’ gym equipment? Is there a local running club you could join? Or if there’s one in your area, have you thought about joining GoodGym instead — where you can run, walk or cycle to help an elderly person or plant a tree in your community?
If you and your friends meet for a catch-up once a week, that cheeky £3.50 latte would be working out at £182 over a year. Could you take a thermos of coffee to cut the cost? Not as glamorous, we know, but your pal may well want to save that money too if you pitch them the idea.
Whatever your habit is, you can hack it and save yourself that cash!
The most successful tactic Loqbox has found to help your savings stick is to automate them. By setting up a standing order for the same day your regular income arrives in your bank account.
Again, this is all within your budget and what you can afford to save. But by saving this way you:
a) don’t miss the money, and b) you can’t accidentally spend it!
If you know that you won’t be able to resist the temptation to dip into your savings, Loqbox Save can help with that out-of-sight, out-of-mind saving technique.
Tell us which day of the month is best for you, how much you can afford to save each month starting at £20, and we’ll lock that money away for you. During the year that you save with us, we’ll also be working hard to help you improve your credit score too (how’s that for a win-win?).
Learn more about Loqbox Save here.
Where should I put my money afterwards?
Check out this Loqbox Learn lesson on the key savings jargon to help you decide where to keep your money. As a general rule of thumb though, once you’ve worked hard to build up your savings you want to be getting a good AER (Annual Equivalent Rate) with the lowest fees to keep the account open.
If you’re under 40 and saving for a deposit to buy your first home, a Lifetime ISA may be a really good shout for you. The UK government is currently topping up people’s Lifetime ISAs by 25% (to a maximum of £1,000 per tax year) as long as you’re withdrawing the savings to pay for the house deposit. Save £4,000 and get an extra £1,000 for free? Don’ t mind if we do!
Good luck with building your savings habit this year, you’ve got this!