Life: Saving the pennies to reap the rewards

As this year comes to a close,
finances are probably the most popular thing on most peoples’ minds. With
Christmas presents bought and boxed off (and hopefully wrapped up) and bank
accounts feeling that little bit tighter round about now, thoughts are turning
to the New Year and the ‘things we need to save up for!’ With a potential house
move in store for mid-year, a trip to London and a summer holiday to book and
save for, thinking about money and how to put good habits into practice is
something that I’ve been doing a lot of lately.

Generally speaking, I’m pretty
good with money. I’ve saved for multiple trips abroad, I’ve managed to live
independently for the last 6 years with not –too much- assistance from my
parents and I have enough money in the bank to get myself through unexpected
disasters if need be. However, I am by no means the best at saving and I know
for a fact that I could do a lot of things that would mean that I’d have more
money in my savings account and would hit my savings goals much more quickly.

NON-ESSENTIAL SPLURGES

The thing I spend the most money
on, with the exception of bills and food, are most definitely clothes. I own a
LOT of clothes- my addiction to Topshop, Zara and ASOS is slightly out of hand
and one of my goals for 2018 is to spend less money on clothes that I don’t
need. I’m not going to be completely stingy and stop myself buying clothes
completely, but I am going to be a lot stricter over what I purchase and how
much I spend on it. As a teacher, I spend most of my time wearing smart casual
work clothes and fluffy pyjamas in the evenings and on weekends so it’s fair to
say that I don’t need another going
out dress- I have plenty in my wardrobes and I can wear them again- it’s not
going to kill me and to be quite honest, no one will notice anyway!

I also spend a LOT of money on
books – usually, this comes at an advantage as buying books = more reviews =
more blog views = more invitations to blog tours = more books sent as ARCs for
FREE. However, I now have such a large collection of ARCs that I’m yet to read
that, to be frank, means I don’t actually need to buy myself any more books for
a VERY long time. I can see 5 of these books sat on my bedside table, for
example. That’s an entire month’s worth of reading freely available. I also
have a kindle full of Netgalley galleys to read so being more controlled in
bookstores will definitely aid in my quest to save those extra £££s.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO HELP ME SAVE

Over the last few months, I’ve
been using a savings app to help me put away the spare pennies to quickly build
them up into pounds. Let me start by saying that this part of my post is by no
means sponsored- I have just found that this app has helped me save up and I
haven’t had to scrimp to do it.

Oval is a mobile app that
connects to your bank account- every time you spend using your debit card, it
rounds the amount up to the nearest pound and transfers those extra pennies
over to your account. So, for example: if you buy a coffee in Costa that costs
£2.85, it would round the amount up to £3.00 and transfer 15p into your Oval
savings account. 15p definitely won’t break the bank, right? You can set all
sorts of different savings goals; I have one set up that transfers £1 for every
£20 I spend on eating out. I usually save about £8 a week using this app, and
have around £70 in my account after using it for the last few months. I’m
planning on continuing on with this savings tactic over the course of the New
Year and using the money I save to fund a lovely shopping trip when me and my boyfriend
go down to London for Valentine’s Day this year.

The App takes £1 from your
savings when you do finally decide to withdraw your money so it’s a hassle
free, cheap and easy way to save money. You can withdraw your money at any
point- there is no minimum amount that you can withdraw and you also get £5
credit if you encourage other people to sign up to the app using your
promotional code. If you fancy trying to app out, my referral code is HB599VEU.

It’s completely free to download
and to try out and if you don’t like it, you can withdraw your money easily
with no love lost. Couple this with the piggy bank that I put 1, 2, 5, 10 and
20 pence pieces in and I’ll be rolling in the £££ by February!

COOKING IN BULK AND SCRAPPING ‘PRACTICALITY’

This is something that I’ve
definitely been lacking in over the last few months, with practicality taking
preference over sensible spending but in the New Year I’ll be getting back on
track with this and making sure that I am spending my money wisely. I’ve also
made a promise to myself to be more economical over where I buy my fruit,
vegetables and meat from – I am fully aware that buying locally and using
markets as opposed to supermarkets is better for my bank balance but also
better for those people living around me. Being less wasteful is a target of
mine as well- I find myself throwing food away much more regularly than I would
like to. I am going to limit myself to a single takeaway each month and if I
eat out, I’ll make sure that not only do I choose reasonably priced
restaurants, but that I take cash out with me rather than my debit card, making
sure that I don’t have ‘just one more cocktail’ when I definitely don’t need
to.

These are just a few steps that I’m
planning on putting in place over the next few months with the end goal of
being more savvy and yet, not scrimping to the point where I’m having
absolutely no fun whatsoever. My savings goals are realistic and the goals I’ve
put in place have end results that I really, really want to meet so sticking to
them should be a piece of cake- I hope!