The government has doubled down on its ‘rule of 6’ approach to social distancing. As this phrase looks set to dominate this Autumn, I decided to apply it to your finances too. This post will detail my ‘rule of 6’ – 6 easy to follow rules to help you save more money this Autumn.
Knowing there are thousands of different ways to save money, I enlisted the help of other money bloggers to establish the best tips for Autumn 2020.
The 6 rules covered in this post are:
- Budget and plan in advance
- Pay yourself first
- Switch utility providers
- Cashback apps/ deals
- Think twice before making purchases
- Have multiple savings accounts
Budget and plan in advance
It sounds simple, but having a working budget is essential. If you want to save more money this Autumn, you should track your bills, rent, savings and other purchases in a spreadsheet or on an app. This will help you know exactly what you’re spending and help you stay accountable to your goals.
Knowing what your expenses are and how much you want to save is the first step to achieving your goals.
Faith from Much More With Less recommends keeping a spending diary as part of your budget. “Noting down everything you spend will make you much more aware of where your money disappears, so you can start making changes,” she explained.
This should also include your food shop. Food and drinks can make up a large proportion of our expenses. Managed incorrectly, this can negatively impact your budget and set you back on your saving goals.
Lisa from Alieshia also warned: “Never food shop when hungry, it’s been scientifically proven you will spend up to 70% more than planned!”
Pay yourself first
Another simple idea to save more money this Autumn is to treat your savings like bills.
Luke from the Progression Playbook favours this approach. He recommends setting up a direct debt between your bank and investment or savings account for the day after payday. That way, you can only spend what you have left and are “paying yourself first.”
If you wait to the end of the month to pay into your savings accounts, you may find you have already spent all the money so have none left to put aside. Instead, saving at the start of the month means you won’t be tempted to spend the money frivolously.
If you don’t have a savings account yet, you should get one! You can find the best interest rates currently available here.
Switch utility providers
Loyalty is not rewarded. However much companies try to claim they give you a better deal if you stick with them, this is usually not the case.
It is always worth shopping around to see what deals are out there and whether you can get a better deal. Some people save over £200 on their electricity bill, simply by taking an extra 30 minutes to look at different providers.
As a bonus, if you use Compare the Market to compare providers, you will be eligible for a year’s worth of Meerkat Movies and Meals. This gives you 2-1 cinema tickets and half priced meals at participating venues.
Make the most of cashback apps and deals
Sometimes you need and/or want to make purchases. You shouldn’t avoid doing this just for the sake of frugal living or meeting your savings goals.
But, you can save money while doing this. There are plenty of cashback apps and deals available. The Brilliant Budget looks to save a minimum of 10% on all restaurant visits and retail purchases.
One of my favourites is Quidco. You simply sign up and then can search for the company you want to buy from. So far, I am yet to find one which doesn’t have a cashback offer. If you are interested and sign up to Quidco using this link we’ll both get £10.
There are also reward and cashback credit cards. These can be really helpful, but should be used with caution. Only take out a credit card if you are certain you can pay back the balance each month and can manage debt responsibly.
Think twice before making purchases
With online shopping, it is very easy to make mindless purchases. Some even shop when drunk. In 2019, 55.9% of Britons (29.3 million people), carried out spontaneous drunk purchases.
This leads to unnecessary purchases and unexpected spending, which can blow a budget. To avoid this, try and think twice before you buy anything.
You can also become reluctant to cut out things you’ve always bought. To avoid this, Jim Wang from Wallet Hacks recommends tracking how often you use something if you’re hesitant about cutting it out. “You probably don’t use it as often as you think,” he suggested.
Mark Mulvey has a similar approach. He puts the URL of what he wants to buy into his google calendar a month ahead. By the time the ‘appointment’ comes around, he usually doesn’t want to buy the item anymore.
Have multiple savings accounts
Another tip, courtesy of Nicola Dale is to have separate savings accounts for different purposes. This keeps you focused and helps to remove the temptation of dipping into a generic savings account when you want to treat yourself or perhaps splash out on a fancy holiday or similar.
Your savings accounts will be personal depending on your goals. But, for example, you could have one for a house deposit, one for your emergency fund, and one for home or car repairs.
Similarly, Jan from Manage Your Money recommends using at least 50 percent of any pay rise to increase your savings rate. You can either add to your existing accounts or set up a new one with a specific purpose. The latter can be beneficial as it offers the psychological benefit of feeling like you’re achieving something new with you pay rise.
So there you have it, my rule of 6. Thank you very much to everyone that shared their thoughts and contributed to the post.
If you found this post helpful, please like and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your experiences. What are you top saving tips? How are you going to save more money this Autumn?