I don’t know if I have mentioned it over the past few months, but I am going to Disney at the end of the year. If you haven’t heard, I am going at the end of October, doing a couple of days in Universal (Harry Potter’s Wizarding World really) and then going on to Disney to get the best of the Hallowe’en and the Christmas decorations. I am anticipating wanting lots to of spending money to spend on souvenirs, knick knacks, and all round treat myself. The problem with this: Universal, Disney, Transatlantic flights, they are all expensive.
I’m super lucky that I work in travel, an industry that allows me to explore the world, and gives me an excuse to go on holiday. The “problem” with this is saving money for a trip that far in the future, when you have 3 international holidays planned before. I know I know, I shouldn’t complain, and I am 100% not actually moaning about this fact, I love travelling, but it means I have been sidetracked. I knew this would be an issue working in the job that I do, so as soon as I started, I opened a variety of savings accounts and began researching savings methods.
I have been anticipating and planning for this trip since April 2017, which has allowed me 18months to save money. I’ve been utilising lots of different ways to start saving money, and have managed to save quite a sum for the trip (and y’know, future travels). I’ve watched lots of vlogs, read lots of blogs, and investigated different ways to save money, and I think I have found a variety of ways that work for me. Earlier this year I posted about how I was going to do this (click here to view my original post), so I thought it was about time to check in and see how I am getting on, what is working, and what I am going to get rid of!
Monthly Savings Account
Each month, on payday, a set amount of money goes out of my account into a savings account not associated with my current account. It goes out as soon as my pay check goes in, which means it is almost like taxing myself. I never know having that money because it leaves my account as soon as it goes in. The added bonus of having it in a separate bank account with another company is that I don’t see it unless I actively go in to look. I (sort of) forget that the money is amassing, and then I remember and check and I’m often pleasantly surprised by the amount I have managed to save.
OK, this is working really really well. I bulk moved all of my old savings into this account with the Post Office, and can’t thank Martin Lewis/Money Saving Expert enough. I have already saved well enough to go to Florida (I am actually super pleased to have beaten my £2500 target already) and don’t even notice the money leaving my account.
Bonus Savings Account
Attached to my current account is a savings account. It’s instant access, and allows me to transfer money in and out with freedom. The benefit of this is that I can dip in and out if an emergency happens, I am a little short, or ready to pay for something big. By having it in a separate account to my current account, I don’t have it sitting there as disposable money and refrain spending it on frivolous nonsense.
The other added bonus is that I can instantly add money in as easily as I can take it out. I realised that I wanted to try and save any money I had left at the end of the month. Some months are better than others financially, so I like to make the most of a good month so I feel less strapped during a bad month. Recently, I have started to add any money I have in my bank account on the evening before payday. It effectively wipes my current account slate clean, and encourages me to live within that month’s wages rather than relying on a good month previously.
Once again, this has worked well. This has actually worked really well. I have a psychological barrier about moving savings back into my current account, so once moved, I will pretty much leave the money untouched. I have had a couple of frugal months this year so far, and had a work bonus, so I am pleased to report that this has almost reached my adulting savings goal. I am way ahead of my savings goals this year (which makes a pleasant change), so I am already earmarking savings for a house deposit (although that is a long, long way off) and Canada in 2020.
Bookish Savings Jar
This year I have had a savings revelation that has been adapted from many things I have seen on the internet. I read a lot, buy a lot of books, and then re-read the ones I had instead of delving into one of my new stories. I devised a saving’s far system, one to make the most of my booking obsessions, curb my bad habits, and make some money.
- Add £1 to the jar for every book I finish – this is pretty self-explanatory, it simply is a way to save money every time I finish a book. I read over 110 books last year, so straight away that is £110 that I would have saved. I worried it might put me off reading, but so far it hasn’t and is ticking over nicely.
- Add an extra £1 for every re-read – I am a serial re-reader. I like re-experiencing books that I enjoy, and it is having a detrimental effect on the number of new books I finish. I have acquired a lot of books over the past 36 months, so it’s probably best I have something in place to encourage reading them. It also makes me really think about whether I want to actually re-read that book again and again. So far this year it’s actually worked, I am yet to re-read a book.
- Add £1 to the jar for every book I buy – See, my brain is clever with the ways to save money plan. I buy, haul, collect a lot of books, so saving for each one is also a sure fire way to make some money for my trip. I’ve hauled a lot of books over the past 36 months that would have meant I saved a lot, so I’ve implemented this for all types of books (audiobooks, eARCs, paperbacks, hardbacks) to try and curb the buying and increase the savings.
My biggest worries about this savings method was that it would take the fun from reading and acquiring books. It hasn’t done either, which makes it a huge success. I am pleased and embarrassed to report that the jar is probably already £75 down, at least, which means I am going to have a nice little bonus pot. I might even save it for Christmas presents instead of Disney/Universal at the rate I am collecting. The best bit is discipline thus far surrounding re-reads. I haven’t re-read a single book, and even though I really want to, it’s making me really think.
I am a big Harry Potter fan, so when my Mum and Dad bought me a Gringotts money tin I knew exactly what to use it for. I can (thankfully) open the bottom to get the money inside out, so I’m not worried about having to ruin it with a tin-opener. When I was in university, I used to save all of my tips from work, any money that I found around my room when I tidied up, and any change found int he bottom of bags and in pockets, into a money tin. I’m using Gringotts for this at the moment, and it’s a good way for me (who isn’t always the most tidy or organised person) to try and collect up some extra money.
I’m also using it as a way to save money pledged through my Lent Exercise Promise. I made this promise knowing that the fines involved would be harsh, so if I exercised lots, I would benefit hugely physically and if I didn’t I would benefit hugely financially. So far, it’s been quite balanced. I’ve not worked out as much as I would have liked to but there have been days where I have forced myself to work out where I wouldn’t have bothered before.
I think, if anything has been not quite as successful, then Gringotts would be it. I may have found bits of money, and I have been putting any exercise money in there too, but, I find it less accountable, and it’s also the jar I will raid if I ma short of cash for a particular something. That said, I found some dollars in there left from a trip to America last year, so that will come in handy. I know that it will all come in handy, but this is definitely the way that isn’t working as well.
In light of my recent financial successes, and also the changing work place pension regulations, I vowed to look a little more into my pension, how it works, and how much I contribute. I didn’t really understand what my contributions did, or what they meant, so it’s been good to look a little more into my pension and think about my future. My parents have managed to retire relatively early, and I’d like to be able to save a little for me future if I can to enjoy when I get there.
Soooo, I went a little crazy, and by a little I mean a lot. I decided to double my contribution from 5% to 10% of my salary. Now, this sounded like a great idea, I had money left over to move into savings every month so clearly I could afford it. In reality, I haven’t had a normal paycheck where this higher rate has been paid, so it could be catastrophic, but we’ll see. It will make a huge difference in the long run, so if I can get into the habit of paying the higher amount now, I will be very thankful later, especially if my wages ever go up or if I was to ever get a promotion.
Travel Rewards Programmes
I think working for an airline makes you realise how beneficial these can be. I have been earning points with different airlines passively for years, but now I know the benefits, I have really cranked up my understanding of the schemes and really begun to work out the advantages of having them.
I have hugely increased the number of miles I have with both British Airways/Avios and Virgin Atlantic simply by being clever with what cards I use. I almost exclusively use my credit cards now, and then pay them off as soon as the bill comes, almost like they are debit cards. This way, I get the benefits of the points without the costs associated with using the credit card itself. I’ve been careful with my online shopping, and thought a little more about where I shop to maximise what I earn. It’s working.
Work place saving
So, this is about the only thing that is new around here, so I thought I would mention it. My colleagues have mentioned a workplace saving scheme that my company runs that directly takes cash from your paycheck and pays it directly into savings. I didn’t really know about it before, but can’t help thinking it might be a good idea to join. I will probably forget about it, and then remember a few months down the line when it has started to build up nicely. That’s the idea anyway. I think this will be my next savings target.
I pay tax, and I know nothing about ISAs, so over the next year, I am going to try and learn more about them. The help to buy ISA and LISA (Life ISA that is designed to make money for a personal pension) are both huge at the moment having been introduced a few years ago by the government. I’ve never had enough to consider them before, but as my other savings accounts are building up so significantly, I am starting to wonder whether putting money away properly is a good idea. I would really like to buy a house before I am 60, and I know that thinking about a help to buy ISA is probably the best thing to do.
I’ve already hit pretty much every savings target I had this year, how great is that? The benefits are that I have saved money and a pretty great amount at that, but the problem is that I don’t have any targets left for the year. So, with that in mind, I am changing my savings goals. Where my total savings aim was £4500, I am going to up that to £7,000. Yes, that is a huge increase that realistically I will struggle to get, but I think I save best when I have a big goal. I’m not making any more pensions goals, because I don’t need them, and I am hoping to forget about my pension for a while.
That post was a little more rambling, and a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, but I wanted to keep myself updated as much as all of you!
How do you save money? What tricks work for you?
Do you have any big trips or purchases you’re saving for?