Do you have a million reasons to start saving money, but don’t want to sacrifice your social life in the process? I can help. Uncover these crucial money saving tips for Millennials that helped me save £12,000 whilst still living my best life.
If you’re a twenty-something, like me, you’ll be at a point in your life when you feel pressure to be conscious about your spending habits. It’s no longer feasible to go from pay cheque to pay cheque, spending every penny without any savings being put aside. It’s time to get serious about money. But without any direction, this can be a difficult step. Us Millennials were never taught about money management or budgeting when in school and missing out on these life lessons means we’re pretty clueless on how to go about saving. But this blog shares some valuable money saving tips for Millennials and beginners that will provide the inspiration and organisation needed for you to start filling up the piggy bank and gaining financial flexibility.
Why is it so difficult for Millennials to save money?
Millennials are expected to achieve the same financial stability as previous generations. But with the many political and economical obstacles faced in this day and age, it’s increasingly difficult for us to do this. Rising house prices, student loan debts, making less money than our parents, staying in for school longer periods and a saturated job market are just some of the factors that account for only 1 in 3 Millennials being able to afford their own home and why 60% of Millennials are unsure if they’ll be able to pay off their loans.
So, what can Millennials do to save money despite these challenges?
1. Change your mindset
Budgeting has a bad stigma. I used to think that if you budgeted it meant you were a ‘tight ass’ or stinge – exactly the kind of person I always loathed. But then I changed my perception on it and this was a massive psychological motivator for me to start budgeting my finances.
Budgeting doesn’t mean that you have to go without and have less than others, or that you have to restrict yourself so much that you can’t enjoy yourself and have to live a boring life. Budgeting means that you can save money in one area, which allows you to have the flexibility to spend in another. For example, if you set a budget for your food outgoings, it means you can set more money aside for a luxury holiday you’ve been dying to go on.
It’s also important to remember that it’s you who has full control over your budget. You decide your goals, how much you cut back on, what areas you do or don’t budget in. You don’t have to be really strict on yourself. You may just want to make your current spending habits more sustainable and that’s okay.
Adopting a more positive mindset towards budgeting means you won’t see it as a chore. Look at it as a challenge to be excited about! I can promise you’ll be thanking yourself in the long run.
2. Set a goal
Once you’ve stopped thinking negatively about it, you can start creating budgets and setting financial goals. To set a goal, you’ll need to think abut what you’re ultimately saving for. Are you saving for a deposit on a house? For a wedding? For a car? Whatever the reason, your goal should be specific. Set yourself a target amount of money, a timeframe and a target date.
Some great ideas for financial goals could be:
- Pay off 50% of your student loan by 2024
- Put £1000 per month into a savings account for the next 12 months for an ’emergency fund’
- Put £250 into a Help to Buy ISA account every month, so you have £9,000 to put towards a deposit for a house in 3 years time.
- Save £84 each month for the next 6 months to pay for a £500 all inclusive holiday in Europe.
A great way for you to figure out what you’re saving for and what’s important to you is by creating mood boards, using images of things that you aspire to have or be like. E.g images of your favourite car, your dream house, your dream holiday destination or the perfect wedding.
3. Set budgets
Once you have a goal, you can start setting budgets that will help you achieve that goal. To create a budget, you should know the following things:
- Your total income after tax
- Your essential expenses (look at your bank statement from the previous month to figure out what your necessities are)
- Your non-essential expenses (things you want, but don’t need)
- How much money you have left after you subtract these expenses from your income.
If you’re breaking even or spending more than you make, that’s bad news and you need to start budgeting. If you have money left over, that’s good news, but you could still benefit from a budget to help you save even more.
You should make a budget for every aspect of your life – food shops, travel, clothing shops, fitness, bills.
If you need a more in-depth guide on how to budget as a beginner, click here.
4. Apply for a Monzo card
Monzo has opened up a whole new world for banking. It’s an innovative, easy-to-use mobile app, which makes managing your money super simple and convenient. Monzo is a fully authorised bank that can either be used alongside your current account or used as a sole current account. But it differs to regular banks because it’s solely app-based and also comes with so many amazing features that help customers save money and budget effectively.
With the Monzo app, I can track my spending habits and set myself monthly budgets within different spending categories. It gives you a breakdown of exactly how much money you’ve spent on eating out, groceries, holidays, etc. so you can figure out which areas you’re spending too much in and the app also sends you alerts and notifications based on this. When you’re close to maxing out your budget, Monzo will let you know.
Another great feature of Monzo is the option to set up a ‘coin jar’, where Monzo rounds up your spending to the nearest £1 and puts it in a virtual change savings jar (or piggy bank) for you.
- Monzo card (track spending, limit the amount of money you take out with you on a night out), use the option ‘coin jar’ where monzo rounds up your spending to the nearest £1 and puts it in a virtual change savings jar for you.
5. Set up a savings account
Most Millennials know they need to do this at some point in their life, but put it off for as long as possible down to laziness (this used to be me). I get it – bank appointments are hassle and setting up a savings account can be confusing. But the sooner you start, the sooner you can start making interest on your money.
Different banks offer different interest rates for savings accounts and some will even pay you up to £200 to switch from your current provider and up to another £100 if you refer a friend. To help you out, these are the current best bank accounts to join, according to Money Saving Expert.
6. Set up direct debits
I can’t stress how important it is to set up direct debits for any outgoings that are absolute necessities, such as your bills or your rent money.
If you have the same payday date every month, then this works in your favour. You can arrange for any direct debits to leave your account the same day or the day after payday. This removes any temptation to spend the money. If it leaves your account straight away then it’s like you never had it in the first place.
Setting up direct debits for important things like bills avoids any possibility of you building up debts, which could ultimately effect your credit score.
7. Have a spend-free week or month
Challenge yourself to go one month without spending any money at all, except for absolute necessities such as food shops or bills. This means cutting out all spontaneous online purchases, no eating out or takeaways and no Starbucks coffee runs. You could save yourself hundreds of extra pounds a month just by taking such a simple step.
If one month seems too difficult for you, try doing one week every month. You’ll find that it gradually gets easier to go without making purchases and you can eventually work your way up to a month or even several months.
8. Start preparing your meals
You may not even realise it, but store-bought lunches are the biggest fiend when it comes to eating away at your finances. Even though those £3 sandwich meal deals you buy every day may seem low cost, it all adds up. By prepping your meals for lunch, you could save yourself at least £15 a week, which adds up to A LOT of money over the course of a year. Meal prepping will also help you in achieving a spend-free week/month.
Because you’re making large quantities of food, you can cash in on supermarket deals for those who want to buy in bulk, which means you’re event saving money when you do your food shop!
Sure, meal prepping takes a little more organisation and time-consuming preparation. But it’s a small sacrifice to make considering how much money it could save you.
If you’re looking for some easy and cheap meal prep ideas, click here.
9. Be smart with your food shop
According to the Office for National Statistics, the average person in the UK spends £25.30 per week on a supermarket food shop, which amounts to £1,313 in total per year. You may think that this is a reasonable amount to spend, but this is without trying to budget.
If you cut back to just £15 a week (which is how much I aim to spend), you’d be saving yourself an extra £593 a year.
To do this, you need to get smart with your food shop. You should only buy what you need and never go into a supermarket without preparing a shopping list beforehand. If you don’t have a list, you could over-purchase and buy way more food than necessary for the week.
Your food shopping list should include all of the ingredients you need for your meal prep throughout the week.
Having a list is not just good your bank account, but good for the environment too because it means you’re less likely to waste food!
10. Be thrifty
Wherever and whenever possible, try to buy second hand goods from charity shops, vintage stores, car boot sales or online resellers such as Ebay, Etsy or Depop. You’ll be surprised at what treasures you can find in these places and for a bargain price as well!
When I was buying outfits for my most recent holiday to Ibiza, I purchased almost everything off an app called Depop, which is a mobile marketplace where people can sell their unwanted clothes. The majority of clothing sold on here is from established brands, is the latest season and has only been worn once. You can get things for half the price of their current retail price.
As well as bagging a bargain from places like this, you can also earn yourself some money by selling your own items. I once bought an 80’s style swimsuit in a vintage shop for just £10 and then sold it on Depop for £35, so I actually made a profit.
11. Avoid buying at full price
You’re only human and there are going to be times when you really can’t bring yourself to say no bit of online shopping or retail therapy. And that’s okay! But if possible, avoid paying for things at face value, especially items that are slightly out of your budget comfort zone. Some ways that you can avoid paying the full price are:
- Use a discount code or promo code
- Use a gift voucher
- Wait until the item goes on sale
- Wait until there’s an offer in store e.g 2 for 1 or % off
- Buy off-season
- Buy it on Black Friday
- Buy it at the airport/abroad tax-free
12. Cut out impulsive spending
The easiest way to stop impulsive spending is really simple. Don’t take out your debit card. Take out a certain amount of cash that is the maximum amount you want to spend and then leave the plastic at home! That way you’re more inclined to think carefully about what you’re buying. You won’t want to buy that tempting extra cocktail when you know it means you’ll have no money for a cab home!
Monzo is also great for capping your spending on a night out because you can choose how much money to put onto your Monzo card. If you only want to spend £40, then you would only put £40 on the card. Once you’ve spent that amount, there’s no overdraft to go into.
In addition to this, make your friends aware that you’re trying to budget and save by telling them. They’re likely to help you stick to your goals by reminding you about it when you start to fall off.
13. Get paid for shopping
Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. Cashback websites like Topcashback will give you rewards or a percentage of your money back when you shop through them at online retailers. I’ve been casually using Topcashback for the last 2 years and saved over £80, but on average, people are able to save a total of £325 per year using this website.
You can get your money back on almost anything, from holidays to electricials to broadband.
14. Start a side hustle
It’s said that every Millennial needs to have at least one side hustle in order to be able to afford their own home by the time they’re 30. An average salary just isn’t going to cut it nowadays considering the influx in cost of living.
A side hustle is essentially a way of making money that isn’t to do with your 9 to 5 job. It’s a way of bringing in extra income, getting out of debt or to meet your saving goals faster. In my case, I’ve taken up blogging as a side hustle.
Some great suggestions for side hustles:
- Work a part-time weekend only job
- A monetised blog
- Create and sell goods on Etsy, Ebay or Depop
- Freelance work on Upworks.com
- Sell online guides/e-books
- Online surveys
- Sell unwanted clothes/items on Depop, Ebay or Shpock
- Become a mystery shopper
- Set up a market stall selling homemade food/bakes
- Dog walk or dog-sit
- Get involved with medical trials
- Test websites