Whenever New Year comes around I find myself reflecting on my life, focusing mainly on what I want to change. I tend to avoid setting myself New Years resolutions as such. Of course there are plenty I could make, but in the past I've just been frustrated with myself when I fail to achieve them. So this year, rather than focusing on specific, quite focused resolutions I've decided to concentrate on an important area of life 'Money' and how I can improve our current situation. I thought this was the perfect way to start my blog - our main goal is to save enough money for a deposit - but obviously that can take a VERY long time, especially when there's not much flexible income at the end of the month once all the bills are paid. All these resolutions are very achievable, so hopefully this will give you a few ideas if you're looking to save, or just wanting to make a little bit of extra money this year.
365 Saving Challenge
I see a number of different money saving challenges popping up through-out the year, but this one is the most achievable I've seen! So we're definitely going to give it a go this year. Its pretty simply really, starting on the 1st day of the year you save 1p, the 2nd day 2p and so on through-out the year so on the last day of the year you save £3.65 (well this year it'll be £3.66 as it's a leap year)! At the start of the year this is SO achievable who misses the odd pence? I can imagine it getting a bit harder towards the end of the year especially through-out December, but you could always cheat a little and put a few notes aside when you have them! If you continue this all year by the end of the year you'll have over £650!. Money you won't miss on a day to day basis but a considerable amount to save if you stick at it all year.
Again a simple way we like to save, I don't tend to carry too much cash on me. Especially during the week when I'm working as it's less temptation to go out at buy something for lunch. But when I do have money in my purse at the end of the day I check my purse and see what I've got left, if I have any silver I put it straight in our 'House Fund' pot and just leave the Pound Coins in my purse.
So saving for a house deposit is hard work, you have an end goal that you know will be totally worth it but you have to cut down on your spending considerably, meaning the little treats that kept you sane each month you can't really justify any more. Entering competitions is my way of treating us both without using money we could have saved! Of course with competitions you can't pick and choose exactly what you'd like, but its a great hobby to have and anything you do win is an extra bonus. I find this hobby so rewarding last year I won a number of things I could never have afforded if I hadn't have won them, I always love the buzz it gives you when you get a winning notification, it's very addictive!. Again I can imagine this been a theme you will see regularly on my blog, I like to document what I've won and I also hope to share a few tips if people are interested, so please let me know if you'd like to see that!
Of course at the start of January everyone want's to eat healthier and loose a bit of weight! I have started making a meal plan each week so we know exactly what's we're having for lunch and tea each day! Seriously organised or what!. It does take a bit of planning however I've found it worth the extra time. I make a list of what we're eating for each meal and also a shopping list then order the groceries online!. So at the start of the week we know exactly what we're eating each day and we have the exact ingredients in for each meal. I've found not only do we save money, we're not going out at lunch and buying food for while we're at work and we're not popping into the shops on the way home from work to buy tea (and the extra bits that we don't need, but always end up in the trolley), we're having healthy meals each day and also cutting down on food waste as we only have in what we need! Of course it can get a bit boring knowing exactly what you're having for each meal, but if you don't feel like something one day you have the flexibility to pick and choose!
Declutter and List on Ebay
This is a win, win. I have lots of boxes and things that are just waiting until I have time to try and sell them. I'm getting fed up of clutter so I'm just going to bite the bullet and start listing them on Ebay. Of course any money that I get is an added bonus!.
Help To Buy ISA
If you're saving for a house I'm pretty sure you will of heard about the new government Help to Buy ISA. For us it's perfect, for every £200 you save the government tops it up by £50! You can deposit up to £1,200 in the first month and every month after that you can save £200 per month. You don't have to put money into the account every month, but if you don't do it one month you can't add more the next. Which I suppose is the only down fall - however if you're moving in with a partner who is also a first time buyer you can a Help to Buy ISA each, so if you are able to save more than £200 per month this may be a way around it!. Once your ready to buy, you close the account - your solicitor will require the closing statement to then apply for the bonus from the government, if you save the maximum you can in the ISA which is £12,000 the government then adds a bonus of £3,000!. Again this may take us a while to save but it's definitely one of the best scheme I've seen to help first time buyers. Definitely worth looking into, you can open it when you're 16 so even if it's years off, if you think some time in the future you'd like to buy a house its definitely worth looking into now!..
Let me know if you're going to give any of these a go or have any Money Saving Resolutions/Tips of your own