by Liberty Stembridge, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 27th November, 2018
It is surprisingly difficult to save money - no matter how good you think you'll be, there's always something that comes along to trip you up. When that does happen, you need to get back on track quickly with these tips and tricks to get you replenishing your dwindling savings as soon as possible.
Chances are that you've got some old junk in your house that hasn't been touched in months and is practically begging to be sold for a bit of extra cash. Lots of people have found this to be an effective way of rustling up a bit of extra money, but many of them spend it immediately on new clothes or nights out, rather than saving it because oftentimes, it can seem too little to save. Nothing is ever too little to save. Even if you only sell something for a fraction of the amount you bought it for, you can still put that money away in saving and slowly, bit by bit, everything adds up.
Try to envisage your savings as an underground bunker - you've locked them in there and thrown away the key. They aren't to be touched unless under two very specific circumstances: 1) there is an emergency and you need the money (a real emergency such as a broken car, getting fired and so on) or 2) you are paying for the specific goal that you set out to reach when you started saving (for example: paying off debt, paying for a holiday, paying for a deposit on a house).
Minimalism is essentially the practice of prioritising that which we value and disposing of that which is unnecessary. What is "valuable" to each person will vary, but ultimately you should be aiming to save money by cutting down on unnecessary expenses that aren't truly valuable to you. Start asking yourself whether you really need what you are spending money on. Do you need to spend extra money for a bigger apartment, or could you downsize? Do you need to upgrade your phone every time a new one comes out, or could you just stick with the same one? Do you need to have a TV, or could you just use your laptop? Do you need to update your wardrobe, or could you just wear the same clothes? Keep going until you've eliminated everything that is not truly essential and valuable to you. Take the extra money you create from canceling bills and postponing purchases and put it straight back into your savings account.
Very few of us actually know how to budget effectively - we all like to think we do, but we actually really don't. A common budgeting technique that works for many is to use the 50:30:20 rule. 50% of your monthly income goes towards basic life necessities such as rent, bills and food, 30% goes towards your wants, such as new clothes or nights out, and the remaining 20% goes towards your savings.