— This post was created in collaboration with HSBC UK and their Bank-Life Balance campaign —
In this post I’m talking money — not something I tend to talk about so much but something I’m pretty obsessed with... 30% of us adults say it’s money that causes the most anxiety in life, which makes perfect sense when it’s pretty much the cornerstone of everything we do. BUT, I am of the opinion that it is possible to save and ya know, live ya best life, so here's a little (long) post on SAVING THAT DOUGH.
Truth be told, I’ve always been obsessed with money. When I was little, I had a piggy bank that I left near the front door with the hope that visitors and relatives would donate to for my ‘pig farm fund’ (somethings do change, I really wanted to be a farmer...). I spent my weekends as an 11-year-old flicking through the Argos catalogue, picking my favourite toasters and curtains and towels, totting up how much ‘adulthood’ would cost. Then I worked at a shop every weekend from the day I turned 16. I scrimped and saved my student loan, hating seeing the money in my account diminish, then worked right through the uni holidays too earning every penny I could which then supported my year out interning in New York and Sydney.
Nowadays, thankfully, I’m a little less obsessed with money. I’m always going to be very ~aware~ of my finances but since moving to London and choosing to travel a lot more, I really do think of money as experiences: what it can buy, where it can take me, and I think that helps and makes you value it very differently. I’ve got financial security in the form of a salaried job that I love but I’ll scrimp and save where I can. On a day-to-day basis, I struggle to throw cash around (I bring packed lunches, drink the coffee at the office, and very rarely do we eat takeout…) but I freely admit the vast majority of my outgoings go on travel, on what I really love, I weirdly find it easier to spend bigger amounts on flights and hotels, than I do spending £2.70 on a flat white…
That said, I still make sure I save at least £200 each month. I transfer it on pay day so it’s not in my current account to see or spend. I think I’ll always be a hard saver, but definitely splurge on the big things I’m passionate about. Course, everyone has different attitudes to money and it definitely is worth stepping back to ask yourself a few questions and look at how and what you spend your money on. HSBC have launched a nifty online Bank-Life Balance test, in collaboration with YouGov, to help us identify our own ‘money personalities’ with a view to helping make us better savers. It’s pretty accurate too — in just a few questions it figured me out as a Sensible Sage, saying, "Being considered is very important to you, so you save up for the things that are most important to you”, which is pretty spot on!
Last year, Ed and I grouped together all of our years of savings to buy a little 2-bed flat in Peckham — with a hefty mortgage but no help from our parents. (Sadly, no I don’t have any shortcuts to saving up fast, it’s just a real case of commitment and every little bit helps…!) Course, it was our hugest achievement, but obviously, a massive chunk of cash so now we’re very much back at zero and working hard to rebuild that kitty.
I’m really not the sort of person to put my life (or travels!) on hold so it’s a case of finding the best balance of not putting every penny of my salary away but also making sure we’re still putting away at least a little bit a month. A good aim is to save 10% of your monthly earnings… That’ll stack up pretty quickly.
And with that in mind, here are my best secrets and solutions to saving cash whilst living your best life…
transfer money to savings on payday
If you can see money in your account, you’re more inclined to spend it. Every payday, I aim to transfer 10% of my pay check into my savings. *out of sight, out of mind* It’s my most effective way to save money and is the one tip I tell everyone, because it quickly adds up when it’s not there to spend…!
figure out your financial personality
Laying out the basics is always a good place to start, so it’s worth figuring out your financial personality before you put your all into saving dollar. Designed to help us have a better relationship with money, HSBC UK have worked with YouGov to launch their Bank-Life Balance test — a tool that helps us identify and understand our attitudes to money so we can all be a little bit better at saving. Take the test here.
pack a packed lunch
Ahh, lunch. A daily expense and one that quickly adds up to crazy amounts when you work in an office or are out and about. Packed lunches save you tonnes of cash, and chances are, you’re gonna end up with something that’s healthier and that you enjoy more. Sure, it’s a habit thing but once you get in the swing of it, it’s easy
avoid carrying coins (stash the change!)
I swear if I have change, I will spend it. On drinks, on coffee, on ice cream...whatever. I hold off on breaking notes for as long as possible but when I do, I stash the change in a coin jar so it’s not there to spend. It quickly adds up...
check your account regularly
I’d say I check my bank accounts pretty much every other day. I like seeing what’s going in and out, making sure there’s no funny business (I’ve got friends who’ve had their accounts hacked and hadn’t realised for weeks!), and just generally being very in tune with my money and what’s available. ‘Course, you can do everything on your phone now so it’s easier than ever. HSBC UK’s Connected Money app lets you see all of your accounts from different providers in one place, which makes it super clear to see where you’re at and where your money is going.
book flights months in advance
Aha! My secret to travelling so often. I always try and book up a few trips for the year over the Christmas break because flights are so much cheaper if you book months in advance. Sure, it takes planning ahead…but who doesn’t want a few holidays to look forward to!? Course, you don’t have to pay the whole trip then. I like to use Booking.com for accommodation because there’s free cancellation, and you don’t pay until you get there.
cycle, walk or run instead of public transport
Not one for everyone, I get that, but if you’re in a position where you can swap your public transport commute for FREE exercise, do it! It’s gonna keep you fit and healthy, it’s good for your mind, mental health and stress levels, and YEP, it’s gonna save you dollllllars.