I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty good saver when it comes to money, but recently, it’s kind of dawned on me that I could (read: should) be trying to save more than I currently am. I recently was invited to join a campaign with Barclays, which involved sitting down for a totally non-judgemental one-on-one session to chat everything through, from how much I earn, to how much I think I spend (vs what I actually do!) on everything from bills to eating out, and transport, and I feel like it was a real eye-opener and has given me a bit of a motivational boost to get working on my personal kitty again.
Barclays’ new mentoring sessions —which are free and open to everyone, not just Barclays customers— are design for those of us who hate looking at our bank accounts. They say 37% of us get anxiety from even thinking about our balances, and probably only a small proportion of us actually then go on and do anything about it. I wouldn’t say I really fall into that bracket as I’m always on my banking apps seeing what has and hasn’t been paid, but I do on more occasions than I’d probably like to admit find myself wincing at it the morning after the night before. ‘I spend HOW MUCH on wine and Ubers and more wine?’
Since buying the flat just over two years ago, I feel like my attitude to money has relaxed a little bit, perhaps with a new sense of security or the fact that we hit a major milestone in terms of lifetime purchases. I’ve kind of seen it as a good thing as I’m pretty uptight with most things (mm, *all things*) in my life, so it’s actually been a good learning curve to me to be like, ‘it’s OKAY to have fun, kick yourself sometimes, and live for the moment’. I mean, I still curse and kick myself when I forget my packed lunch but y’know, that’s okay too.
But, with 30 getting nearer on the horizon and us, at some point in the next few years, probably thinking about *gulp* trying to move up the property ladder, I feel like I need to be a bit better at saving again. And what this recent one-on-one session with Barclays really taught me was what that means, most importantly is being aware and conscious of what you’re spending your money on. Even if you think you know, I’d say it’s really worth going in and checking by doing a bit of a month’s audit. We went through my bank statement and it was like, “I SPEND HOW MUCH ON TFL A MONTH?” Given I cycle most places, I was shocked! So I’m avoiding London trains for the foreseeable…
My current bank doesn’t break down my outgoings into categories but going through it manually with Luke from Barclays really made me see things a lot clearer. I feel good about some areas (clothes, bills, groceries all feel under control) but some categories definitely need work… I imagine loads of you already bank somewhere that makes things super easy and buzz everything through on your phone, but if you don’t, I’d say get on it pronto.
I feel like the Internet is awash with wacky saving tips and things you’d never actually do, but I thought I’d share some of the realistic ideas that got suggested in my mentoring session...
STICK TO THE 50-30-20 MODEL
Gotta love a tangible goal to stick to! Barclays' best advice is to try to really stick to a 50-30-20 model. That means 50% of your salary going on necessary expenditures (bills, rent, food and what not) , 30% going on stuff you want (shopping, eating out, holidays…) and 20% going straight into savings.
TRANSFER MONEY ON PAYDAY
It’s an obvious one but genuinely, there is no better way to save money than by not having it there to spend. Set up a standing order to transfer a lump sum of money out on pay day, so it’s not there to spend. You’ll forget you did it and find yourself adapting to just living with less. It’s a failsafe and will build up a good kitty over time.
USE A BANKING APP THAT CATEGORISES YOUR OUTGOINGS
Lots of you probably all do this already but by banking with someone like Barclays all of your expenditures are categorised into the likes of eating out, entertainment, transport and bills, so you can easily see on your phone where your money is going. It’s spot-on accurate so there’s no way of lying to yourself that noo, you definitely don’t spend that much on clothes per month. A real eye-opener.
TURN PAYMENT NOTIFICATIONS ON
Link your bank card to your phone and turn payment notifications on for more mindful spending. It’s so easy to tap, tap, tap with contactless, but when you get pinged a total of how much you’ve spent each day, you’re gonna be stricter with yourself. This one I think you’re either good at or really, really bad at! But getting into the habit of checking your bank statements is gonna make you a smarter saver.
Book in for a free, completely non-judgemental Barclays mentoring session here. You don’t have to be a Barclays customer, and I genuinely found it really helpful and motivating.
[This post was created in collaboration with Barclays UK and their Barclays Money Mentors® Campaign]