As you can see by the title, I’m a girl on a mission. By 31st December 2017, I’ll have saved £10k in 12 months. No seriously – if I want something to happen, I’ll do everything I can to achieve it. So I’m not putting it across like it’s an option, kind of more of a statement. Honestly! (takes deep breath…)
So as it turns out, when I have discussed my goals and aims with others, a lot of you are doing something similar. The majority not to the 10k extent mind, but something along those lines. The reason for such a big goal is that I’d love to buy a new house in 2018 with my boyfriend, and because I live in Manchester and he lives in Stoke, we’d ideally want to look at the middle ground – which is Cheshire. And yes, Cheshire has a hefty price tag.
So realistically, how am I going to save 10k in 12 months? I’m not on a ridiculous salary, and I have all the usual outgoings. Here’s my plan…
1. Strip everything back
First of all, I won’t be fooling myself into thinking I need something new. I never need something new, I just always want something new. When it’s a close friend’s wedding, I’ll tell myself I need a new dress. But what’s wrong with the other 25 occasion dresses hanging in my wardrobe? In fact, why do I have 25? Half of them should go on ebay, and even if they sold for £5 each, that’s an extra £60 in my savings for dresses I never wear.
Instead of telling myself a lie that I ‘need’ something, I’ll be asking myself if it is something that would just ‘be nice to have’. And in that case, I don’t do it.
2. Cut out excess
Everyone differs here with what they class as an excess. For me, it’s that £2.10 soya latte I get from the café at work on a daily basis. It’s the random craving for a sweet treat when I pop into a store to do a weekly food shop. It’s that expensive cocktail on a drinks menu when I go out for dinner with friends.
Since January, I’ve been totally holding back. There are certain essentials I can never cut back on, like fuel in my car to get to work, basic food shops and my general outgoings (mortgage etc), but those extra add-ons can be avoided. Last year, a daily takeout coffee was an essential, but in 2017, it’s a treat if I buy one once a week. And this is how I’ll continue making cuts throughout the 12 months. The little amends make all the difference!
3. Be a savvy shopper
As a lot of my work involves being online, I tend to shop this way too. So when doing this, I’m making a conscious effort to get more out of my shopping online. For example, did you know there are ways to bag more freebies and added extras? Or gain free samples or trials? I came across FreebieList.com last month, and have been taking advantage of numerous offers when spending time online. Just things like entering competitions to win items, free trials on things like online courses, general freebies like perfume samples and quotes, and most recently, a free Tastecard for 30 days (which gives incredible food discounts!).
4. Set up automatic bank transfers
So this one works wonders for me because I have an online savings account I literally can’t withdraw from, but can add into. Each month, a day after pay day, I set up an automated £300 to go across into my online savings account. The good thing about it going out a day after is that I see my full monthly wage appear, so I get that satisfaction of earning money. And then I don’t need to check my account until mid-way through the month, in which the savings have gone across and moved on from my mind. Although £300 isn’t a great deal, I top it up throughout the month with extra savings, but £300 is a great place to start. It’s £300 that I used to spend before just because it was there, so again, it’s a positive step.
5. Invest in happiness
When I eventually make the £10,000 target in 12 months by practicing the tips above (and by just being a lot tighter in person), it will be the time to make the most substantial purchases that are truly worth it. They’ll quality, value and happiness to my life, and also, I’ll be exceptionally proud. Being tighter with money and saving a lot of your earnings does not mean that you have to make insane sacrifices, like living like a pauper, or even giving up on your dreams. It just means that you should spend responsibly and spend when it leads to long-term happiness instead of instant gratification. Some things just give you a 24 hour smile, but those goals – like a Cheshire house – give you a lifetime of laughter.