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10 Good Money Habits To Help You Save A Little Every Day In 2020

Image by: Annie Spratt

From electronic envelope budgeting to the 50/30/20 method, add these ten good money habits to your everyday routine to help you save in 2020.

Let’s be honest, talking about money matters isn’t particularly fun. Frankly, it can sometimes be pretty boring, but in the spirit of 2020, it’s prime time to rethink our money habits. After all, at the risk of falling into a major cliché, a new year - and new decade at that - calls for a healthier relationship to the good stuff, whether that be saving up for a mortgage or big holiday, curbing impulsive buying, setting money aside for a rainy day or keeping on top of what kind of places you shop.

Now, don’t go thinking that these habits will have you double dunking your tea bags and eating only beans on toast in 2020. Rather these are simple and easy little lifestyle changes to help you save money on a daily basis and keep yourself accountable for any spending that you do. Start adapting them into your everyday routine now - by spring you won’t have noticed any difference day-to-day, but your bank account sure will have. Future you enjoying that holiday or finding the perfect home will thank us.

1. Automate your savings

First things first, all these money saving strategies will be for nought if you don’t take saving seriously. So, to start, it’s key to automate your savings - whether that be with a direct debit to a savings account or with a savings app like Monzo, Plum, Squirrel or Chip - every month. First, work out your income post-tax, take away any necessary payments (rent, bills, transport, groceries etc) and then work out from what you can save from what you have left; we love the 50/30/20 method for working this out. By automating this saving you cut down any risk of eating into your savable income.

Find out more about the 50/30/20 method here

2. Try an electronic envelope system to budget

Electronic envelope budgeting is simply a modern take on a tried and tested form of saving. Essentially it is structured budgeting - different accounts for different purposes are set up and standing order transfers are created to each one every month. This is made a lot easier thanks to technology such as Monzo’s pots, Squirrel splitting up your bills, goals and weekly allowance, and Chip automatically storing money away for you.

Interested in electronic envelope budgeting?
Image by: @monzo

3. Put money away everyday

We’re loving Apartment Therapy’s 365-day money challenge for its simplicity and, of course, the fact that it saves you £1456 by the end of the year. All you need to do is set aside £1 a day, working your way up as the week progresses - so, £1 on Sunday, £2 on Monday and so on until you save £7 on Saturday, then you start again on Sunday. In total you’ll save £28 per week and £112 a month. It may seem like £28 a week is a lot, but if you buy a coffee each day including the weekends at £3 each, that’s £21 you’re already spending.

More information on the 365-day challenge here

4. Cut down on buying coffee

On that note, if you’re serious about saving, it’s time to reconsider how much buying coffee out is costing you. Financial author David Bach coined the term ‘the latte calculator’ to address the high cost small item products such as coffees can have - it is a significant amount when you consider just how many coffees you buy, whether that be on the way to work, out for a quick catch up with friends or for out-of-office meetings. A great way to save money each day is to get into the habit of making coffee at home, it’s a habit that will also help the environment (less single use plastic!) and possibly your health (less caffeine). All you need is a french press, keep cup or travel mug and your coffee of choice.

Is your caffeine addiction costing you?
Image by: Nathan Dumlow

5. Take your own lunch to work

This is another piece of ‘sounds obvious’ advice, but just as with your coffee drinking, buying lunch out is an expensive habit. Sure, the last thing you want to do in the evenings is spend more time cooking, but a little time, effort and planning on the weekend can save you a hefty chunk of cash. Simply take some inspiration from easy, doable make-ahead recipes, plan your food shop, and spend an hour or two meal prepping for the week ahead. You’ll end up with healthy recipes that won’t break the bank and are surely a lot tastier than a Boots meal deal.

Need meal plan ideas? Click here

6. Use more cash

This may seem like a strange suggestion to find in a ‘how to save money’ article, but it is a proven saving hack. The ease and efficiency of contactless payments may make life less complicated, but it can also lead to superfluous buying without thought. The very act of taking time to count out cash and the ability to see it dwindle as time goes on will help you think twice about what you’re buying and whether you really need it. 

One way to go cash-first is to give yourself a set amount to use each week. Be strict with yourself - don’t stray over the mark or else you’ll be tempted to take out more than planned. If it helps, you can budget a certain amount for each type of purchase - groceries, eating out and socialising, clothes shopping - for a period and put those amounts in cash in pots. Seeing these amounts physically can help inspire you to stretch your budgets further.

More tips to go cash-first here
Image by: Colin Watts

7. Plan your food shop and bulk buy

If you often find yourself just buying a ‘few bits’ for that evening at your local Tesco Express or mini Sainsburys on the walk home from work, you’re in fact spending more than you should on food. In fact, these mini supermarkets ramp up the prices because they are convenience stores. Instead of small, regular shops, to save money, search out your nearest big supermarket and make less regular trips. If this isn’t possible, ordering a food delivery can sometimes be the cheapest option despite the delivery cost, especially if you buy in bulk (like for bags of rice and pasta or tins of chopped tomatoes and beans) or split the delivery with your housemate/s. Take time each weekend to plan your meals beforehand - try to plan meals that use similar ingredients and which will leave the least leftovers - and try to avoid shopping for little additions that build up costs. Where possible, seek out affordable supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl who are proven save money on everyday items but regularly come out on top in blind taste tests.

Why are convenience stores more expensive?

8. Practice conscious shopping

Realistically, you’re never going to stop shopping, no matter how much you want to save money. As such, conscious shopping may be your best bet. Developed to also reduce our consumption and its environmental effect, conscious shopping includes taking time to really consider purchases, rather than mindlessly buying. So, next time ASOS have a sale on, instead of jumping straight on your app, take a step back; go through your wardrobe, make a list of what you really need rather than what you want, and only buy if you’re still thinking about the item a day or two later. Likewise, if you can see yourself wearing the clothes 30 times or more rather than just on an odd night out then it’s a safe investment thanks to it’s cost per wear.

Another great way to shop consciously is to envision the cost of clothing as work rather than money. Ask yourself whilst shopping, is this dress really worth three hours at work? Do you need those new trainers if they amount to an extra afternoon in the office? It’s sure to stop you from buying pieces that you don’t really need.

Click here for more on conscious shopping
Image by: Ella Olsson

9. Leave your purse or wallet at home

Sometimes the best way to minimise spending is to completely cut out any possibilities of it happening. Some savers claim that leaving their purses or wallets at home helps reduce unnecessary purchases, such as on snacks that don’t really need or a bus fare when they are too lazy to walk.

How to make parting from your wallet easier

10. Transfer money left in your account before payday

If you find yourself with some money left in your current account at the end of the month, transfer it over to your savings account before payday. This is a great way to see how much of your allowed spending budget you can save and though it doesn’t feel like it now, the deposit in your savings is a nice treat to yourself as it goes toward that holiday or deposit.

Click for the ultimate guide to savings accounts
Image by: Michael Longmire