Don't get stuck on the sidelines when it comes to saving...
Posted on July 4, 2018
There’s been a lot of talk in the news and on social media about the lack of savers/savings in the UK. With the cost of living ever increasing, it is becoming more and more difficult for people to take the plunge and start making the commitment of putting some money aside each month.
Everyone has to start somewhere and it is important not to overstretch yourself. Take a look at your budget, look at your income, all your outgoings and then see what’s left. There are lots of ‘Budget Planner’ tools available online which can help you with this exercise, such as https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner.
Are there any outgoings which you could reduce or stop?
If you find after doing this excercise that your outgoings exceed your income, you may want to visit our ‘Cost cutting & Money Saving Hints & Tips' blog: https://www.sheffieldmutual.com/cost-cutting-and-money-saving-hints-and-tips or, if you are worried about your finances, you could consult the Money Advice Service website for assistance.
If you find that you should have money left over each month but aren’t seeing it build up in your account, why is that? Do you normally end up wasting your spare cash on something that you didn’t really want/need, or has it just evaporated and you’re not quite sure where is has gone? If any of these apply to you or if you have money just sat there in your account month after month not earning any interest, it is important that you start to make some changes. By starting a savings plan, there are potentially many benefits:
- You'll be making your money work harder
- It will help you to structure your finances
- You'll possibly have access to your own little 'emergency fund'
- It will help you to stop 'wasting' money
- You can look forward to accessing to a lump sum in the future
Once you’ve figured out how much you can afford to save comfortably, you then need to find a suitable home for it. There are a lot of different options out there, the key is to find the one that’s right for you. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to help narrow down your options and find the right plan for you:
- What am I saving for?
- How much can I afford to save each month?
- Do I need flexibility with the monthly amount?
- Will I need to have access to the monies, or can I put it away for 5-10 years?
- Do I want to be able to pay in additional ad-hoc payments?
- Have I used all my tax-free allowances?
- Is there somewhere I can save which will offer me a guarantee?
- How much risk am I willing to take with my savings?
Once the savings plan/account is set up, most people tend to find that they don’t actually ‘miss’ the money, it is simply a part of their outgoings that they have budgeted for. If you find it hard to save, you may want to set up a savings plan that you can’t ‘dip into’ to help you avoid temptation.
Lots of product providers have a ‘Product Selector Tool’ (or something similar) on their website. The tools will ask you basic questions to help you narrow down your options and to help you make an informed decision on how to proceed but it is really important that you seek financial advice (which may incur a fee) if you are unsure about the suitability of a product.
This blog provides generic information and opinions of the writer and should not be relied upon for making investment decisions. If you are considering obtaining financial advice, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk or www.vouchedfor.co.uk . Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any costs beforehand. *Any reference to taxation is based on the writer’s understanding of current tax legislation and practice, which could change in the future.