WHILE it might seem like forever away, summer holidays are just around the corner – so it’s time to start planning for that much-deserved trip.
There’s no denying the hefty cost of even a budget getaway, but luckily savvy mum Kirsty Holden has some tips up her sleeve.
She refers to herself as The Money Saving Mum and runs a blog of the same name.
Now she shares with Fabulous some of her savvy money-saving tips which will help you bank £1,000 or more by June 2022.
One way to effortlessly put aside some extra dosh is to pop money inside a jar next to a picture frame with the aim of saving for a particular item.
Kirsty said: “Me and the kids used to have a picture frame which we used to save money. It had a picture of what the money was to be used for so when we put it in the jar we could visually see exactly what our savings were going towards.
“It really encouraged us to save more.”
Envelope saving challenge
One tip is what Kirsty refers to as the ’52 week challenge’ which has you pop £10 inside an envelope each week for the entire year.
Over 52 weeks, this will leave you with £520. Of course, you can set your own amount according to your budget, or double it over a six month period to reach the same financial goal sooner.
Another way is to grab a pack of 100 envelopes and write the numbers one to hundred on them.
Shuffle them up so the numbers aren’t in order and the idea is to pick out two a week at random.
Then you simply put the amount it says on the envelope inside it – whether it be big or small.
The envelope system
Another way envelopes can be useful is to help you manage your expenses, with Kirsty saying: “It’s a very beneficial money management tool to help you save without noticing.”
She explains: “The concept of the envelope system is simple; instead of taking your card out and not really working to a budget you draw the cash out at the start of the month and divide them up into envelopes.
“You can analyse what you have left weekly or at the end of the month but the idea is you work to what you have. You don’t overspend and you’re actually encouraged to work smarter not harder when it comes to outgoings.”
Categories you can consider using the envelope system for are your grocery shopping, fuel and car, coffees and snacks or anything else you’re often tempted by.
The envelope system works really well in conjunction with meal planning, Kirsty reckons, because planning your meals can help you plan the cost of what you spend on groceries.
“If you set yourself a budget of £50/week for food where usually you’d spend nearing £80 on things you really don’t need or you end up throwing away, and you physically can only see that amount of money in your envelope, you will be more encouraged to do what you need to do to stick to that budget,” she explains.
By doing this you might find that you’ll have more money left over each week which you can pop straight into your savings.
“By knowing what you are going to eat BEFORE going shopping every week can reduce your weekly shop rapidly. Ideally, you should be looking in your cupboards before you even go to the grocery store but more often than not people look for things they don’t have instead of looking at what they can do first with the things they have.”
Another supermarket tip is to swap out pricey brands for more affordable versions which often means you’re getting the exact same item for a fraction of the price.
“The next time you pick up something you commonly buy because of the name ask yourself do you get it for the name or do you get it for what it does and is there an alternative,” Kirsty says.
“You also tend to get multiple versions of own brands too, for example, the lower level supermarket brands. Smart Price, for example, is the cheapest Asda brand available which are perfect for your essentials; some of my favourites include pasta & spaghetti, cookies, jam, dark chocolate & rice pudding. At 28p for a jar of jam you really can’t go wrong!”
Some other examples Kirsty has found include Head and Shoulders shampoo, Sure Deodorant and Beechams Cold & Flu tablets which she reckons are the exact same as Aldi’s own brand version for each.
Bank account skimming
For best results, Kirsty says you need to do this regularly but it’s an easy way to put aside some extra cash with almost no effort.
The idea is to round up any purchases you make and put the extra into your saving account, and while it might not be much per transaction you can easily build it up.
Kirsty says: “A good starting point is when you see a transaction for £4.56, for example, you would round it up to £5 and put 44p in a separate account.
“That might not sound much but some banks can do it automatically for you and you can easily build it up.
“If you consider how many transactions go through your bank account every single month the minimum you would likely save is at the very least £5 a week.”
Kirsty also suggests looking at a bank account that offers ‘pots’.
This basically means you can introduce separate savings sections within one account.
“Gone are the days where you need to open a new [bank account] to save for a holiday because these ‘pots’ aren’t an additional bank account,” Kirsty explains.
“They are purely ’spaces’ within your existing bank account where you can virtually move x-amount every month, week, day or just as and when you want to visually see your money goal.”
Kirsty uses them for holidays, school uniforms, birthdays and nights out which help her easily manage her money.
“I have standing orders for as little as £5/month for certain things that perhaps happen once a year but over the year it adds up to what I need. £5/month doesn’t sound like much but it soon adds up, she adds.”
In other money-saving news, savvy parents reveal their nifty tricks on how to save £4K a year in childcare costs – and it’s so easy.
And this woman saved £8k in a year using simple tricks – it’s so easy and has made Christmas cheaper – here’s how you can too.