How do you save?
Last updated: 19/10/2022 | Reading time: 4 minutes
Do you manage to put a bit of money aside every month? It’s not easy and can seem daunting, especially if you’re saving for something big, like a house deposit.
Perhaps, like many people, you’re struggling at the moment, and don’t have anything to spare. Or maybe you can’t resist spending any spare cash as soon as you have it.
But if you’re reading this, it suggests you are either already saving, or are keen to get started.
Research tells us that most people manage to save - 61% of all UK adults do so every or most months, according to research carried out by the Money & Pensions Service in 2021.
But we wanted to hear from the people of Wales directly. So we took to the streets of Carmarthen and Swansea one summer day to chat to the locals about whether they save, and how they go about it.
The answers were wide and varied, although plenty of people were doing their best to put some money aside. But what for? “Holidays, house improvements, my car and car insurance”, one saver we spoke to said. “I like travelling in a campervan. My dream would be to travel the whole coast of the UK”, said another.
Education was front-of-mind for another: “I need to save for uni, but it’s not going very well!”
And another was focused on making life easier for her kids. She said she was saving “mainly for my kids, so they don’t need a student loan and things like that. I don’t want them to have that burden in their lives.”
Saving for a child today is a fantastic gift for their future, both providing some savings to give them a head start, and teaching them valuable lessons about money along the way.
It’s a great idea to save some money for the unexpected, especially if you’re a homeowner. One saver says she puts money aside for “those expenditures you don’t really know about or can’t see coming. Sometimes I try and save for those as well. But it’s not always feasible.”
Sometimes, despite best intentions, you’re hit by an expense that gets in the way of your saving plans. When asked what hinders her saving, one person said: “Unexpected bills turning up. Or something goes wrong in the house, the boiler needs fixing.”
It’s often considered a good rule of thumb to have enough money put aside to survive for at least three months, should you lose your job, for example.
The recent rising costs have made it particularly hard to save money. “The cost of living has gone crazy”, said one individual, when asked about the challenges to saving.
Having children can be expensive too, and make it hard for some people to put money aside. As one mum who was interviewed alongside her little boy said: “Saving is quite hard when I’ve got this one to be honest. We don’t do much saving.”
Others have no intention of saving in the first place. “You can’t take it with you, so spend it while you’ve got it!” said one person we spoke to. Another was happy to “spend, spend, spend.”
For those people who were managing to save, we wanted to know if they had any tips or hacks to help others.
One person said: “As soon as pay day comes, I’ll set money aside or make sure direct debits are all paid. Whatever’s left, I can work out what I can spend.”
Another said: “We save every month, a bit from our salary. Even if you save £50 a month, in the end you’ll get quite a lot. It won’t feel like you’re saving. But keep saving, every month, whatever amount you can.”
As long as you’re saving, stick with whatever method works for you. One person said: “I get paid weekly. I use small envelopes. I label the envelopes with what I’m saving for and put money in the one I'm saving towards. I’d advise people to not spend money for a week!”
Hopefully some of these anecdotes from the streets of Carmarthen and Swansea have inspired you to have a go at saving, if you are able to.
- If you have any money left over at the end of the week or month that you don’t need for essentials, try to save it.
- Try and set aside some of your monthly income into a savings account.
- If you’re saving to buy your own home, download our Budget Planner to fill in your outgoings and see how much you can put away to save, or read our guides on saving to buy your first home.