If you have developed poor habits around money, or been one of the thousands out there who have landed yourself in debt in your early twenties, then improving your financial situation usually takes time, commitment and patience.
Whether your financial goal is to pay off credit cards, student debt, save for a big purchase such as a house or a car, or simply to put away more money for retirement, there are a number of small changes you can make to your habits and attitude around money, that will make a big difference over time.
If you’re interested to see how you can improve your finances with just five small changes, and potentially save yourself over £30k during your working life, then please read on!
5 Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Finances
CARRY A WATER BOTTLE
Carry a refillable water bottle around with you everywhere you go, to save yourself a fortune on buying bottled water and soft drinks throughout the day.
Let’s say you spend only £2 on a bottled drink every working day of your life. That’s around £500 per year! How would you like a £500 bonus at the end of the year just for quitting the bottled drinks each day?
If that’s not enough to change your mind, £500 a year on bottled drinks is £22,000 in your working lifetime! How do you fancy an additional £20k in your retirement fund just for making one simple change?
INCREASE DEBT REPAYMENT BY 1%
The average credit card debt per household in March 2019 was £2,655. Statistics say that the typical interest rate on UK credit cards in 2019 was 19.87%.
With these numbers in mind, if you have a credit card with a balance of £2,655 at a rate of 19.87%, and you pay £50 off every month, it would take you 9 years and 2 months to repay the debt, and you would have paid £2,809 in interest in that time.
If you increase your payments by just £10 a month, so you’re now paying back £60 per month, it would only take you six years and 1 month to repay the debt, and will cost you a total of £1,790 in interest.
This small change would save you £1,019 in interest and would allow you to pay off the debt 3 years and 1 month sooner than you would have if you paid back less at a time.
Additionally, if you stuck that £1,019 that you’ve saved in an investment account at 5% annual interest, you’d actually earn £164.54 back in interest in those three years.
See, small changes can make a big difference.
INCREASE INCOME BY 1%
The average income for a full time working adult in the UK was £28,677 in 2019. To increase your income by 1% would mean earning an extra £286 per year. It might not seem a lot, but for some people, that might be your annual phone bill or the cost of your TV licence.
Think about the things you could do with an extra £300 each year? Maybe treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on for a while or put it towards an annual household bill?
There are so many different ways that you can increase your income each month, check out my post on 25 Easy Ways to Earn an Extra £1000 Every Month in 2019.
INCREASE SAVINGS CONTRIBUTIONS BY 10%
Saving money in any amount is something to be hugely proud of! Although, if you were to increase the amount of money by 10% each month, the difference this could make over time might surprise you!
Let’s say that you are currently putting £200 each month into savings – if you were to increase by 10%, you would then change that amount to £220 each month into your savings account.
£20 a month might go unnoticed for a lot of people, however, the impact of putting that money into savings could be massive for your future.
£20 a month is £240 over the space of a year – a reasonable amount but perhaps not groundbreaking.
However, if you invested that money at a return of 3% you would have a total of £2,801.82 saved after ten years, with just over £400 of that being interest earned. If you doubled the term to 20 years, then the total amount saved would be £6,582.46 with almost £1,800 of that comprising of the interest you’d have earned.
£20 a month sounds much more significant now, right?
CANCEL UNUSED SUBSCRIPTIONS
Unused subscriptions are a really common way that a tonne of people throw money away.
At the beginning of the year, I went through an exercise of cancelling any subscriptions that myself and my boyfriend Tom were not using – here’s a rundown of what got axed:
- Apple Music: we got this for free via our phone contract: £9.99 per month each
- Cineworld Unlimited (cinema subscription card): wasn’t being used, £17.90 per month each
- 2nd Amazon Prime account: I’d signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel and we already have an account in Tom’s name, £7.99 per month
- NOW TV Entertainment & Cinema Passes: weren’t being used; £11.99 & £7.99 per month
- Colouring game app which I can’t remember the name of: I signed up for a free trial, never used the app and then forgot to cancel £12.95 per month.
From taking the time to go through my bank statement, I managed to cut my expenses by over £1,000 a year. That’s a pretty tidy sum that I am now able to put towards my savings instead.
Take some time one day when you aren’t going to get distracted and look for anything that you’re paying for every month that you are not using at all, or you do not feel that the money you pay adds enough value to your life for you to justify it.
To Finish Off…
I really hope that you enjoyed this post, and these points opened your eyes to the fact that small changes really do make a huge difference.
As my mum says, “if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves”.
I would love to hear from you if you have any other tips and tricks that you use to save money for your family. If there is anything you would like to share then please leave a comment below and I would love to feature any new ideas in a future blog post.