Monday, 1 June 2020

How We've Built Up Our Savings Quickly & Easily

For the vast majority of my life, I've been somewhat chaotic in my approach to finances.

I've always held a firm belief that money is difficult to come by, and that it's gone as quickly as it arrives - something which I thought was simply a fact of life for me until I started to read more about the Law Of Attraction and discovered the concept of money blocks.

The Law Of Attraction teaches us that money blocks are negative thought patterns and beliefs that many people hold about money - things such as "Money doesn't grow on trees" and "Money is the root of all evil". As I worked more on uncovering my own money blocks and limiting beliefs around money, I realised that I held very firm beliefs that money was simply not something that would ever come to easily to me or something that I would ever have "enough" of - and the more I read into it, the more I believed that the key to changing my relationship and experiences with money could be to change the way I think about it. So that's what I set about doing.

I set myself a challenge to change the way I thought of and dealt with my finances, with the intention of seeing if I could manage to go from having zero savings and living pay cheque to pay cheque as I had always done - to having money in the bank and feeling that money was not something I struggled to keep hold of.

It's now been a year since I started this experiment, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results - I've gone from struggling to scrape through each month and eagerly waiting on my next invoice being paid, to finishing each month with plenty of money left over and a very healthy savings account building up.

But the power of the law of attraction doesn't lie purely in journalling and asking the universe to grant your desires - that's just a tiny part of it. It's all about learning how to put the ACTION into the Law of Attraction, and that's what I want to share with you today.

I made some very simple changes to the way I handle our finances in order to get the most out of our money, and I have been so thrilled with the results.

So here's what I did:

Switched Service Providers

This was the very first change I made, as it was the most straight forward one to do - it required the least amount of effort and action from me while offering me the biggest immediate reward.

I decided to see where and how I could save money on our monthly outgoings.

To start with, I used an energy comparison site to see where I could make savings on our energy provider bills.  Utility Saving Expert was such an easy site to use and within minutes I had a list of energy providers who could save me money - changing suppliers was very straight forward and I managed to save us £110 per year on our bills.

I then did the same thing for all of our monthly outgoings - we compared the price we were paying for our internet, TV packages, mobile phones, and insurance packages.

The biggest saving came from realising that we were out of the contract period for one of our mobiles - we could have upgraded and entered into a new contract but my other half barely uses his phone and so didn't see the point. Instead we ended the contract and switched to a SIM only one. This saved us £45 per month.

All of our savings combined came to £87 per month, which I was very happy with.

Started Meal Planning & Switched To Fortnightly Shopping

I've always been a fan of an organised approach to family living, and for me meal planning has been a fantastic way to ensure that all of the food we buy gets used without ever going to waste as well as ensuring we eat a balanced diet. It also helps me to plan my days, as I know what sort of meal prep time I need to factor in.

Although I have always meal planned for dinners, I had always winged it when it came to breakfast and lunches - so I started to meal plan these too.

As well as meal planning, I also switched from a weekly food shop to a fortnightly one. This means that I can take advantage of more bulk purchase offers, and enables me to save more money.

The combination of meal planning and fortnightly shopping has reduced our monthly food budget by
around £50 per month.

Started Using Automated Savings Apps

I had heard of automatic savings apps for a while but had been reluctant to give them a go, but I stumbled across a friend talking about the Plum app recently and decided to give it a try for myself.

You can set the app to save more or less money depending on how flush you're feeling on any given week and can change the settings as often as you like - you can also withdraw your savings whenever you want to.

The app squirrels away small amounts of money regularly from your current account into your Plum account - the amounts are so small that I don't even miss them but they soon add up over time.

I also have the app set to round up any purchases I make to the nearest pound, and save the difference in my Plum account.

I've only been using Plum for 3 months, but have already saved £150! I'm so excited to see how much I save over the course of a year.

If you'd like to try Plum yourself, you can use my referral link HERE

Sold Unwanted Items Online

I have to admit that selling sites like eBay and Depop are just not my kind of thing, although I know that some people swear by them - for me the hassle of listing the items and the commission taken just isn't worthwhile.

But for the past few months, I've made a conscious effort to declutter regularly and often come across items that are in perfect condition  but which I simply no longer have a use for. When this happens, I've been making sure to list them on local Facebook selling groups .

I have also been using the Music Magpie website to offload our unwanted old CDs, DVDs and Books - they don't pay a huge amount but it does soon add up when you have a fair bit to sell.

All of this combined has resulted in around an extra £60 per month on average - again this may not seem like a huge amount but it certainly adds up in a savings account!

Started Using Cash For Purchases

Although this isn't something I've been able to do lately since Covid-19 (as obviously contactless payments are better), before the virus struck I had managed to break my habit of always paying for everything by debit card.

Previously I never carried any cash and I found that I spend more carelessly when paying by card as it doesn't feel like "real" money that I'm spending. By using cash, I find myself being much more sensible and making fewer impulse purchases.

My rule when buying anything in stores now is to go away and think about it before withdrawing the cash I need to pay for it - this gives me time to think about whether or not its something I really want, and often I find that once I've walked away - the initial thrill is lost and I realise I don't actually really want the item at all.

Planned Budgets & Stuck To Them

For the last year, I've planned out careful monthly budgets for groceries, petrol and leisure (which covers family days out and treats for the kids).

I keep the money in labelled envelopes, and take out what we need for each week as it begins. Before doing this, we would simply fill the car up with petrol as and when we needed to - this would add up very quickly, but now that we stick to a weekly budget we are definitely spending less.

Doing this has allowed us to save about £40 per month.

Although none of these changes are huge enough to have impacted the quality of our daily life or really be at all noticeable, they have resulted in savings of around £250 per month - which, when put into a savings account, really does add up very fast!

I'm so pleased with how taking these actions has completely made over our finances, and turned things around for us so dramatically. I only wish I'd made them sooner!

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