Debt is a common problem in the UK affecting people from every background.
Debt can often come with a feeling of lack of control like you simply can’t get on top of the payments you’re expected to make. If you are barely making ends meet as it is, the idea of saving money to pay back debt can feel unachievable. However, there are some simple money saving solutions which can help you to take back control. Each of the ideas here can be adjusted based on your budget, but you could find that they give you a much more realistic way of bringing balance back to your finances.
Alternatively you can try a debt consolidation loan to help you out in the long run. It might seem strange to borrow money and essentially add more to your debt, but these loans are designed to help pay off your debt in a lump sum so you can pay back in more manageable monthly repayments.
Attempt a Saving ‘Challenge’
There are saving challenges which, if maintained over a year, can really add up to a significant amount. For example, if you save £1 on a Sunday, £2 on a Tuesday and £3 on a Thursday before resetting the pattern on the following Sunday, by the end of a year you could save a considerable amount of money, without even thinking about it.
For more restricted budgets, there are alternatives such as the 1p Saving Challenge. You start by saving just 1p on day 1, 2p on day 2 and 3p on day 3 and so on, until on the 365th day you put aside £3.65. At the end of a year, you will have saved £667.95. This amount of money could go a long way to clearing a credit card balance or other debt problems you’re facing.
If you’re trying to clear debt but feeling overwhelmed this 3 step guide to solving your debt issues from expert Jon Monk is certainly worth considering.
Get a Piggy Bank
Although it can sound childish to some, a piggy bank or any physical savings jar is a great way to keep a track on how much you’re saving and can really hammer home the value of loose change. Consider containers which can only ever be broken once, so you aren’t tempted to dip in an out. You might also want to set yourself some rules such as any change in the purse below £1 goes into the savings.
Only Use Cash
Debit cards are great for convenience, but they can make it easy to forget that we’re spending real money when all we need to do is swipe it over a machine to buy things. Aside from your bills, try giving yourself a limited amount of physical cash each day to help you stay below budget. It also means you can aim to have some spare change at the end of the day for that piggy bank!
Try Cashback or Voucher Websites
If you do prefer to buy online, you may want to look at cashback apps and websites which will reward you for spending money with certain retailers. Before you go to buy something online, go to the cashback app or website and search for the retailer. You may be given a link to follow which will take you to the same retailer, but you’ll get money off the price or cash back based on how much you’ve spent.
Join Reward Schemes
Reward schemes with supermarkets or other retailers you use regularly will reward you with points for your purchases. Over time, these points will add up to real credit you can use in the store. These schemes are a great way to save without even noticing it as eventually, you’ll find you’ll have enough to buy a whole week of shopping or to cover big expenses like birthdays or Christmas without dipping into the savings.
Enforce ‘No spending’ Days
It might be worth assigning one day a week which you can realistically avoid spending any money. Maybe it’s a Sunday when can try and make tea from whatever is left over from the weekly shop, rather than getting a takeaway. Or you can try walking rather than using the car or the bus. You can try these ‘No spending’ days as often as works for you, but just the effort is often enough to make us realise how much unnecessary money we spend without thinking.
Round down your bank account
When you check your bank account, try rounding down the balance to the nearest £1 or £10 and send the rest to savings. We often think of our bank balances in multiples of £10 anyway as we usually can’t withdraw cash in any smaller amounts, so why not put the extra to good use?