Savvy ways to save without noticing

Smart tweaks to your everyday financial habits could help boost your savings

Whatever you like to call it – a rainy day fund, your emergency reserve, secret stash or piggy bank to name a few – your savings account can always do with a top up. But it can be tricky to find ways to put extra aside when there’s so much competition for your cash.

Good intentions can quickly go up in smoke when you’ve a weekend break to book, birthday presents to buy or car repairs to cover.
So we’ve put together five wily ways to help set yourself up for success – they’ll help you build your savings without really noticing.

Some of the tricks you can do once and then forget about. Others you can turn into an unthinking habit, one you won’t want to kick!

1. Turn saving into a monthly ‘bill’ you pay

When your salary lands, a big bite of it is usually taken by bills – for rent (or a mortgage), student loan repayments, broadband, credit card etc. Saving can struggle to get a look in.

So why not think instead of saving cash as a bill that must be paid every payday? Consider setting up a direct debit at a sum you can afford - £20, say – to go into a linked savings account on the same day you’re paid. After a year, that’s £240 saved without you noticing.

2. Pay rise? Congrats! Now put part of it out of sight

This is a slight twist on our first tip but similarly aims to boost your savings with a one-off action you can then forget about.
Whenever you get a pay rise, resolve to put a portion of it into a savings account.

Wait until you see how much your first new pay slip gives you, then set up a new direct debit for the amount you’re happy to hive off.
Because you never give yourself the chance to appreciate all the extra cash in your bank account, you won’t feel you’ve missed out on the money you’re sneakily saving.

Imagine an extra £200 a month thanks to a well-deserved raise – divert £50 straightaway and you’ll save £600 a year.

3. Take out a tenner less at the ATM

This canny trick could help protect your bank balance – and instil greater savings self-discipline to boot.

Try turning that fifty quid for a Friday night out into £40 or the £30 to buy a birthday gift into £20. It’ll take some getting used to but – done regularly - can convince you to come up with creative ways to spend less.

4. Pile your pennies up into pounds

At the end of every day, try transferring the pennies on your current account balance into a linked savings account. You can do this in a matter of seconds with a banking app.

You could round down whatever is in there e.g. £58.87 rounded down to £58 and switch the difference into a savings account - the pennies should soon add up. Even as little as 30p a day can add up to more than £100 a year.

5. The vanishing £2 coin trick
The £2 is the least common coin in circulation, so give it a special status for your savings.
Every time you get one in change, switch it from your wallet or purse into an old-fashioned jar at home. You may need to resist the temptation to dip into it – a stack of these chunky coins can look particularly tempting. Only empty it out when full or at the end of the year.

…and a note on when saving probably won’t be worth it…

If you’re trying to save each month but also regularly run up debts on a credit card or overdraft, you may be financially better off if you use that money to pay down the debt instead.

This is because – in most circumstances - the debt cost is usually much higher than the savings interest. For example, imagine you’ve £1,000 card debt at 18% (costing you £180/yr in interest) and £1,000 savings at 1% (earning you £10). If you were to manage to pay off the debt with your savings, you’d be £170 better off.

If your finances are under pressure and you’re struggling to pay the bills, we’ve info and suggestions to help. Money worries can also cause problems with mental health, and our guide can help those concerned about its effects.

This article isn’t providing financial advice – if you need help getting your overall household finances in shape, it could help to get in touch with an expert. The Financial Conduct Authority provides tips on how to find a qualified independent financial adviser. At certain times throughout this article you may be linked to websites owned and operated by other organisations and will be subject to their terms and conditions.