Whether you’re saving for retirement, a wedding or even just a holiday, saving can be difficult. Half the time we’re fighting with the temptation to spend our hard earned cash on new clothes, tech or going out, and the other half the time we’re spending money fixing things that have gone wrong; the car, the house…
That’s exactly why I want to talk to you today about ways that you’re able to save money without actually realizing it. Sounds too good to be true, however, that really isn’t the case. Instead it’s all about putting the structure in place to let your money do the rest of the work. To ensure I try and cover as many different saving styles as possible I’ll be talking to you through; the penny a day challenge, 1% challenge and the zero based budget.
Penny A Day Challenge
The penny a day challenge is perhaps the most well known form of ‘budgeting’ out of the three methods I’ll be covering today. The idea is simple:
Day 1 you’ll save £0.01
Day 2 you’ll save £0.02
Day 3 you’ll save £0.03
Continue until a year has passed and you’ll have amassed £667.95 without really even realizing it.
If you’re starting this challenge in January consider working backwards and saving £3.65 on day 1 and so on. December can be expensive and being your most challenging month for the penny a day challenge could prove difficult.
Unlike the penny a day challenge the 1% challenge doesn’t have a pre-set amount for saving and can work for any amount. At the moment I’m using it with my nephew to help him visually see how together we can save £1,000 to go to Disneyland Paris.
For the 1% challenge you’re going to want to set an amount you’d like to save (in our case £1,000) you’re then going to want to calculate 1% of that amount (in our case that’s £10) then take a sheet of paper and make 100 boxes (or print off one of the fantastic pre-done sheets on the internet).
Take a plain jar, money box etc. and attach your sheet. Then every time you put in 1% of your total amount (in our case £10) cross a box off (or colour it in). Once you’ve crossed off all the boxes you’ve saved the amount you desired.
There’s two great benefits to the 1% challenge that make it feel as though you’re not really saving money.
First, the amount is broken down into manageable chunks. £10 seems much more achievable than £1,000.
Second, the whole process is visual. It’s great to motivate you further if you hate saving, or it’s great to help little ones understand how savings work.
Finally, there’s the zero based budget. This is a form of saving that I only heard about over the past 12 months, however, honestly. It sort of blew my mind.
The idea is simple. You take your monthly income and assign every single penny a job.
So let’s assume you make £1,500 a month after tax:
£500 goes on rent
£100 on gas and electric
£100 on council tax
£20 on TV licence
£50 on petrol
£120 on car lease
£50 on entertainment
And so on… at the end you’ve still got £560 left… Well the idea with this is that you’ll get to the end and have £0 left. So, take my last example. You might continue like this:
£160 into pension fund
£100 into holiday savings
£50 into Child A university fund
£50 into Child B university fund
£200 into general savings
After that you’ve £0.00 left. The idea here is that if you see £560 left in your account you’re going to spend it and 99% of the time it’s not going to be on the right stuff. Instead, it kind of seems to flutter away. Well by giving every penny a job you know exactly how much money you have to spend on each and every category of your life every single month.
If you get a wage rise or find that you need to spend more on a particular category you’ll simply need to adjust your amounts accordingly. Always ensuring that you’ve assigned a job to every single penny and have nothing left.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to find more information on saving money and making money feel free to check out my blog; www.TheMiniMillionaire.com
About the Author:
Cora runs the personal finance blog, the Mini Millionaire. Since 2014 she’s been writing and providing resources to help others make money, save money and writing personal finance “how-to” articles for those looking to take control over their finances.