Why Saving Money is the Best Habit You Can Develop

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Ask any financial expert and they’ll tell you that the one financial habit that always works like a charm is saving money. If you know how to save consistently, you’re on track to financial success. Most, if not all, multi-millionaires have mastered the art of saving. So if you want to follow in their footsteps, it’s time, no matter your age or financial circumstance, to start saving today.

Still need more convincing that saving is probably the best habit you can develop? Here are some reasons why:

Saving is the road to financial independence

Whether you like it or not, saving money is imperative to financial freedom. In fact, saving money is where you need to start in order to build a strong foundation for your finances. If you haven’t started on this one important goal yet, it’s time to do now.

Start by saving for an emergency fund which should be at least 3 months’ worth of your expenses. When done, invest your money on investment options that offer high interest returns.

Saving secures your future

Another reason saving matters is so youcan secure your future. You need to save for retirement as early as you can if you want to keep the same lifestyle as what you’re living now. The sooner you start saving, the better your chances to secure your finances right after you stop working.

Saving for retirement is also like letting money work for you double time. The more you save, the higher the interest you earn through the years.

Saving helps you get out of debt

If you want to get out of debt, you’d want to start saving money first. You need to have that emergency fund handy for emergencies. Otherwise, you’ll only end up in more debt. You’ll only keep using you credit cards for emergencies unless you have savings allotted especially for unexpected expenses. Once you have sufficient cash stashed away, that’s when you can start strategizing the getting out of debt plan.

Saving buys you a home

If you want to buy your first home, you will need sufficient savings for your down payment. This is another important reason why saving really is the best financial habit to master. Unless you have sufficient savings on hand, the bank will never lend you money so you can buy your first home. In general, you need to save at least 5% of the home’s purchase price so your bank can lend you the rest of the money to complete the transaction.

Saving buys you a car

If you’re also planning to buy a new car, the same thing applies as with buying a home. You need sufficient savings for the down payment so the bank can shoulder the rest. Without any money saved, you’ll have no other choice but purchase the car with cash. But then again, since you don’t have any savings, how can you possibly afford to pay in cash?

Saving affords you the luxury of a vacation

Do you want that weekend getaway to a tropical island? Then you should start saving now. Saving money is not all serious and hard work. Once you’re free of debt and has enough savings for emergencies, you can set aside some of your money for fun. After all the hard work, you’ve definitely earned to have a little or make that a lot of fun.

What are the top savings accounts available in the UK?

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Saving is good as it not only secures your life financially in case of emergencies but your money also earns some returns albeit minimal. With inflation on the rise, however, you’ll need to be extra careful when choosing where to stash your money. Otherwise, you may end up losing money unless you beat inflation.

If you’re looking for the best savings accounts to beat inflation in the UK, below are some options you can take a closer look:

Santander Current Accounts

With Santander, you can earn up to 3% in interest if you have between £3,000 and £20,000 in your account. Other than the generous interest rate, the accounts also offer up to 3% cashback on household bills. You can also earn cashback on mobile, TV, internet, energy and even water bills. When used right, a Santander checking account can result in more or less £550 a year in interest.

TSB Classic Plus

Another checking account that offers generous interest rate is TSB Classic Plus where you can earn 5% interest for savings of £2,000 or less. Even better, you don’t need to switch accounts or open a direct debit account in order to open a TSB Classic Plus. You’ll just need to make sure not to exceed the £2,000 amount so you get to enjoy the 5% interest.

BM Savings

If you’d rather opt for an easy access account rather than a checking accounts. BM Savings is a good option to consider. With BM Savings, you can earn up to 1.5% AER while still enjoying unlimited withdrawals. Just make sure not to let your savings drop below the £1,000 mark or else your interest also drops. Also keep in mind that this kind of account can only be opened online.

Tesco Bank

If you don’t have a lot to save, you can stick with Tesco Bank which offers a relatively lower interest rate but is perfect for those who don’t have the £1,000 minimum most accounts require. With Tesco Bank, you only need £1 to open the account and you get to earn 1.35% AER while also enjoying unlimited withdrawals free of any penalties.Add to that the 0.6% bonus you earn on top of the interest rate for 12 months.

The 3-Step Process to Saving for an Emergency Fund

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If you’re like most people, financial freedom is probably one of your life goals. Who doesn’t want to be free of any financial burden after all? Unfortunately, financial freedom is one tough goal to achieve. If it’s easy, you shouldn’t be in debt but living the good life. The fact that it doesn’t just happen and requires hard work is why working towards financial freedom is worth it in the end.

But where do you start? Some would say to pay off your debt first. Others would recommend investing. I, on one hand, would say save first. Save for an emergency fund to be exact.

Without an emergency fund, you’re only bound to get into more debt. Without an emergency fund, you may end up withdrawing from your investments to take care of emergencies. In the end, you may be in a worse financial situation than before.

Whether you like it or not, an emergency fund is the money saving habit that is imperative to your financial success. Below is a simple guide to starting an emergency fund as soon as you can.

What is an emergency fund?

Before we go to the itty gritty bits of building an emergency fund, let’s first understand what it is exactly. As you’ve probably gleaned from the name, an emergency fund is a type of fund allotted especially for emergencies.

You stash away money so you have something to use in case of emergencies. An emergency fund, therefore, is different from regular savings. It is not to be used as down payment for a new car and other such investments. It is to be set aside so it’s easily accessible in case you lose your job or you’re faced with a major medical expense.

How to start an emergency fund?

If you’re ready to start your journey towards saving for an emergency fund successfully, below are three steps that will keep you on track:

  1. Set a target

Like with any type of goals, you need a target and you need to be as specific as you can if you want to get it right. In general, emergency funds should equal at least 3 months’ worth of your expenses. You can certainly aim for more but 3 months is the rule of thumb. In case you lose your job, 3 months should be enough time to enable you to get back on your feet financially.

To set your target, start by listing down all your expenses. By all, it means all. Don’t miss anything from rent or mortgage to utility bills, clothing expenses and etc. Total your expenses then multiply by three and you’ve got your emergency fund target.

  1. Start modestly

If you’re already setting aside a percentage of your income to a regular savings account, it may be difficult to start another account. This is why when saving for an emergency fund you need to start small if you must. Start at a percentage you can comfortably manage and go from there. Some people, for example, start at 5% then they gradually increase the amount over time.

  1. Automate savings

If you want to make it even easier to save for an emergency fund, you need to automate the process. Set up another account where you transfer a specific percentage of your income first thing to get the matter out of the way. As what experts say, you won’t look for money you do not see. By automating your emergency fund savings, it will be way easier to reach the 3-month target. In no time at all, you’ll be all set even if an emergency strikes.

How to Reduce Your Grocery Bill Half in 7 Steps

plan-to-reduce-grocery-billSaving money is not rocket science but many people continue to struggle to make the habit a part of their lifestyle. Why? It’s probably because we’ve been wired to spend, spend and spend. There’s satisfaction that comes with spending that we’d rather do it instead of saving.

As a way to make saving more attractive, we start with the basic. By cutting your grocery bill, you can set aside the extra money and start a savings account. Stick with it and you’ll see saving money much more satisfying in the end.

So to start, here are 7 easy hacks to cut your grocery bill in as much as 50%:

Set a budget

First things first, you need to set your budget for groceries. Some experts recommend to allot between 5 and 15% of your income for food that already includes groceries and dining out. When you do set a budget, make sure to stick with it or spend less than said budget to have extra money for savings.

Make a list

You’ve probably made a grocery list before but never stuck with it. You’re not alone. Many others are committing the same blunder time after time. But you can change things up by still making a list but this time doing it as thoroughly as you can. When you make a list, details are the key. This means you need to do the next step to make a good list.

Plan your meals

One of the best ways to save on your grocery bill is to eliminate unnecessary purchases. You can only do that if you plan your meals every week. It may like a hassle at first but doing so actually saves you not only money but also time in the end. If you’re not the type who regularly cooks, you can cook in batches. Keep it in the fridge or the freezer and just heat the food up when it’s time to eat.

Eat at home

You’d also want to cut down on eating out. If you tend to eat out most days within the week, you’re doing it all wrong. While eating out is certainly more convenient, it’s not only costly but it’s also not as healthy. If you want to save and stay healthy, eat at home more. You can still eat out from time to time but keep it to a minimum. One a week or twice a month should be good enough.

Use coupons

When it comes to saving on groceries, coupons may be old fashion but they do the job. Coupons, in fact, have also evolved along with technology. You no longer have to collect and carry paper coupons when shopping. Now you can download the right app, collect your coupons virtually and use them as needed.

Use cash

If you’re used to using your credit card when grocery shopping, it’s time to change things up. Paying with cash, while again may be old-fashion, is the best way to stick to your budget. Bring only your list and enough cash when shopping and sticking to your budget is going to be a breeze.

Shop elsewhere

You’d also want to start shopping elsewhere. If you’re used to shopping in one store for everything, it’s possible that you may be missing an opportunity to save more money. Rather than sticking with a comfortable routine, try the other two stores near your place. You may find out one is better for meat and produce and another store perfect for everything else.

Smart Guide to Protecting Your Cash

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Just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about. Banks, after call, can still collapse no matter how steady the economy may seem today. Rather than wait for your bank to head this way, it’s best to take precautionary measures starting with the facts.

What You Need to Know

There are a few things you need to know and keep in mind when saving money through a bank. One is the fact that not all UK savings are regulated meaning protection for your money can be tricky and thus requires a bit of research on your part.

For UK regulated banks, protection is set at £85,000. If the bank collapses, that doesn’t mean you get £85,000 per account. It only means £85,000 per financial institution. If you have a joint account with your spouse, the protection is double the £85,000 which means you and your spouse get a total of £170,000.

How to Keep Your Money Safe

While protection for UK-regulated banks is only up to £85,000, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t save more than that. You can still as much as want while keeping your money 100% safe by doing the following steps below:

Spread your savings

If diversification works with investing so does spreading your savings. Don’t put all your money in one bank as a way to reduce risks. If you have savings more that the protection of £85,000, for example, you should avoid putting it all in one bank or in any one financial institution.

Research different institutions

You might think opening different accounts in different banks is a good strategy. It does work sometimes but not always. Remember that the protection stated specifically that its only £85,000 per institution. This means that you need to research separate institutions accordingly then open one account per institution to avail the maximum protection per account.

Use savings to pay off debt

Other than keeping your money on savings accounts, you can keep your money safe by using the excess of the £85,000 protection to pay off debt if you have any. Start by paying off credit cards and loans with high interest rates. By paying off debt, no money goes to waste especially as soon as all the debts are paid off.

Fast track your mortgage payments

If you’re paying mortgage, you can pay more than your monthly dues to fast track the process. Use your excess savings to chip off more off your mortgage each month. By paying more, it’s just like earning cash as you reduce the amount you owe therefore reducing the interest in the process.

Invest in other mediums

If you’re not the type to take high risks on your investments, it’s time to do so. You need to get out of your comfort zone and start going beyond savings. There are more ways to save money. Investment is one and you also get to earn high interest in the process. Just like with your savings, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversification is one strategy that will help mitigate risks while keeping your money safe.