By Anna Davies
Trying to save money can be hard right now — as the pandemic rolls on and we continue to feel the impact in our bank accounts, it’s hard to keep up the more high-tech ways to save money (though we absolutely advise you to try them out.) But there are some old-fashioned no-spend strategies that can make your money add up — sometimes pretty quickly. At first glance, they may sound weird, but they work. Ahead, try one (or a few) and tell us in the comments the strangest strategies you’ve used to successfully save some extra money.
Pick a denomination and save it. Always.
“I nanny, so I get paid in cash. Whenever I’d get £5 notes, I put them in a separate envelope. This money becomes my ‘fun’ money, so I know I can either take one out and buy a cappuccino, or keep adding to it and splurge for a fun dinner with friends.” — Courtney, 32
Have a spending jar for fun stuff.
“Every week, I take out £100 for fun, which includes lunch and drinks. And I put the cash in a jar I decorated on my desk. Actually having to pull money out means I’m super conscious of how I’m spending it, and also keeps me honest. For example, I only use that money, not my debit card, for fun lunches out, so if I don’t have the money with me, then I’m going to eat the lunch I brought from home, and not go out with colleagues.” — Janie, 27
Skip the coffee; save the cash.
“I am so bad about buying lattes ‘just because.’ And I know the £3 adds up. So whenever I feel the urge to buy a latte, I make the crappy office coffee, and make sure to move £3 from current to savings. It’s a neat trick that actually makes me ‘see’ how much I’m saving.”
— Jessica, 23
Harness the power of recurring payments.
“I was paying £250 a month for my car payment. When I finally paid it off, I kept the ‘payments’ going into my savings account. Because I’d been paying it all along, I never missed the money, and it was so gratifying to see the money add up so fast in my savings account.” — Ramon, 30
Do your saving in short sprints.
“I feel like I can get really into savings for only a month. So in that month, I see it as ‘training.’ I bring my breakfast and lunch to work, I only do social events that are free (one time, I had a party at my house where everyone had to bring one bottle of alcohol collecting dust in their homes), and I just really push myself. By the end of my ‘spending fast’ I have a lot more cash, and I am more conscious of how I’m spending it.” — Luke, 27
Become your own bartender.
“When I worked at a summer camp, there was an honour system where you had to pay 50p for a drink from the fridge. I do the same thing at home to this day — £1 for a soft drink or £2 for a glass of wine. What’s funny is I made a list of my drink ‘prices’ on the fridge to remind my husband and I to be honest with it, and now, when our friends come over, they pay too…but they don’t have to!” — Rachel, 30
Pay yourself for Instagram posts.
“This is so weird, but thinking about how much celebrities get paid for sponsored Instagrams made me decide to pay myself. For every photo I Insta, I (at least try!) to put £1 in a drawer!” — Cassie, 22
Make it easy to visualise what you’re saving for.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but I like to see what I’m saving for, so I made a vision board of the holidays I want to take this year. ‘Seeing’ Greece every day makes it so much easier to not go out for a £10 lunch!” — Liz, 29
Freeze your credit card. Yes, literally.
“Yes, literally, in a bag of water. I know it’s cliché, and it’s true that I could defrost it in seconds under warm water, but it did stop me from making impulse purchases.” — Marquita, 25