Shape up your finances: 2024 tips for a healthier bank balance

Let’s be honest. Saving money is hard - really hard - for most of us. If it weren’t, then we’d all have loads in savings.

With the cost of living still higher than ever, saving is almost impossible. But it’s essential to have some money behind you. So, with that in mind, here are some of our top tips to help you save a bit of cash.

50 30 20

If you want a foolproof way to save a bit of cash, try the 50 30 20 rule.

It’s simple. All you need to do is spend 50% of your income on what you need, 30% on wants, and pop the remaining 20% in savings.

It’s an easy way to save money without doing anything too drastic.

Small changes

Ditching your usual coffee, using public transport instead of driving occasionally, or swapping your overpriced gym membership for a run or a home workout may seem like small changes, but the savings can soon rack up.

Ditch the cigs

Smoking is terrible for your health and your wallet. We all know this, but people still do it.

If you need even more motivation to quit, you can save money on your life insurance premiums and improve your health by ditching the cigs for good.

Quitting smoking or vaping could save you money on your life insurance premiums! Some of the UK’s top insurance companies will reduce your monthly premiums if you inform them that you’ve quit smoking for a year or more.

Make 2024 the year you do it and feel the difference in your body and wallet.

Do free things in your spare time

Some of the best things in life are free. Incorporating free stuff into your weeks could help save a bit of cash. Here are just a few examples:

  • Most museums or art galleries are free. If you have a family, this is a great opportunity to have new experiences as a family
  • Go on a hike or a long walk. If you can get to a green space, it’s a plus but not a necessity. If you don’t have easy access to the countryside, try switching out your drive to somewhere you regularly go for a walk
  • Make homemade pizzas together or bake with your loved ones
  • Go for a bike ride somewhere new and have an adventure
  • Make a blanket fort, grab some popcorn, and have a movie marathon
  • Do some scrapbooking or create a photo album. This is a great way to get creative with your partner or children while looking back on memories together

Set goals for your finances

Having goals is vital in any area of our lives. So why would your finances be any different?

Setting financial milestones is essential if you’re serious about building up savings. Write down your savings plans, identifying what you want to save for in the short, medium, and long term.

Writing them down can help you re-motivate yourself if you veer off track. Work out how much you can realistically afford to save so you’re not taking the money back out again. There are also many budgeting apps and online tools, and many of them are free to use.

Make your lunches at home

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to save money is to make your own lunches instead of buying them.

The average person can save a significant amount each month by taking a little time each evening or morning to prepare a meal for the day ahead. Not only does this help your wallet, but homemade meals are often healthier than you might buy on the go.

Plus, if you’re not a natural in the kitchen, there’s no excuse—anyone can make a sandwich, which’ll be much cheaper than buying the usual meal deal.

Move away from branded food

Why stick to brand names when you can save quick cash by choosing supermarket own brands instead?

Supermarket own brands can be just as good as the big names, sometimes but at a fraction of the price. From cereals to cleaning products, making the switch could see you saving a pretty penny without sacrificing quality. It’s all about shopping smarter, not harder.

Don’t snub charity shops

People are quick to overlook charity shops. But if you’ve never experienced a good second-hand shopping spree, you could be missing out on some serious bargains.

You can find a lot in charity shops, from clothing to furniture, for a fraction of their original price.

Loads of major UK brands partner with charity shops too, donating their old stock, so you’ll find many charity shops are full of brand new unworn clothes these days.

Plus, choosing second-hand over brand-new is a great way to reduce waste and be more sustainable in your everyday life.

Plan your meals

Impulse buys and frequent trips to the shops can quickly add up.

By planning your meals, you can buy what you need, minimise waste, and avoid the temptation of takeaways. Dedicate a day to batch-cooking meals for the week, and you’ll save money and time, giving you more time to enjoy your evenings throughout the week.

Digital detox for your wallet

In a world where online shopping is just a click away, making unnecessary purchases on a whim is easy. 

Challenge yourself to a digital detox by unfollowing or muting tempting brands on social media, deleting shopping apps, and unsubscribing from those pesky marketing emails.

A digital detox can reduce the temptation to spend and help you focus on what you need rather than mindless purchases. Do this once or twice a year, and you’re guaranteed to save some money.

Use cash, not cards

Paying with cash rather than cards can make you more mindful of spending. When you physically hand over money, you feel the impact of your purchase more than when you tap a card.

Try allocating a set amount of cash for spending each week – it’s an easy way to stay within budget and rethink those impulsive buys that can slowly but surely drain your bank account.