Are you saving up for a big spend? Whether it’s a small treat like a new perfume or a life-changing goal such as a house deposit, we’ve all got something we pine for and we’ve all got a pretty good idea of how we’d spend our hypothetical lottery winnings!
When you have a big savings goal in mind, it’s not enough just to chuck a spare tenner in a savings account each month. If you’re serious about saving, you need a plan!
First off, you need to get clear on what you’re saving for, how much it costs, and when you want the money by. Secondly, work out where the money will come from! Yes, you can probably find ways to cut costs and trim your budget, but a much more effective way to hit your savings goals fast is to make some extra cash.
Let’s look at how you can do that!
Define your savings goals
Firstly, get clear on your motivation. You are much more likely to save effectively if you have a specific plan for the money. If there are several things you want, choose your priority and focus on it. A wedding? A new car? Christmas present fund? How much money do you realistically need? Do the research now so you have a concrete figure to work towards.
Use a savings goal calculator online to see how much you need to save and/or how long it will take to make your goal. Say you want to save £5000 for your dream honeymoon in 2 years’ time. With an interest rate of 5.25% (the highest I found available in the UK at the time of writing) you need to save £198.04 per month. (Note, the calculator uses a $ symbol but the figures are the same in any currency.) If you can only afford to save £100 per month, choose the ‘how long’ option instead to see how long it will take to hit your goal.
Next, to stay motivated, make sure you don’t forget your goal! Make a mood board, print out pictures for your wall, save it as the lock screen of your phone. Make sure you’ll be reminded of your goal every day and keep yourself excited!
Keep your savings separate
Now, if you’re going to all the effort of saving money, make sure to keep it separate from your day to day spending! The last thing you want is to see your hard-earned cash frittered away because it was sitting in your current account.
For long term goals, look for a savings account or an ISA with the highest interest rate possible. Some ISAs will lock your money away for a certain period, and these tend to have higher rates, but there’s a penalty if you need to withdraw early.
For shorter term goals, many banks (especially newer app-based banks such as Starling or Monzo) allow you to have ‘pots’ where the money is separate from your main spending money but still easily accessible.
Make more money!
Now your savings plan is well defined, you need to earn the cash! Sounds easier said than done, right? Well, not necessarily. Apparently as many as 25% of people in the UK now have a side hustle and it’s very easy to get started. Depending on your time, skills and resources you have available, you could make anywhere from £50 to £1000+ per month – yes, on top on your day job! Here are some quick ideas to get you started:
Surveys and apps
Online surveys are one of the first things you’ll come across when you start looking into making extra money. The reason is that they’re so accessible. Anyone could sign up to a survey site or download an app and start making money the same day. The downside is that they don’t pay well. Still, if you sign up to several sites you can often make £30+ per month, which added with other ideas goes a long way towards your savings goals. Here are a few to try:
- Paid Viewpoint
- Testable Minds
Focus groups are like surveys but supercharged! You will be paid by a company to give your opinion on products, services or ideas. In the ‘old days’ you would sit in a room and have a discussion with other participants, but nowadays they’re often online. They can pay very well, £50-£100+ per session, but you might not qualify for them often because they will be looking for people who meet certain profiles.
Here are a few sites to investigate:
Sell on eBay
Perhaps an obvious one, but have you actually gone through your home and thought about what you could part with? Many people are put off by the time taken to photograph and list all the items but do it all in one batch and you could be surprised at the profits! If you’re already a seasoned eBayer, take it up a notch by getting into reselling. It helps to have a specialist niche such as baby clothes, vintage homeware, Lego etc where you know the worth and can spot a bargain. Scour boot sales, charity shops etc for cheap products and resell at a profit.
Since the pandemic, learning online has become the norm. Do you have a skill you could teach? There are plenty of websites that connect private tutors to students all over the world. Even if you don’t have any particular qualifications, there is a big market for native English speakers to lead online English conversation sessions with students in different countries. Due to the global nature of this job and the need to cover different time zones, you will usually be able to sign up for slots that fit around your other commitments.
If you are a fast typer and have a good ear, transcription is a flexible work-from-home job that might be right for you. Transcription companies such as Take Note, Rev and Crowdsurf will hire you with no qualifications or experience, so long as you can pass their assessment tests. Pay is generally ‘per audio minute’ so you will earn more as you get faster.
There are lots more ways you can make extra money to hit your savings goals but hopefully this gave you some inspiration. Good luck – you can do it. And remember, eyes on the goal!