Saving money is hard. It's even harder when you're a girl who loves YouTube and blogging, and are therefore forever adding to your never-ending wishlist. After living off my savings for three months while I was away from home, it was really hard watching my bank account slowly deplete (damn you, Topshop, but at least I have nice clothes), so I'm currently trying to get my savings into good shape again. I'm sure you're all well aware by now that I want to move out of home to a new city, which means saving up for house stuff and having never lived properly out of home before, I'll need to prepare myself for the dreaded bills that come with that. Apart from moving out of home, I want to save for a new camera, MacBook Pro and more travelling. From my expensive taste as documented on my blog, you may think it's impossible, but it's not! I thought I'd share with you some advice and talk about my experience in saving money for those of you who are trying to do the same.
1. Have a separate savings account
I suppose this is the most obvious, but having a separate savings account from your spending account really helps to keep track of your finances. Each pay week, I put away a certain amount of my pay into my savings account and I try my hardest not to touch it. Having a best friend who works for a bank has really helped as I now have a savings account that gives me bonus interest every time I transfer money into it. However, I also have to pay fees if I make withdrawals. Both of these factors are great incentives for saving money. The aim is to not withdraw from your savings account because it can become a bad habit. Trust me, I know.
2. Make wishlists
Us human beings are complex creatures because once we have something, we always want more. I went through a ridiculous period last year where I thought that if I bought all the things on my wishlist, I wouldn't need to buy anything else for a long time, so I could then just concentrate on saving. I've since learnt that the mind does not work that way. There's always going to be something you want or you're just going to have that urge to go shopping. Instead of buying everything all at once, I add them to my wishlist and I wait until payday to buy a few things here and there. Try to only buy things that are on your list too and don't be tempted to impulse shop. Wishlists can help you keep organised and your finances in line if you take note of the prices too. Plus, if you're anything like me, crossing things off lists is oddly satisfying. I think there's more enjoyment in shopping when you've been anticipating something for a really long time and if you've been working and saving really hard, you can say you've truly earned it. As Andy Warhol once said, "The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting."
When compiling wishlists, try to prioritise what you'd like to buy. For example, I'll say to myself, 'This payday, I'm going to buy myself this and this because they've been on my list for a really long time/everybody is still raving about it on YouTube.' What have you really been lusting after? What can wait a few more weeks? I try to prioritise things like limited edition items, shoes and clothes because they're more likely to become out of stock or sell out of my size.
4. Wait for sales
I don't always stick to this rule because I sometimes find they'll sell out of my size before sales, but most of the time, it pays off to wait. Working in a department store has its benefits as I always know what's going on and depending on how much self-control you have, those e-mails that keep you in the loop on all your favourite stores can work to your advantage. With Christmas fast approaching, there's always a lot of good sales going on (much better than the Boxing Day ones, I find) and with Black Friday in the US coming up, I'll sure be hitting up a few of my favourite online shops.
5. Don't overestimate yourself
I get paid every fortnight and there were times where I'd put over half my pay into my savings and feel really proud. However, unexpected things crop up that cost money sometimes and then I'd find myself withdrawing from my savings and in the end, not really saving much at all. I've learnt not to overestimate how much you can save. You can still put in a decent amount into your savings account with enough cash to spare for everyday expenses and if you have spending money left over just before your next payday, you can always transfer that to your savings too. As mentioned earlier, you do NOT want to withdraw from your savings account!
6. Be realistic
Tying in with overestimating yourself, being realistic is about knowing yourself and your shopping/saving habits. Some people can do the whole 'no shopping for a month thing' and be successful at it, and that's great for them. I've contemplated doing this, but have never gone through with it simply because I know myself and know it's impossible. Instead of trying to set unrealistic goals I know I can't achieve and then feel bad about myself, I allow myself a little bit of spending money each pay week. My bank account is happy, I'm happy, so it's good times all round.
7. Sell your old stuff to buy new stuff
As the saying goes, out with the old, in with the new. I hate hoarding items I don't use or wear, so every once in a while, I like to purge my wardrobe and list my unwanted clothes on eBay or even just give them away to op shops. It's a great way to earn a little extra cash and as the money goes straight into my PayPal account, I always like to do a bit of online shopping with the money. The more money I've made from eBay, the more of my actual pay I can save.
8. Find ways to cut costs
As I live at home, I don't have too many expenses, but I've still managed to find ways to cut back here and there. My biggest downfall used to be buying lunch when I'm at work, but I don't do that very often these days and instead, I bring my lunch from home. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but it's healthier too.
9. Appreciate what you already have
Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in wanting to buy new things that we forget that we probably already have a lot. If you're trying to save money, learn to use what's already in your wardrobe or makeup collection because most of the time, you'll end up rediscovering things you used to love, but have forgotten about. I love coming home with shopping bags and receiving parcels in the mail just as much as any other person, but try to give what you already have some loving before purchasing new items.
10. Treat yo'self
It feels good to save money and have a healthy looking bank account, but it also feels good to spend money too. When you've reached certain milestones in your savings or if it's been a really long time since you've bought yourself anything, I think it's very important to reward yourself. Let yourself off the hook just once and treat yourself to whatever you've had your heart on. It's your money, you've worked for it and you deserve it.
At the end of the day, it's all about balance. You can have nice things while saving, you just can't have all the nice things. Like starting anything new, saving can be a little difficult at first, but once you discipline yourself and develop good habits, you'll forget the bad habits and saving will become second nature. Living at home makes it easier to have more of a disposable income, but I think I'm ready to grow up and sacrifice some of that to be able to afford my independence. Of course I'd be able to save a hell of a lot more money by not buying the things I do, but life is meant to be enjoyed in the moment too and a part of that for me is buying beauty products and clothes. It may take me a little longer to reach my savings goals, but that's okay with me. We can't always be thinking and worrying about the future and forgetting to live in the present. How you spend your money is your choice and no one can judge you on that, but there are ways to be smart about money while still having fun with it. I hope you found this helpful!