Tips to help you save money

There are many reasons why you might want to start saving money:

  • Banking money for retirement.
  • Saving for a long-term goal, such as buying a new home.
  • To achieve an ambition, without getting into debt and having to pay interest on any borrowing. These things could include home improvements, or taking a dream holiday.
  • Building an emergency fund, affording you more financial stability and confidence.

Whatever you’re saving for, Bank of Scotland are here by your side. Read on for ideas on how to set a savings target, plan your spending and achieve your saving goals.

Work out your savings

The first step on your money saving journey is setting yourself a goal. How much do you want to save, and how quickly? You might like to use a savings calculator, helping you to understand how much you’d need to save, or how long it might take to reach your money saving target.

Review your spending habits

Once you have your savings goal in mind, you can start to think about how you’re going to reach it. A good place to start is to review your current spending habits.

List out your monthly income, essential outgoings and what you’d like to budget for socialising and leisure. You’re more likely to stick to a saving plan that’s reasonable and realistic.

Include everything from mortgage payments or rent, to your streaming service subscriptions and mobile phone contract. No matter how small the amount, list it.

You can use the Spending Insights tool in our Mobile Banking app or Internet Banking to see a breakdown of your monthly spending, split by category. Where do you spend the most, and are there areas where you could make easy cuts?

By keeping a closer track on any non-essential spending, the hope is that you’ll be able to channel more into your savings pot.

Ways to grow your savings

Spending less is key to saving money, but there are other things you might like to do too:

Spend time budgeting each month

Looking back on the last month, did you make any non-essential purchases, and were you able to save as much as you wanted? Adjust your plan for the month ahead to maintain your focus on savings, and to make up any shortfalls. If you spent less than you expected, that’s amazing… you could put that money aside, helping you to reach your savings goal that bit quicker.

It’s worth checking in with your service providers to see if you can get a better deal, or scale back on the level of service you receive to save money. For example, with your TV subscription you could be paying for channels you don’t watch often, or at all.

If you can’t negotiate a better price, try a price comparison website to shop around for a new deal elsewhere.

Repay any borrowing first

You may be paying interest on any credit cards or loans you have. This will usually be at a higher rate than you’d be able to earn from a savings account. Because of that, you may want to focus on paying off any existing debts first.

To help you minimise the cost of your borrowing, you may like to explore debt consolidation options, such as a loan or balance transfer credit card, helping you to keep track of your balance and payments in one place. Just be aware, fees may apply if you transfer or settle existing debts early.

Review your monthly subscriptions

Have a Netflix account but don’t watch anything on there? Never been back to that Pilates class? Whether it’s a video streaming service, gym membership or food deliveries, scaling back on non-essentials could help you to save more each month.

Plan your meals to save money

An occasional treat is perfectly fair, but when you’re trying to save, it won’t help to have takeaways or eat out regularly. Cooking from scratch could be healthier and cheaper.

Plan ahead and only buy the ingredients needed to make your family meals for the week. Also, aim to use food before it goes out of date, helping you to avoid any budget-damaging food waste.

Check your benefits

Depending on your circumstances, income support, marriage allowances and child payments are useful benefits from the government, which could top up your monthly budget. Visit to find out more and see if you’re eligible.

Sell unwanted items

You could have extra cash lying around your home in the form of unwanted items. Rather than throwing things you no longer need away, see if you can get a little money for them by selling them online. Old clothes, tech and furniture can be sold for cash on sites like eBay – or stick to the traditional route with a trip to the local car boot sale.

Instead, you could donate unwanted items to charity, giving them a chance at a new home and lease of life.

Six ways to cut your spending

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to cut out all non-essential spending, but you can be selective about where and how much you spend.

Re-think your gift list

Christmas and birthdays are traditional times for giving but can put a strain on your purse.

Think about other ways you can spread joy, just without spending as much. You could set a family budget that everyone sticks to, or even agree to skip gifts completely and just get together for a slice of cake.

Buy second hand

The second-hand market is booming right now. From vintage clothes to used cars, you can score a great deal if you do a little research. Items in excellent quality can be found for much less than buying brand new. Plus, buying second hand can be good for the environment, as unwanted items find a new home rather than heading to landfill.

Be patient with spending

You may want to steer clear of impulse purchases or wait patiently for those big budget buys. Want a new TV? Wait for the sales or spend a month thinking about whether you can make do with what you have. You can find cheaper deals during periods like Black Friday, or in the post-Christmas sales.

Pause spending on ‘wants’

Cutting down on extra spending can be one of the fastest ways to save a little cash. Daily coffees, takeaways or evenings out can eat into your monthly budget. While it’s still important to enjoy yourself, you may want to think about cutting down on this spending or finding cheaper alternatives – like making coffee at home to take out with you or cooking your own Chinese or Indian dishes.

Switch to a cheaper supermarket

Food is becoming more expensive. Swapping to supermarket-own brands or even visiting a cheaper supermarket altogether can help you save some cash on your weekly groceries.

Try a no-spend day

You could dedicate a 24-hour period each week to a no-spend rule. Obviously, you’ll still need to pay bills if they’re due, but avoiding non-essential purchases and finding cheaper alternatives at home could be a fun challenge.

Emergency funds

An emergency fund is a pot of savings for just that – emergencies. You should aim to have a few months’ worth of savings put away in case something goes wrong. Those things could include a temporary reduction in your income, or an unexpected bill.

The 50-30-20 rule

The 50-30-20 rule can be a great way to split your monthly pay into balanced pots. While half of your wage is likely to go towards your bills, mortgage or rent, the other half is split between wants (30%) and savings or repaying debts (20%). Learn more about the 50 30 20 rule.

Stay motivated

Keep your goals in mind and try to stay motivated when saving money. We know it can be hard to prioritise your savings – especially when you have bills and debts to pay. Any progress is good progress.

Keeping up with your savings plan can help you reach your goals one step at a time. It may take time to find a method that works for you, but the more consistent you are the faster your savings pot can grow.

Give yourself some wiggle room when you need it, to treat yourself to something new or the occasional meal out. Then you can use that positive feeling to re-focus on the goal you have in mind and continue to save.

Visit us in branch

Our Banking Consultants could help you review your finances and create a monthly budget, making the most of your money.

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