Work can seem like one long slog if you never have anything to show for it. Managing your money effectively in pursuit of long-term goals — whether it’s cars, houses or holidays — can give you something rewarding to work towards. It also makes your week feel far more worthwhile. But what if you’re struggling with the pennies?
• Standing order: when that lump sum hits your bank, it can be all too easy to fritter it away on an overdue shopping spree, pay-day night out, or all-too-hectic weekend. Throw in rent, bills and travel and what’s left can feel too precious to throw into what feels like an abyss of a savings account. But setting up a standing order on pay day — before you’ve had chance to blow the lot — means you’re doing your fiscal duty without even noticing.
• Piggy bank: hark back to the days of your childhood, when every penny saved carried with it a dream of treats to come. Choose any vestibule you like — it doesn’t have to be pig shaped if those days are really gone — and whenever you have spare change in your pocket, throw it in. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it builds up.
• Ditch the morning coffee run: we all have our routines, and by definition, they can be hard to break — especially the ones that get us through the working day. But if you call at a coffee shop every morning for your daily caffeine fix, try totting up how much you spend each year on liquid energy. It often makes for scary reading. The office alternative may not be quite up to par, but when you see those pennies building up, the sacrifice will be well worth it.
• Home comforts: bringing in your own lunch can take a bit of forward planning, but the savings to be made here are not to be scoffed at. It’s not unusual to spend £5 on lunch, which adds up to an astronomical £1,310 on business days alone. That baguette isn’t looking so appealing now, is it? When you do your weekly shop, try picking up soups for simplicity, or a selection of sandwich fillings that you can put together the night before. It’ll soon become habit, and could cover the cost of your annual jaunt.
• Temperance (well, not quite): nipping out for a few drinks after work can be all too tempting, especially when you work in a city. But when it becomes a frequent occurrence, you can end up drinking away more money than you realise. It’s important to socialise, but try arranging drinks for just one night of the week and set yourself a budget that you’ll stick to.
Rare are those of us that go to work for pleasure alone, so saving what you can from your monthly pay packet can make your working week a whole lot more meaningful — increasing your motivation levels, positively impacting your stress levels, and giving you a real sense of purpose.
And if you need a little extra help with your budgeting skills, try an online tool for charting your annual spend.