We need to get in to the habit of saving, but how do you save money when you’re broke? Firstly, you shouldn’t even begin to save until you’ve paid off your debts – the amount you lose in interest on the repayments is likely to cancel out anything you make from your savings. So, first of all sign up to our free debt-busting emails and once you’ve cleared your debt, find out how to save money.
In order to save you need to free up some money each month. The easiest way to make a dent in your outgoings is to cut your utility bills – so see if you can’t save money by switching providers.
With energy price rises, your fuel bills are a good place to start. Check out our energy comparison page. Some people save £538 a year simply by switching their energy provider, so you owe it to yourself to check.
You can also use our comparison tables to quickly find cheaper insurance (on everything from your car to your holidays), as well as cheaper broadband. These are all regular bills for which you may well be paying over the odds for.
Then cut down on your general spending. If you don’t know where your money is going each month, keep a spending diary for a few weeks – you’ll soon find out!
Start with just one thing that you’ll cut down on – perhaps you buy a coffee every morning on the way to work? Replace that with a travel flask or cup of your own brew and you’ll save about £12.50 a week.
Bring sandwiches to work instead of buying them or have one less takeaway a week. All these things add up and cutting back on them will free up a lot of money.
For loads more ways to cut your spending, read our article on reducing your outgoings and find out how you can save over £1,000!
Check out the brilliant website Mylostaccount, which will search for any dormant accounts you might have forgotten about.
And don’t forget other financial products you may be missing out on. Our article on how to get free money has links to services like the Pensions Schemes Register, which will find any old pension schemes you set up with previous employers.
There’s also the Unclaimed Assets Register which covers all manner of investments, life policies, shares, National Savings and others.
They charge a small fee of £25 but it’s worth it. They’re also partnered with the Halifax to help current and former Halifax members find old savings accounts quickly.
While you’re at it, why not pull the cushions from the sofa and check in pots, on shelves and under boxes around your home to see if you can find any spare coins.
According to Visa UK, Britons collectively have £1 billion of loose change just lying around!
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Save coins in a jar
Pick a coin – any coin. It could be £1 coins, £2 coins or 20p coins. Whichever you choose, you have to save any coin of that denomination you have left at the end of each day. Get yourself a piggy bank or a special jar that you empty your coins into regularly.
A lot of people use this method of saving for things like a holiday or Christmas. It’s a great way of gradually accumulating money, without it hurting your purse too much.
However, it’s also a good idea to empty your coins jar every month and put the money into a high-interest savings account. That way you can start making interest on it and, hopefully, take away the temptation to raid the jar!
What have you got hanging around the house that could make you some money?
If you have a spare room, you could rent it out for cash (even if it’s on a part-time basis). It can bring in thousands of extra pounds a year – and the first £4,250 you earn from a lodger is tax free!
So if you want to make the most of that spare room, have a look at Easyroommate – it’s free to post an ad. If you don’t want to commit to a full time lodger, check out MondaytoFriday.
In fact, you can rent out all sorts of things for cash – from your DVD player to gardening tools with RentNotBuy. And the beauty of lending is that you can do it again and again, making it a cash stream that can last.
Alternatively, you could set yourself the task of clearing out all your unwanted junk and selling it on. Get selling on eBay and don’t worry if you are completely new to it – find out how to sell things on eBay here.
You could also try posting an ad on Gumtree in the ‘For Sale’ section, or checking out some online car boot sites like Boot Bay. For loads more information about car boots, have a look at our article on how to turn your trash into cash.
Set aside time to make money
Instead of slumping in front of the TV every night, how about setting aside just one evening a week to make some extra cash to save?
Try spending a few hours in front of the computer one night just doing online surveys, or you could even write your own blog and use Google Adwords to help make you some money.
Take a look at the ideas in our Making Money section for any that match your circumstances.
If you think you’ll only be depositing small amounts, a regular savings account could well be what you need.
If you make money over the internet, move it straight into an internet-based savings account as soon as you get it. If it’s cash, put it in an envelope and deposit it in your savings account immediately to stop yourself spending it on treats!
If you’re still worried about the safety of your money after the recent banking turmoil, you could consider looking at some of our savings alternatives.