Got the desire and the best intention to reach your savings goals but not sure how to get there? If you’re planning on, and are committed to, making a change to achieve your savings goals then you’re already on the right track. With the right mindset you can achieve this, all you need is a little direction with some tips to get you there – and that’s where we come in.
With the cost-of-living crisis taking its toll, even small changes can contribute to boosting your savings account balance that little bit more. Here’s 6 tips on how you could adopt better savings habits for the new year so that you achieve this.
1. Find a realistic savings capacity
It’s all well and good wanting to achieve thousands of pounds worth of savings in a matter of months but fixing unrealistic goals in short periods of time is an easy way to set yourself up for disappointment.
When you narrow your goals to more achievable sums, it means you’re more likely to stay on track and keep motivated. Think about what it is you are trying to save for, and how much you’ll need to build up to this. By tying in a firm idea of what you’re saving for – be it a large or a small item – it makes your goal feel reachable. With this goal in mind, it’s then much easier to figure out how much you’ll need to contribute to your savings to achieve this. When you can visualise what you are saving for, the final step of transferring the money to your savings doesn’t seem as daunting as before.
2. Choose an account that’s right for you and your savings goals
Once you’ve narrowed down your goals and how much you can contribute regularly, it’s time to find the right account to keep your money in. With interest rates currently rising, there are now even better returns to be had if you can commit to your savings; plus keeping your money in a designated savings account gives you much more security than under your mattress could offer.
If you need to access your cash at short notice, then an Easy Access account keeps your cash within easy reach. Feeling confident enough to lock your money away for a longer period? A Fixed Term can be more rewarding for you, with interest rates ticking up the longer you keep your money safe and secure. You can even make use of the tax-free savings an ISA can offer on amounts up to £20,000 per year.
3. Make savings a regular part of your budget
With your goals set and your account locked down, the power is in your hands to build your savings up and make contributions a regular feature of your budget. Factoring in payments to your savings accounts like your other regular expenses and considering these as non-negotiables builds the mindset that savings are a priority, just like any other bill. But once you’ve made the mental switch to see your savings as a must-do, the result of your savings growing will make them feel less of a chore and paint them more as a reward for all your hard work.
4. Set it and forget it with automated payments
You can commit to automating your savings which will make saving so much easier by using a standing order. Standing orders take a set amount to leave your account on a specified date and take away the option to talking yourself out of not making your savings contributions each month.
It’s best to set these to leave your account shortly after you’ve been paid so that that you aren’t tempted to dip into this money, but you’ve also got the safety of having enough cash in your account to meet your commitments. They allow you to relax while your money carries on doing the hard work for you, taking out the added manual steps and keeping you from spending money that you wouldn’t have noticed going into your savings account anyway.
5. Boost your savings with your salary increases or bonuses
Don’t let lifestyle inflation creep into your potential to boost your savings capacity when your income goes up. If you’re fortunate enough to receive a salary increase or bonus from your job, try scaling your savings contributions by the same percentage so that your rainy-day fund gets the benefits of your higher income too.
Alternatively, you could look at increasing your savings contributions as a reward for your salary rise. Where you may easily slip into spending more on eating out or clothing with a rise in your income, having your savings steadily grow is one of the greatest rewards you could gift yourself, so switching your mindset to building in long term benefits for future you is a gift that keeps on giving.
6. Track your progress
If you find yourself feeling detached from how your savings are doing (and as a result were falling off the wagon when it came to keeping up with your contributions) then weaving in regular check ins with your account can get you back on track.
Keeping up to date with where you are with your savings goals will keep you motivated in your journey and more likely to stick to regular payments. It’s easy to do by using an app like OakNorth’s (available on iOS and Android), where you can check your rates and balance in just a few taps. And if you find you’re not meeting your goals fast enough, you can top up your balance from within the app too.
Your savings goals don’t have to stay a wishful daydream or a resolution that never materialises – by making a few simple changes to your savings habits and armed with the right savings accounts, you can make this a reality for you over the next 12 months. You can check out our full range of savings accounts to see how they can best help you reach these goals in 2023!
By Rajat Mehta, Senior Director, Head of Savings and Consumer Business at OakNorth Bank