Saving levels are back on top – but how can we keep them there?

The country is finally beginning to recover from the effects of the economic recession. It has been a long, hard slog, but things are improving and people are starting to think once more about building their savings instead of struggling to pay the bills every month.

According to NS&I’s Quarterly Savings Survey, the amount of money Brits are storing away has increased to over £100 per month. For last winter (2013), the average British saver put £101 aside – £3 more than they saved that autumn and £13 more than that spring.

In relation to income, women save a higher percentage of their salaries than men – 8.36% against 7.84% – and the overall trend is that saving levels are at their highest point for sometime (although shockingly almost a fifth of both men and women still fail to put regular money aside each month).

While saving levels being back on top is good news for everyone, the most important thing to consider is how you can keep them there.

It’s good to save

Putting money aside for a rainy day is something we all should do – but sadly not everyone lives by this simple rule and too many people spend everything they earn. Having a decent amount of savings in the bank will act as a safety net in the event something unexpected happens. After all, we never know what life is going to throw at us, so have you considered how you would cope if the car broke down or you lost your job?

Stick to a sensible budget

It is impossible to save if most of your income is frittered away on gym memberships, meals out, clothes, holidays and all the other things you can live without. If saving money is proving to be a tough cookie, you need to start budgeting.

Start by cutting back on luxury expenses and look for cheaper alternatives to your favourite hobbies. Invest in a second hand exercise machine to bring the gym into your home or go for long walks and runs in the outdoors for free. Limit the number of meals you have out to only cover special occasions and sell clothes you no longer want or need to afford new ones. You can also holiday with friends or family to cut costs on your trips away.

Set yourself a sensible budget that is manageable for your situation and invest excess money in a savings account. It’s important to be practical when setting your budget as trying to live on a pittance will only affect your chances of successful saving and thus impact your motivation.

Reduce debt

Being in debt makes it difficult to put money aside for a rainy day. One way to minimise the impact of debt is to restructure it so that you pay less in interest. A consolidation loan is a good way of dealing with debt as it lumps small debts under one umbrella and reduces your monthly payments in the process. A poor credit history can make securing a consolidation loan difficult so you may want to consider guarantor loans such as those offered by Buddy Loans where a family member, friend or work colleague stands as guarantor for the money you borrow.

You can also use these loans for unexpected costs or emergencies – something which will stop you dipping into your savings and ruining all your hard work!

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