Paige Eades

UK Lifestyle Blog

How To Save Money As A Young Adult

how to save money

Hands up who has complained about having 'no money' in the last [period of time]? Me too. 

For a bit of personal context; I left my high earner job (for a student, anyway) when I started university last September; and picked up a quick job later earlier this year which was seeing me with just a quarter of the income I was used to. It was a big culture shock to have what I classed as 'no money'; then with Coronavirus hitting the world left, right and centre affecting all businesses, I was made redundant after a few months of no pay/furlough.

A small disclaimer before I really start this post; for money can be a sensitive subject for many. I realise that my personal circumstance isn't comparable to real money struggles; I am fortunate to live at home with my parents, own a car, and I worked hard to get a scholarship for my university course so I don't have student finance debts. Yes; I have worked hard to get where I am today - but I fully appreciate that this comes from a position of social privilege. 

So; what am I saving for? For starters; my car - it is my responsibility, and on the whole I pay for everything; annual insurance, service repairs, MOT, petrol etc. Living in the middle of nowhere with little (none) public transport options; running a car is pretty much essential for my normal daily life so maintaining this privilege is critical. What else? My ISA - slowly building up money that I can use to contribute to my first house is a great way to start personal financial responsibility and directly investing for the future. Thirdly; I am saving for travel experiences - next year, or post COVID-19 I am so excited to broaden my travel experiences and see some more of the world whilst in a flexible position to do so without any major life commitments. 

I use the term 'young adult' in this post - I think finding your feet in the financial world whilst growing up is vastly important and is often missed in curriculums. It can be difficult to know where to start as a young adult; balancing your studies at sixth form/college/university etc and saving can be so hard to manage. Today I'm sharing some of my experiences and tips for saving money when I was in a position to do so; plus some ideas that I am using for the future. I've been at both ends of the scale at getting my card declined on the regular; and buying everyone else drinks so hopefully this post will help us both work, and stay, towards the latter, eh? 

how to save money Pinterest

Set up a savings account.

Step one, which may seem obvious but so many people still don't do it, is to set up a separate savings account so you have your personal account where you can spend to your hearts content; and your savings, which has all your set aside hard earned cash. What I found easiest is to set up an 'esaver' which is an online savings account - there is no card associated with it; and you access it via your mobile/online banking service. This was great; because I knew that whatever money I put into my savings wasn't accidentally being spent on everyday purchases; it was in a completely safe (but easily accessible) place. 

Occasionally I would move money from my savings account into my current account and vice versa if I needed some extra cash for that month; but most of the time the money I transferred into my savings account stayed there. It's surprising how fast it can build up taking away the direct access to funds that you want to save and set up that extra barrier for yourself. 

Get paid work (and put some earnings aside).

As soon as you have an income, it allows you to be in a position to start saving instead of endless spending without any funds replenishing. I say 'paid work' instead of a 'job' because you can get paid for a variety of things which don't necessarily have to be a regular job. My personal preference is to apply for a regular and committed job; but sometimes there is none available - or it's simply not your thing or doesn't fit around your lifestyle.

Something I did every month whilst earning; and will continue to do so when I get another job is put away a certain amount or percentage of my earnings (at the time it was £100 a month on average; sometimes more if I could afford it) straight into my savings account. If you are on payroll and know your payday dates; you can set up a standing order between your current and savings account so it transfers automatically every month to save you the hassle. Utilising these are great; I currently have one set up between my current account and ISA as it saves me having to remember each month. 

Utilise the 'coin jar' apps and online banking features.

Something which is really great that I have seen floating around via several apps and banking services is the 'round up' feature - it automatically rounds up any of your purchases to the next pound - whether it be a cup of coffee, your weekly food shop, a new top, you name it and adds the 'change' to your savings. Think of it as storing all the coins you end up with as change from notes etc all automatically building up without you even noticing. The odd 20p a purchase won't make any real difference to your shopping habits; but will build up to a nice little sum with consistent spending. 

I know Lloyds Bank does 'Save the Change' scheme which is said to be good - it's not my bank personally so I haven't tried it but several other apps and services offer similar including Moneybox, Monzo (who offer a 'Coin Jar' savings account) and Starling Bank. Such a great idea, in my opinion. 

Set yourself spending budgets.

This tip is actually one I picked up from my best friend; who when moving to university wanted to keep track of her student finance into rent, food shopping, personal expenses etc. The idea is that you set yourself a budget each month; and allocate sub-budgets into categories that you regularly use. This is such a great idea to keep track of where you are spending and where you could cut back on; and by inputing each purchase almost gives you a reason to justify the purchase.

Santander do an app called 'Wallet' which breaks down your card spending into categories for you - and it allows you to easily see which companies you are spending at most, and what your shopping habits are. Initially downloading this app made me feel a bit sick; but it's great for those who want a bit of analysis over their finances and exactly where their money is going. I'm not sure as to if other banking services offer this as a similar feature; but it would be worth an investigate - else there are plenty of other savings apps that will do this for you. Just look on your App Store. 

Use your own flask.

Something I didn't realise before purchasing my own travel mug was just how many discounts you can get for not using takeaway cups etc. Both at sixth form, and currently at university I always get myself a drink on the way to lessons/lectures as I'm passing through the town and using your own flask gets so many discounts. Pret is my number 1 go to for a soya hot chocolate or fruit smoothie; and I get 50p off the drink which makes a massive difference. Costa, Starbucks, Greggs etc all do similar discounts and it's a great way to save money if you do buy a drink on the go. Ideally, you could always bring a drink in from home etc but that's not always possible so this is the next best thing. 

Utilise discounts and loyalty cards.

The amount of students I know that don't use or utilise their student discount is astounding. The discount is there for you to use; for a reason and the amount you can save is fab - both online and offline. I tend to use Unidays for the majority of my purchases as it is a super easy to navigate app - what most people don't realise is all you need is a education address to verify yourself; you can be at school, sixth form or university! Another app which is great is Student Beans - sometimes brands/stores that don't offer discount on Unidays, do so on Student Beans and vice versa; so it's worth setting up an account for both. I also like looking at reward schemes for different shops to see if there is any good deals for students - Waitrose for one offer a free takeaway hot drink if you buy any pastry/baked good (which the cheapest is like 20p) and all you need is their loyalty card. Personally; I use this as breakfast/brunch if I haven't managed to grab anything before I left the house but you could use it as anything - and it's all less than a pound.

These are just some of the ways I have found super easy and effective to implement into my lifestyle; and I hope they work for you. What other tips do you have? 

I also posted a 'Blogging on a Budget' post in my archives - you can check that out here! Great for those who love blogging, or those who are looking at starting but worried about costs. 

You can look at my other advice posts here, as well. 

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