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How you can save £3,300 a year without feeling it: "Think swap, not sacrifice"

Mirror logo Mirror 19/02/2019 James Andrews
Businessperson's Hand Putting Coin In Piggybank Businessperson's Hand Putting Coin In Piggybank

The secret to building up your savings isn't scrimping, it's swapping according to new research.

In fact, figures from Barclays show that by making changes to what you buy, the average young Briton can save £3,312.72.

As Barclays director of savings Clare Francis explains: “There’s a common myth that you have to become a hermit if you want to save money. But that’s not the case. Think swap, not sacrifice.

"That could mean making yourself a coffee in the office once a week, or inviting friends over every now and then instead of going out.

"The beauty of these small swaps is that by simply tweaking your lifestyle, the savings you make can be huge.”

How much you could save

a person walking down a street: Some of the things that can be swapped for savings© Barclays Some of the things that can be swapped for savings

Barclays found the average Brit aged 20 to 27 spends thousands each year on takeaways, eating out, daily treats such as coffees, socialising and clothes.

When you add up a year's worth of treats is works out as:

  • £904.20 a year on socialising
  • £738.96 a year on new clothes, shoes and accessories
  • £705.96 a year on eating out
  • £522.60 a year on takeaways
  • £441 a year on daily treats (coffees etc)

But while the small purchases don't seem like a big deal at the time, the money could be better used elsewhere.

“We tend to spend when we feel like we are missing out, such as a night out with friends, or because something is convenient, like buying a morning coffee instead of making one in the office," Clare said.

"These might seem like great choices in the moment, but we need to ask ourselves whether it’s worth the short-lived buzz, or storing the money up for a longer term goal.”

And not having a savings safety net is something that definitely bothers us.

Two-thirds (67%) of the 2,000 people surveyed feel they do not save enough, or anything at all, Barclays said.

How to get your head around saving

a man and woman sitting next to a laptop: There are ways to help© iStockphoto There are ways to help

That all means that building up a nest egg is as much a matter of the mind as your salary.

To try and get yourself in the right headspace to build up your savings, Pete Brooks, head of behavioural finance at Barclays, has the following tips for young Brits:

  1. Having a goal in mind makes saving simpler. As you see your savings pot grow, so will your excitement for the goal ahead.

  2. Consider telling friends and family about your savings goal to help you keep your resolve and provide extra support if your willpower wanes.

  3. Work out what triggers your discretionary spending so you can avoid the situation. This could be by changing your daily route so you do not go past a cafe that always tempts you to splurge, or saying no to situations where you know you will spend more than you are comfortable with.

  4. Start by making one or two spending changes and slowly add to them as they become a habit.

  5. Do not cut out everything you enjoy. For example, try combining paid-for individual gym classes with free activities like a local running club.

  6. Try setting a standing order up so when you get paid some of it instantly goes into a separate savings pot, keeping it safely set aside for future goals.

  7. Make the most of accounts which could boost your savings goals. For example, if you are saving for a first home consider a help to buy ISA or lifetime ISA.

  8. Consider paying in cash. It could make you more aware of what you are spending.

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