5 tips to help you save money quickly

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I feel like Sam and I have spent the majority of the last two years saving money. First we were focussed on saving for our house and now we are in the deepest darkest depths of wedding saving. We're really lucky to have had some very generous help from our parents on both the house and wedding front, but we've still had to save a hefty amount of money in a relatively short space of time. Neither of us were that great at saving money beforehand and we're both pretty sociable, so we've had to learn pretty quickly how to cut costs while still having a bit of a life. A couple of people have asked for some advice on how we've done it, so today I'm sharing 5 tips to help you save money quickly.

1) Work out where you spend the most money

This one sounds really simple and straightforward, but it has really helped us know where to focus our efforts. Outside of things like rent and bills, work out where you are spending the biggest chunk of your income. Maybe you spend a lot of money eating out or perhaps (like me!) you're guilty of buying way too many books - whatever it is, once you know where your money is going, you can make a more effective plan to cut back. We were spending a lot of money on takeaways or buying food on the go as we're always super busy, so now we try and batch cook and fill the freezer a couple of times a month. I'm also trying to start sharing and swapping books with friends too so that I don't spend as much in Waterstones. It's amazing how much you can save just by making simple tweaks in the right places.

2) Be ruthless with your direct debits

Have a little look on your bank statements at the things you pay for every month and see what you could live without. Of course there are some direct debits (like council tax or electricity bills) that are very essential and have to get paid, but there are others that are probably less necessary. Subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify and pricey gym memberships can add up to a pretty hefty amount each month, and you can make a decent saving just by sacrificing one or two. For example, I cancelled my Spotify premium account (I listen to podcasts more these days anyway) and gave up my gym membership (I'm now walking/running outdoors instead) and saved myself a tidy £45 a month. I don't really feel like I'm missing out all that much and I can use the £540 a year more effectively elsewhere.

3) Make your lunch instead of buying it

Okay so this one is on every list of money saving tips ever, but I had to include it because it's made a huge difference for me. When I first started working in the city centre two years ago I was easily spending £6/7 a day on lunch, which quickly adds up to £30 a week or £1500 a year! Crazy when you think you can make something even tastier at home for much cheaper. I now batch cook my lunches at the beginning of the week and always make sure it's something cheap but tasty - this Deliciously Ella curry is a current fave but things like soups, stews and chillis work really well too. I'm saving at least £100 a month from this alone, plus not having to pop into town to pick some food up means I'm less likely to go for a little lunchtime nosey in Zara too... And whatever I make is usually healthier than whatever I'd choose in a shop or cafe, so it really is win win!

4) Sleep on it

I am such an impulse shopper and if I see something I like I'm usually at the till paying for it and skipping out the door with my lovely new purchase within the space of about 3 minutes. It means I often end up buying things that I don't really need or getting home and realising I already had something similar in the wardrobe, so my new rule is that every time I see something I want to buy, I have to sleep on it first. Whether it's something for the house or an outfit for a wedding, I've found that by giving myself at least 24 hours to think about it before buying I often end up talking myself out of the purchase. And if I do end up buying it after the 24 hours is up then it's usually something that I really love and will cherish for ages, so I don't feel as guilty having a splurge.

5) Set a target

Now that we are fully in the swing of weding planning we have a very clear target of how much we need to save and when we need to save it by. Knowing exactly how much we need to save every month in order to hit our target really helps me when I'm working out what social events I can and can't agree too. Plus it gives me an extra surge of willpower when the pretty shoes are trying to catch my attention! Work out how much you need for whatever you're saving for and give yourself a time target - you'll be amazed how easy it is to stick to once you see the money start to add up in your bank account.

What are your best money saving tips? We still have lots to save so any advice will be very welcome!