It may not be possible to spread your wings at the moment, but brighter days lie in wait, and for victims of wanderlust, the list of destinations to visit is growing by the day. If you love to travel, and you’re keen to explore in 2021, you might be thinking about how to boost your savings to afford far-flung adventures. In this guide, we’ll offer some top tips to help you turn pennies into pounds.
Monitor your accounts
Some people know exactly how much money they’ve got in their current and savings accounts on any given day, but many of us are guilty of chucking statements on a pile of unopened mail and hoping for the best when getting cash out. If you tend to run out of money as payday looms, or you get a surprise every time you do open a letter from the bank or check your available balance, now is the time to start monitoring your accounts. Take advantage of online banking, keep track of spending and transactions and if you have a credit card, make sure you know how much you need to repay. It can be very easy to lose track of spending if you have direct debits, you pay for items via apps or instant payments and you use contactless technology when out and about. Checking daily will help you regulate spending and ensure you know how much money you have available for the week or month ahead.
If you’re not already a budgeting convert, this is one of the best resolutions you can make for 2021. Budgeting is a simple, speedy and effective way to manage your money, take control of spending and increase your savings balance. The aim of a budget is to take stock of how much cash you have coming in and how much is going out. Once you’ve noted down your wages and your regular payments, including utility bills, your rent or mortgage and commuting and travel costs, add one-off expenses for that specific month. This may include gifts for a partner’s birthday or a day out with the kids, for example. When you have all the figures in front of you, calculate your disposable income. You can then decide how you want to portion your money out and how much you want to save. As well as helping you to save more, budgeting can also highlight costs that you may not be aware of. If you’ve taken out memberships or signed up for subscriptions in the past, you might have forgotten about them or you may be paying far more than you thought for household expenses like grocery shopping. Use your budget to cut out non-essentials and to set spending limits.
Statistics suggest that over half of UK adults are in debt, and this figure is likely to increase due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 crisis. It is important to distinguish between different types of debt, as many people who owe money are in control of their debts. If you’re paying back a mortgage, for example, and you can afford the repayments and you’ve never missed a payment, you don’t need to worry. Continue paying back your loan as planned. Debt becomes an issue when it starts to grow exponentially, or an individual cannot afford to pay creditors or cover repayments. If you’ve started adding to your credit card more frequently, you’ve borrowed money from multiple lenders, or you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s best to seek advice before the situation gets worse. Borrowing money from lenders like Buddy Loans can be beneficial if you need cash quickly and you have the means to pay the loan back, but there is a risk of getting into more debt if the interest fees start piling up and you miss payment dates. There is help available for those in debt, and there are also initiatives that have been introduced to assist and support those who have lost income as a result of the pandemic. If you can begin to pay debts off, or you can consolidate the debt to start afresh with one single repayment, this could help you improve your financial situation dramatically in 2021.
Make your money stretch further
Next time you draw up your monthly budget, take a moment to analyse your outgoings and ask yourself if you’re getting the best deals. Are you spending too much on TV and broadband? Are your insurance premiums increasing year on year? Do you dread the electricity bill sailing through the letterbox? Are you spending a fortune on food? If your outgoings are higher than anticipated, it’s a great idea to start setting yourself a budget for individual costs, such as groceries or nights out, and to look for ways to make your money stretch further.
Comparing prices is always beneficial, and you may be surprised at how much you could save simply by making a few calls or using a search engine or a comparison site. Resist the temptation to renew insurance policies automatically or stick with companies once a promotion runs out. Use comparison sites to get quotes from insurance, utility, broadband and phone providers and take advantage of offers and incentives for new customers. It’s also useful to compare prices when you’re shopping for items like nappies, pet food, cleaning products, electrical appliances and branded clothing. If you enter a product name or code, you can use search engines to get prices from different retailers in a matter of seconds. You can use the money you save to start planning weekends away, relaxing holidays or backpacking adventures.
Many of us had travel plans scuppered in 2020, and we are starting 2021 with the hope that our globetrotting ambitions will be fulfilled in the months to come. If you’re looking to get away, hopefully, these tips will help you save money, make your wages stretch further and boost your travel fund balance. If you start now, you’ll be ready to book that dream trip as soon as it’s safe to jet off.