Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Sunday, 17 June 2018

5 Top Money Saving Tips - How I Saved Money To Buy A House

Shop the top / shop the trousers / - ad affiliate

Paid ad post - Money can be quite a taboo subject but it’s definitely a topic that can cause us a great deal of stress and anxiety. As a freelancer, I don’t have a guaranteed income every single month so I often find myself running myself into the ground workload wise. I also find I’ve had to be really strict with my savings, just in case *touch wood* I don’t bring in an income one month. I totally understand why so many people worry about where their next pay cheque is coming from - 2018 has been the year of people working for themselves, going freelance, job hunting and I’m seeing so many redundancies happening to people too. I watch my boyfriend, a graduate with a Masters and 2:1 in civil engineering from a red brick University struggle to get a job and now, I totally understand how hard it is for people fighting to get their foot in the door. Let's talk money saving tips and more. This is a collaboration with HSBC. 

Conversations about money are incredibly important and I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a friend or family member about money. So today, I thought it would be good to write a blog post with my top tips for saving money because apparently, I’m not too bad at it! I’m often asked how I saved up to buy a house - a goal I set myself and something I never imagined I’d be able to achieve by age 23. It’s funny because as soon as I said I’d saved up enough for my house, I was hit with remarks from people suggesting my parents had helped but that really wasn’t the case. As the thought of buying a house seems more and scarier in today’s climate, and as more and more people are taking the plunge and working for themselves, I wanted to give you some tips in the hope that they help you save some money too. 

hound lodge goodwood

When I was younger, my family worried about me because I was a little bit of a shopaholic, I would go into a store on a family day out and couldn’t leave without buying something, anything… now my Mum laughs because I’m so sensible with my money. I’ve been working part-time since I was 15. As soon as I could legally get a job, I did, and then when I was 16, I worked two part-time jobs. I worked at both Morrisons and All Saints 20 hours per week whilst studying for my A-Levels. I enjoyed having my own money and independence and whilst I would often blow it on a new pair of Kurt Geiger’s or nights’ out, once I’d got past that stage, it felt good to save up and set goals. I remember lusting over a Burberry bag and being laughed at by a lady in the shop when 18-year-old me said I couldn’t get it because I was ‘saving for a house’. Looking back now, I’m so glad I’ve been saving since I was 18. I have personal reasons for being so tight with my money. To cut a long and incredibly raw/emotional story short, when I was 18 we lost pretty much everything and I promised myself I’d work hard enough so I could support my family forever. This isn’t about me; it’s about never wanting to see my family struggle and never wanting to feel as if someone could take everything from us again. It’s a security thing. They always say something puts a fire in your belly and it was this that put the biggest fire in my belly. I made it my mission to only ever have to rely on myself so I guess that’s where sensible Em comes from. 

the hound lodge goodwood

Now that’s a little back story and maybe something I will discuss in the near future when I feel more comfortable and confident but, for now, here are my top five tips for saving money. They worked for me and I hope they may work for you too. 

TIP 1: Track your own personal spending habits for one month
We often don’t pay much attention to how our money is spent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, but it is at this micro level where we start to see patterns in our spending (those daily coffees, meals out etc). At the end of the month, export your transactions into an Excel spreadsheet and categorise them into things like food, clothes, nights out, entertainment, bills, car, house, then use this data to see where you are frittering your cash. I know the whole ‘if millennials stop buying avocados they’d be able to buy a house’ debate is a patronising one, but on a larger scale, they have a point. There are easy things you can do to cut down on spending - for example, I get way too many Uber taxis and drink too much Starbucks so it would be interesting to see how much money I’m really spending on that per month instead of putting it into a pot for something else. This type of personal bookkeeping might seem like a chore but it’s actually a really good skill to have and will allow you to be completely transparent with yourself about your spending habits. It’s actually even easier with HSBC UK’s Connected Money app which you can use if you’re a UK customer and your spending is automatically categorised for you! By looking at this data you’ll be able to eliminate any small unnecessary expenses that can add up over time.

HSBC UK’s Connected Money app

TIP 2: Find out your financial personality type 
We all love to spend money on different things. For me, it might be that designer handbag I’ve been lusting over for months, an exotic holiday or that new restaurant that has just opened. You might be a member of a gym or sports club, have a subscription to a streaming service or you might be that amazing friend who always buys a round of Mojitos at the bar to treat her friends. We’re all different and working out your financial personality type is a great way to help you understand your relationship with money. HSBC UK have developed an amazing online test  (take the test here) that helps you do just that...I did the test and came out as ‘Sensible Sage’ (shock horror, I knew I was going to come out as that!). It was super quick and easy to do and has really made me feel a bit better about my spending habits. Having a tool like this is really cool; I’ve never really seen anything like it before. I’d say it’s a really good way to understand your spending habits and categorise them, and then you can make any tweaks if you do have saving goals. 

TIP 3: Split your bank accounts up based on your personality type and goals 
A good way to help you save towards specific goals is to split up and label your savings accounts. This is something I’ve been doing for years and I swear by it – it’s definitely more of a mental thing but it works. When you get paid at the end of the month distribute money to each savings account: 


In A Current Account:
- House Fund 
- Car Fund
- Travel Fund 
- Dream Fund 

By doing this, you can’t overspend on things like clothing because you have a limit that you have set yourself. It also gets you into the habit of only purchasing stuff when you can afford it. By ensuring that I put a certain amount aside into these accounts every month by standing order, it’s there and it stays there. It’s something I’m so rigorous and strict with and it also means you don’t feel guilty for treating yourself once you’ve got enough money in your ‘dream fund’ because you’ll also have been putting money away in your house fund, for example. 

TIP 4: Be savvy and buy stuff in the sales 
Any good investor will tell you to look out for opportunities. Buying things at a discount is one of the best ways to do this. I often shop for luxury items at Designer Outlets such as Bicester Village or Cheshire Oaks. When buying designer I also invest my money in timeless pieces rather than fast trends to keep my cost-per-wear down. Spending a bit more time researching products and waiting for sales before spending your money can really pay dividends. I also ensure that I’m keeping an eye out for sales - obviously, things like Gucci never go into the sale which sucks for me but, some brands like Selfridges and Net-A-Porter do % off days or take part in Black Friday, or for example this month they have REALLY good Summer sales on. If you really do want something, it’s sometimes worth holding on and saving up for it.

topshop stripe twist top

TIP 5: Don’t feel pressured by social media 
It’s easy to look at Instagram and see people with fancy material possessions and assume their lives are perfect. I’ve done a full blog post before asking whether social media is dangerous? Instagram is just a highlights reel so please don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep up with someone just because she has the ‘IT bag’. Buying status objects or leading a status lifestyle is unlikely to lead to long-term happiness or fulfillment and it certainly won’t do your bank balance any good! I like to treat myself when I’ve earned it, that way I feel much better when I spend my money on something nice...maybe this is why I came out as a ‘Sensible Sage’ on HSBC UK’s test. As much as I adore Gucci bags, for years I didn’t buy any designer things because I was so busy saving for a house - something with longevity. I also know so many people prefer experiences over designer items so it’s all about what works for you and what your goal to save for is. 

According to HSBC UK, 30% of UK adults say that money causes them the most anxiety so I really hope this helps. Do leave a comment with any top money-saving tips you may have as they could help someone else! It’s good to talk about money! 

See me talk about these money saving tips on the below video:

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Lots of love, Em x

*This post is sponsored by HSBC but as always is my 100% honest opinion. 

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