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Have you, like me, learnt a LOT about personal finance and managing your money in the last year and a half? The pandemic has hit a lot of people very hard. I know I have been very fortunate in that I have not been furloughed, I have worked throughout, but I have been working from home. This has meant that I no longer get petrol money for my mileage, but other than that, financially, not a lot has changed for me. I know that for a lot of other people this is not the case. People have been furloughed, made redundant, companies have gone bust, and people have been out of work for much longer than they ever could have imagined. It is why I have taken a long and hard look at my finances so that I can plan for the future better.

I have very little in the way of savings, but this past year or so has shown me that with the best will in the world, no-one can see the future, and whilst I hope we don’t go through a pandemic again, for other reasons I really want to build up my savings so that I have more security should anything untoward occur. I’ve used a savings calculator to help me plan how much I can save and how long it will take me to reach my savings goal. Whether you are saving to build up a pot of money for emergencies, or you are saving for a specific item or event (new car, new home deposit, wedding etc) tools such as these can really help you work out where you are at, and how long your savings goal is going to take you.

I would always recommend moving savings to a separate bank or savings account each month, as the temptation of having it in your normal account can be hard to manage. You can use a standing order to transfer it automatically, and obviously should you need to dip into it you can, but at least the majority of it is moved out of the main account and therefore you are less likely to access it.

Obviously there are other ways to build up your savings too. Some of my favourite ways are clearing out your clutter and selling items you already have at home but which you don’t use. You can use Facebook marketplace, eBay, Gumtree or any other selling platform which is popular in your area. I personally prefer using Facebook, as it is free, quick and easy to list, plus people can come and get the items straight away. The downside with this is that the items are only going to be seen or chosen by a relatively local audience. If your item is small and easily packaged up, a platform like eBay may be more suitable – but don’t forget to include postage costs in your listing, and bear in mind that both eBay and PayPal take a fee too.

Other popular ways to bring in extra money include side hustles like mystery shopping or taking part in surveys and research, or picking up extra shifts at work, or even getting part time hours in another job.

Other ways to help build up your savings is to review your budget. What are you spending money on that you could cut back on or even cut out altogether? That gym membership you never use could be extra money in your savings every month, and that expensive TV package you hardly ever watch could also reduce your monthly spending. Meal planning can cut down waste at home, which in turn can reduce your supermarket spends, and being more frugal with things like heating the house (extra jumper anyone) can also make a dent in your spending.

What things are you going to try to build up your savings?

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