Rainy days were always the worst as a child. Unable to go out and play, stuck inside with the same old colouring books and the same old films on the TV. But they’re even worse now you’re all grown up.
Rainy days as an adult don’t involve weather at all but instead an emergency expense that can push your financial stability to its limit. Whether it’s a washing machine breakdown, a car battery failure while out of town or a surprise parking ticket, rainy days need to be prepared for. Not with wellington boots though but with a good savings umbrella.
If you want to be sure you’re always protected in those bleak, damp hours here’s how to accumulate enough savings to shelter you from the storm:
Set a goal
It’s important when saving that you have a goal in mind to work towards, otherwise you may be inclined to be a little cheeky on slower months and dip into this savings account.
Think about those past expensive last minute expenses and how much they usually cost, then aim for a figure that covers these. £300 is a good amount, the average cost of labour per hour for a mechanic to fix your car is £56 for example – add parts and VAT on top and something going wrong on your vehicle can quickly add up.
Another common expense is a white good that you use every day breaking down – such as your washing machine or fridge. Of course, the cost of this all depends on what has broken and what part has gone wrong. You can pick up spare parts online ready for a professional to install, to save money, but £100 to £200 is probably a good amount to have spare for if such a problem should arise.
It’s hard to predict how much you’ll actually need, so try first for a rough figure between £100 – £300 and build up from there. Your savings can always help towards an expense too, if you need to use your current account but they can help soften the blow.
Find the right savings account
Don’t rely on a piggybank to keep your pennies safe – a good savings account is vital and you need one that offers great interest rates while allowing you the freedom to tap into your money whenever it’s needed.
The Money Advice Service recommends setting up a standing order, so a set amount of money is always transferred into your savings account each month. You’ll come to think of this as part of your monthly budget so it shouldn’t affect things too much – and if you do really need it ensure you sign up for an instant access savings account so you can grab that money back out if needs be.
If you want a little more strictness when it comes to your savings, then a regular savings account may be a good idea. It restricts you on how many times you can access it throughout the year. However, you can only put in a certain amount of money each month but the interest rates are usually much higher than a normal savings account, which outweighs this.
Take a look at what your income and expenses look like
Before you do anything, you need to understand what money is coming in and when it is going back out again – sadly, there’s usually very little time in between these events.
Ensure that first, all the main bills are accounted: rent/mortgage, utility bills, water, council tax, buildings insurance, car insurance, broadband, car tax etc. then you can consider other everyday expenses such as food shopping and fuel.
Make a note of how much you usually have left over at the end of the month, this will tell you what you have to play with when it comes to savings.
Then increase that leftover sum
It’s likely you spotted some Direct Debits and bill payments you didn’t realise were still coming out or that you don’t need anymore – let’s be honest, you won’t be returning to that gym again. Take some time to cancel those that you won’t miss and free up that money to put aside for that rainy day fund.
Find better deals
You can always find better deals for simple things such as your food shopping, so it pays to shop around. While you might not think that quibbling over the price of a cucumber is worth it, all those pennies saved do add up. Swap your usual supermarket for a budget choice – such as Aldi or Lidl who offer the same value but at much lower prices.
Many people are also paying far more than they need to when it comes to things like their energy bills or insurance, so now it’s time to get on the phone to see what can be done to reduce the cost of these. It usually helps to wait until close to your renewal date, when the provider will send out a suggested cost for the year ahead.
Challenge this and you’ll usually find that the person on the end of the phone can find some magical discounts and deals to apply to your account that if you hadn’t rung and queried about would never have been applied. Cutting these costs down can once again free up funds to put towards that savings total.
Feeling ready to brave the wet weather? Keep working towards that savings goal with these tips and tricks and you’ll be under cover in no time!