How you can make your savings work harder

How to make the most of your savings

Saving money can seem like a step too far when you're trying to make your salary last to the end of the month, but it doesn't have to be such a headache.

Take a look at these handy tips to find out the best ways to not only boost your savings, but make the most of what you already have tucked away.

Consider splitting your savings

Depending on the lump sum you have to work with, and your current circumstances, splitting your savings could be beneficial. You could lock some of your cash in a fixed rate bond as well as putting the rest into a high interest rate current account. Whereas before savings of up to £85,000 were covered if the bank went under, regulations changed in 2016, and now only deposits up to £75,000 are covered: this makes it even more important to spread your savings.

Shop around for the best rate

Shopping around for the best rates is something we hear time and time again, but there's a reason - even if it takes a little longer it's worth it to find the best available rates. It also pays to be wary of the bank you use, because many of them belong to the same financial group, so if you hold more than £75,000 spread between banks in the same group, only the first £75,000 is covered.

Make use of credit cards

If you use them the wrong way a credit card can be a dangerous thing to have, but if you are careful with your spending and repayments they can be a great tool for giving you a little extra breathing space. A good idea is to switch your funds into a balance transfer credit card that charges 0% interest for an introductory term. Lastly make sure you are on top of your repayments.

Set up an automatic savings plan

With technology ever increasing, it's vital you make use of all the options on offer to you. Why not set up a regular amount to be transferred from your general account to your savings account? This way you don't manually have to do it and you're definitely saving a small amount each month. You can always top up the standard amount if you feel you can afford a little more one month, or take the money back if you have something you need to pay for.

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Vintage money-saving tips
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Vintage money-saving tips
Back then there was no choice, because the mass-produced microwaveable meal was just a glint in a marketing guru's eye, but now, cooking from scratch can save substantial sums.
The older generation learned that there were meat-free days of the week to save money, and that if you had meat you''d stretch mince with breadcrumbs, or buy cheaper joints and use every scrap.
Perfect fruit and vegetables and top-of-the-range brands are a new phenomenon. Buy generic non-branded food and fruit and vegetables in whatever size and shape is most affordable

Nowadays we rush around the supermarket grabbing things we like the look of - with little idea of what we're going to do with it. Making a list and thinking about what you buy can save you thousands of pounds over the course of a year.

There's no such thing as 'left-overs' there's just the ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. The remains of the meat can be stir-fried the next day, the vegetables blended into  soup, and the potatoes saved for bubble and squeak.

Try an experiment and eliminate everything from your life with the word disposable in the title. Not only will you save money, but your bin will take far longer to fill too.

Before you bin anything, think twice about whether you can give it a second life. Think carefully, does your granny have her tried and tested tips that she has a habit of mentioning, for instance, washing out freezer bags? If you mock, you're missing a trick and wasting money and resources.
Cutting out draughts and insulating your home properly can cut 10% off your heating bill.
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
If you save your washing and dish washing until you have a full load every time you'll save energy and save money.
Over the generations we have been sucked into believing the hype. In the days when adverts were few-and-far between, we managed without many of the things we consider essential nowadays. Re-consider what you buy, and why. Without advertising, would you buy any of it?
It's always cheaper to save in advance and plan a purchase than to rush in and borrow - which could end up costing you hundreds of pounds more in interest.
Older generations typically withdraw what they can afford to spend in cash and then leave their debit card at home or deep in their wallets. This has the advantage that they don't tend to reach for a debit or credit card and spend more than they can afford.
Because the older generations couldn't borrow their way out of trouble, they tended to plan more. Give your family a financial safety and a nest egg for the future.
Back when there were only a finite number of items of clothing to go around in a neighbourhood, people borrowed from each other for special occasions. Nowadays swapping and sharing can save substantial sums
Back in the 1940s when no-one had central heating, people got used to wearing another layer at home. Try lowering your thermostat gradually, and only stop when those around you start to notice - you'll be surprised how much you can save.
There was a time not so long ago when no-one could actually remember anyone who had actually bought a bike. They were passed through the siblings, then across family and friends networks, so that decades later, children were still learning to ride a bike for free. Of course it helps if you buy something gender-neutral, then you can hand it down, and reap the benefits as others hand expensive toys on to you.
In previous generations, neighbours would think nothing of asking each other to babysit, walk their dog, or to borrow a ladder. Nowadays we pay handsomely for babysitters and dog walkers, and each have an expensive ladder gathering dust in the shed.
The army of people who come to our homes to do odd jobs is a new phenomenon for all but the very wealthy. You may well have the skills required to complete these jobs, so get stuck in.

Ditch going out for dinner or browsing round the shops for taking a walk, visiting the beach with a picnic, or holding a family DVD night.

Nowadays we're constantly striving for a bigger TV, a flashier car and a better kitchen. Generations ago people never considered that they would ever be able to afford bigger, flashier and better, so they got on with the business of enjoying what they had.
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