Five ways you can get into the habit of saving money

Tips from the experts at MoneySuperMarket

Pound coins money GBP currency, UK.

We all know it's a good idea to save a bit of cash each month.

But this can prove a challenge, particularly if money is tight.

Here are five tips that could help you start building a healthy pot of cash to use for holidays, Christmas presents or even retirement.

1. Make a budget

Jot down your income and outgoings so you can see where your money goes, and whether there's anything left over once all your bills have been paid.

This is the time to identify possible savings. What about that gym membership you never use? Have you got the best-value season ticket? Are you spending too much on take-aways?

2. Switch and save

There's no point spending more that you have to on utilities and services. So why not explore whether you could switch to a cheaper energy tariff?
And don't spend more than you need to on your car insurance or home insurance. Don't let your policy auto-renew with the same insurer at renewal – you'll more than likely save money by shopping around.

3. Set yourself a target

Hopefully, you'll now have freed up a sum you can salt away into a savings account each month.
Doesn't have to be a huge amount – just what you can afford. So make sure your target is realistic and achievable. If it isn't, you're setting yourself up for failure – but hitting your target month after month will make you feel you're in control and making progress.

4. Get the right account

There are lots of savings options.

With a regular saver account, you to pay in a set monthly amount for 12 months. This one takes some discipline, because you have to put the same amount in every month and leave your funds untouched during the 12-month period.

With an easy access account you can access your cash whenever you need it. You can also make deposits as and when you want to.

Watch out, though. Some easy access accounts limit the number of withdrawals you can make in a year. And some accounts have a temporary bonus interest rate, which means you'll need to switch to a better account at some point.

Another good option is a Cash ISA. Here, you don't pay tax on the interest – in non-ISA account, interest is currently taxed at 20% (and if you pay 40% or 45% tax, you have to pay the balance through your self-assessment form).

But bear in mind that, from April 6, 2016, the personal savings allowance comes into effect. It will mean that basic rate taxpayers can earn £1,000 of interest without paying tax on it.
If you're a higher rate tax payer, you'll be able to earn £500 in savings interest before you are taxed, though 45% taxpayers will still have to pay tax on all the interest they earn. Read more about this here.

5. Manage your money with a direct debit

If you can afford to make regular savings, consider setting up a monthly direct debit from your current account to your savings account of choice.

Pick a date just after you've been paid, otherwise you might end up dipping into what you should be saving.