How we saved almost £10k in 12 months

Saving money can be extremely difficult, but it's not impossible. It is surprising how much money you can actually save by cutting back on a few (not always all) luxuries and switching your products for slightly cheaper versions.  Getting into the initial mindset of saving money can be hard at first, but if you have something you really need or want to save for, you can do it.

In the short space of twelve months, between my husband and I we have saved almost £10K. It wasn't easy - it took a lot of willpower and at times it was challenging, but we had a goal that by the beginning of 2018 we wanted a house deposit and we've done it. Although it has helped that we both have decent wages and we were able to put a big chunk of that money away each month, there has been plenty of other things that we have done to top up our wages and reach our money saving target. From mystery shopping to filling out academic studies, to selling on eBay and the odd flutter with match betting, there's a lot of money to be made online for those able to put the time in.

Below are a few hints and tips to inspire those looking to save up, whether you're planning on saving your dream holiday or a house deposit, a new handbag or a rainy day fund.

Analyse your incomings and outgoings

The first thing you must do when you're planning on saving money is to analyse your incomings and outgoings. Pay attention to your monthly bills and tot up how much of your wage you have left when everything has been paid for. Once you have your overall total, you can then give yourself a weekly budget of how much money you would ideally like to live on and put the rest into savings.

Make a plan

One of the best ways to stick to saving money is to write down a plan or have an overall end goal. Figure out what you want the money for, when you want it by and how you are going to do it. Set yourself monthly challenges and once you have reached half-way, reward yourself - it will keep you motivated.

Register for cashback websites 

Make money back from any shopping you do by registering on cashback sites such as Top Cash Back or Quidco - you can earn a percentage of your shopping back by using an affiliate link on their website and you would be surprised how quickly it all adds up.  Many banks now have cashback schemes and it is worth discussing these with a bank advisor to see if it is worth you registering. You may have to pay a small fee (we pay £5 a month), but we get almost £10 a month back based on all the bills that we pay.

Grab freebies with your weekly shop

Two of my favourite apps on my phone are Shopmium and Check Out Smart. These apps give you discounts and often freebies with your weekly supermarket shop. If you're thinking, what is the catch? There isn't any. These apps are set up so that you can try new products, in the hope that the brands will get new customers. Shopmium also has a market research section, where you can leave reviews of the product once you have tried them and these will be passed back to the company. Over the last year and a half  I've had nearly £100 worth of freebies. If you would like your first freebie on Shopmium, register for an account and use KHUAAUYP to get a free jar of Nutella.

Sell your unwanted items

One of the quickest and easiest ways of making money is to sell your unwanted items on Facebook selling groups, apps such as Depop, Shpock or Vinted or on eBay. We all have items in our homes that we do not use on a regular basis, so it's always worth taking a hard look at these items and if you know they are never going to get used again, you can make some money from them.

Buy and sell for profit*

Buying and selling items for profit can be frowned upon, but if you have an eye for a deal and you know that you can make extra money from selling it on, why not? You can buy stock from car boot sales, charity shops or even grab items in sales on the high street. We found a vinyl player in a reduced section for £7.99 - brand new in the box, they were just selling this for old stock and we managed to sell it for £40. I also bought a beautiful pair of shoes for 99p in a charity shop and I didn't intend on selling them as I really liked them, but they didn't fit quite right - I gave them a £5 starting bid on eBay hoping that I would get £2-3 profit, but they went for £50! Of course, not all buying and selling for profit goes well, so you need to have a backup plan on what you're going to do with any old stock.

Help academics with their studies*

Another website that I really enjoy is Prolific. Profilic studies is a website where you can help university students with their research. The studies are incredibly varied and well paid and you it's worthwhile doing them as you know that you will be making a difference, helping students across the world with their studies. Over the last year, I've made £180 and could have easily made more if I dedicated more time to the website.

Sign up for surveys*

Surveys can be incredibly laborious, but if you have the spare time it is always worth registering to a few survey sites and doing these whilst watching television on an evening.  Although many pay only 5 to 10p per time, it will eventually add up. Swagbucks, OnePoll,  YouGov and Opinion Outpost are just a few of them, but it is worth looking around the internet to see which ones suit you and the time you have available the best.

Become a mystery shopper*

If you enjoy shopping and have a keen eye for detail,  you should consider mystery shopping. Mystery Shopping is as the name describes, where you go into a shop pretending to be a normal customer, but you will have a set of questions you will need to fill in about the service.  Mystery shopping is a great way of getting free meals, free food, free clothes and earning a bit of money on the side. There are many ways you can do this - you can register for apps such as Field Agent or go down the more formal route of websites such as Market Force.

Experiment with matched betting

Matched Betting isn't for everyone, especially those with an addictive nature and it can require some consideration, but if you are sensible with money and don't mind gambling, it can be a good way of earning a little bit of extra money. If you haven't heard of Matched Betting before, Matched Betting is where you take advantage of free bets that companies offer and place a bet backing both sides, making it a win-win situation. There's quite a lot of maths to do and it takes a lot of concentration, but if you follow many guides available online, there is money to make. We made just over £500 tax free last year before we had to stop - if you're applying for a mortgage, don't do any Matched Betting within six months of your application as it will show up on your statements and lenders do not like gambling as it shows risky behaviour.

Make money from your hobbies*

Finally, if you have a hobby that enables you to create physical or digital products or something creative that you can share with the world, why not consider making money from it? This can range from selling graphics online to selling artwork, making bathbombs or candles to even setting up your own blog if you are passionate about writing. These probably won't make you money straight away, but it's a great long term time investment and could pay off in the future.

If you are making money, even a small amount you may need to consider declaring this to HMRC - the items with asterisks next to them means that money will need to be declared as they are taxable incomes.

What are you saving money for?



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