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Money saving hints and tips

Saving a portion of your income if you can every month is a sensible and practical thing to do. But how much you can save will depend on a number of things including your working situation, income, lifestyle, dependents and any debts.

Here you’ll find some top tips help you put aside an emergency fund and save a little more each month.

How to save money every month

Income and expenses vary from person to person, so the amount you can save may differ widely. But, there are numerous ways to save money. It often comes down to establishing a money management system that suits your unique circumstances. Explore the suggestions below to see if they could be a good fit for you.

Pay yourself a weekly allowance

One way to set good spending boundaries is by setting yourself a weekly allowance. You can do this by working out what your monthly budget is (household income minus your outgoings) and then dividing it by how many weeks are in the month and categorising your spending into:

  • Essentials like bills, insurance and food – these are your needs
  • Treats, socialising and hobbies – these are your wants
  • Money to set aside in savings

Take care of the essentials first. Then you can decide how much allowance to give yourself each week, and how much to put into savings. Having a weekly allowance may prevent you from overspending and make managing your money that bit easier. 

Shop smarter

Food shopping is an essential expense for everyone, but it can often be made cheaper if you plan ahead. Some ways you can cut your costs include:

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it and avoid buying items you already have
  • Plan out the meals you’re going to have in advance so you can check which ingredients you’ll need
  • Batch cook to avoid creating any unnecessary food waste
  • Order online to make sure you’re not tempted by extra treats at the shops
  • Look out for own brand value alternatives to big name brands

Review your Direct Debits and subscription

Look for areas where you can make cost savings by cutting down your monthly subscriptions. Review whether you need all the different TV subscriptions you have and take a look to see if you could change the package to reduce costs. Also, look at any apps you’re paying for or fitness services you’ve subscribed to which you no longer need or use. The money you save could allow to kick start your savings.

What is an emergency fund?

Although lots of people save money to pay towards things like buying a house, a holiday or a new car, it’s wise to have some money set aside for financial emergencies. An emergency fund can help cover unplanned bills or payments that aren’t part of your usual monthly budget or if you lose your job. 

An emergency fund can help in situations like:

  • If you unexpectedly lose your job or are unable to work
  • Unexpected yet essential expenses, for example home or vehicle repairs
  • If your relationship status or living arrangements change unexpectedly
  • Unexpected vet bills

How much should I have saved for emergencies?

Ideally, you should try to make sure you have at least three to six months of essential living costs saved in an emergency fund. This just means you have a safety net to cover your essentials should the worst happen. 

Here’s how to calculate how much you’ll need to cover the essentials:

  • Examine your monthly income 
  • Work out your monthly budget. Add up how much you pay each month for:
    • Bills including rent/mortgage and utilities
    • Regular payments like a gym membership, phone contract, and other subscriptions
    • Living costs including food and clothing for you and any dependents.
    • Any debts you are paying off
  • Multiply your monthly budget by three or six to find out how much you ideally should have saved in your emergency fund
  • Compare your income and outgoings to find out how much you can realistically save each month towards your emergency fund. How long will it take to save enough? 

How to build up an emergency fund

Protect yourself and your family financially by building an emergency fund. Here are some tips for saving money for a rainy day:

Reduce your monthly outgoings

To save money you need to consistently spend less than you earn each month. Monitor your spending for a whole month so you can understand your habits and find ways to save money. Keep a record of everything you buy, including things like:

  • Itemised grocery shopping
  • Eating and drinking out
  • Toiletries and beauty products
  • Travel costs, including petrol, train or bus journeys
  • Expenses for hobbies and activities 
  • Clothing, footwear, and accessories

Open a savings account 

Opening a savings account gives you a designated place to save your emergency fund and helps you to be consistent with your savings. You can usually get a better interest rate with savings accounts than you would with a current account. 

At Sainsbury’s Bank, we have a range of savings accounts to choose from, including ISA’s and e-savers.

  • Defined Access Saver – our higher-interest savings account that lets you access your money up to three times a year, interest rate will reduce if more withdrawals are made
  • Variable Rate Cash ISA – save up to £20,000 each tax year and pay no tax on interest 
  • Fixed Rate Cash ISA - save your money with a guaranteed rate of return
  • eSaver Special – save money online and access it with no withdrawal restrictions
  • Extra Saver – with no withdrawal restrictions, you can access your money at any time 
  • Fixed Rate Saver - save money for a set period with a fixed interest rate

Find out more and compare all our savings accounts.


Set a realistic savings goal

It’s important to set a savings goal that’s both realistic and achievable. Trying to save too much money will only result in you needing to withdraw some of the money you’ve saved to cover costs. If you can, allow yourself a buffer to cover monthly outgoings after you have put some money into your savings. 

Set up a regular payment into your savings account

Treat your savings account as you would any other outgoing by setting up a standing order from your current account into your savings account. You can set this up to come out on payday or at the start or end of the month, so the money is securely in your savings account before you can be tempted to spend it.

Frequently asked questions

How much savings should I have?

It’s good to have enough money saved to cover at least three months of essential living expenses, but ideally up to six months. This is to protect you financially in emergency situations, such as if you unexpectedly lose your job. 

What is considered a good amount to save each month?

This depends on your personal circumstances and the amount of disposable income you have available. But, it's a good idea to save money regularly if possible, to be prepared for unexpected expenses and emergencies.