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Saving tips: how time can mean money

Time is money, or so the saying goes. But are there ways time can help you make money? Or, can the way you time things help save you money?

Here are 4 practical ways to use time to your advantage:

Pay yourself a daily wage

Ever run out of money before pay day? If so, you’re not alone. For centuries people were paid daily, be it in goods, or money. Now, one of the toughest parts of budgeting can be making your money last throughout the month. So, what if you were to set yourself a daily wage? This could help you make it through to pay day without having to rely on an arranged overdraft, or credit card.

How it works

Step 1

Draw up a monthly budget using your last 3 months of earning and spending to help you estimate. Then set aside your money for:

  • bills
  • rent/mortgage
  • savings (this can be done at a later stage if you want to focus on making ends meet)

Tip: For HSBC customers using our mobile app on an iPad or iPhone, you can use the Balance After Bills tool  to do this. Based on your regular bills, it estimates what you'll owe for the month ahead. Then it subtracts that amount from your current balance to show you what you could have left.

Step 2

If you can, separate these amounts from your spending money by putting them into another account, or pot, as soon as you get paid. Remember, if you move the money for your bills into another account or pot, you’ll have to put that money back into your account when your bills are due.

Step 3

Divide the remaining amount by the number of days until you’re next paid (probably 30 or 31).

Step 4

Set yourself the target of only spending this much a day.

Step 5

If you’re managing your spending money between two different accounts, you can set up a standing order to pay that money in daily so it’s done automatically.

Example

Say you have £900 left after taking care of the core expenses listed above, this means you’d end up with £30 a day in a 30-day month. Every day you would try to spend within that amount. There may be exceptions, like if you do a weekly shop, but ideally you’d account for that by spending less in the days before, or the days after.

This system isn’t for everyone as it involves a fair bit of management. Ideally you would transfer your daily wage from another account, or pot, each day to stop you from overspending. 

But if you’re not able to do that, even being aware of that daily amount can help guide your spending decisions and give you something to think about throughout the day.

Explore more: How to make good spending decisions

Save a little, often

If you’ve got a savings account but are finding saving difficult, you can take some steps to make it easier. The key to developing a habit is doing something often. So, you could try reducing the amount you’re aiming to save and increasing the frequency. A little a day can end up being a lot – even starting with 1p can make a difference.

How it works

Start by paying in 1p to your savings, then 2p the next day, 3p the next day and so on. If you’re able to do this for a year you’ll end up with £667.95, as well as any interest you earn.

If you’re with HSBC, you can do this through mobile or online banking. It should only take a few moments.

If doing this daily sounds like too much work, you could try doing the same thing weekly instead. Pick an amount that seems manageable, like 50p or £1, and then increase it by that amount each week. If you start with £1 and increase the amount you save by £1 each week, you’ll end up with £1,378 in a year’s time.

Compound your interest

Unless you’re a scientist, the word compound may not get you overly excited. But when it comes to saving money – it should. Or, at the very least, it could.  

Compound interest is interest earned on interest. So, the earlier you put money away, the more interest you can earn over time. This is one of the big advantages of putting even a little amount away in a savings account and letting it grow.

How it works

It might not be that little, but if you take £1,000, for example, and put it in a savings account with an annual interest rate of 1.5% AER / Gross, you’d earn: 

  • £15.10 in interest in the first full year
  • £161.73 in interest by the end of year 10

Keep in mind, you can also keep adding to that amount to increase your savings (and the amount you earn in interest) over that time. For example, if you added £20 a month to that intial £1,000 deposit with an annual interest rate of 1.5% AER / Gross, you'd have:

  • £1,257.06 at the end of the first full year
  • £3,752.57 at the end of year 10

See more about compound interest and a detailed example.

Pay bills annually

Some companies will offer you a discount if you pay your bills annually, in full, rather than in instalments. This might apply to car or home insurance, for example.

It can be tricky to pay large one-off bills at different points throughout the year. But it can also save you a lot of money.

How it works

Step 1

Check if any of your suppliers offer this discount and make a list, including when your next annual payments would be due. 

Step 2

Over the next few months try to put money aside so you can pay these bills when they’re next due.

Step 3

Once each bill is paid, save the money you had been paying monthly to cover next year’s payment.

Step 4

Put the money you save by paying annually into your savings account.

What next?

Making sure you’re comfortable and confident in your finances can free up time and energy to focus on other things in life. 

See 9 steps to financial wellbeing

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