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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

One of the toughest parts of budgeting can be making your money last until the end of the month. So, what if you were to set yourself a daily wage? This could help you make it to payday without having to rely on an arranged overdraft or credit card.

How it works

  1. Draw up a monthly budget – using your last 3 months of earnings and spending – to help you estimate. Then set aside your money for your bills, rent/mortgage, and other necessities. 


    For HSBC customers using our mobile app, 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. It then subtracts that amount from your current balance to show you what you could have left.

  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.
  3. Divide the remaining amount by the number of days until you’re next paid (probably 30 or 31).
  4. Set yourself the target of only spending this much a day.
  5. If you’re managing your spending money between 2 different accounts, you can set up a standing order to pay that money in daily, so it’s done automatically.


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, 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 shortly 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. 

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

Explore: 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. Saving a little each day can start to add up – 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. In 1 year, you’ll end up with £667.95 plus any interest you earn.

If you're an HSBC customer, 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.

Explore: Challenges to help you save money

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 could earn over time. It's one of the advantages of putting even a little amount away in a savings account.

How it works

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

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 add £20 a month to that initial £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.

Pay bills annually

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

Paying large one-off bills at different points throughout the year is sometimes tricky, but it can save you money.

How it works

  1. Check if any of your suppliers offer this discount and make a list, noting down when your annual payments are due.
  2. Over the next few months, put money aside to help you pay these bills on time.
  3. Once you've paid each bill, save the money you had been paying monthly to cover next year’s payment.
  4. Put the money you save (by paying annually) into your savings account.


AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate. This shows you what the gross rate would be if interest were paid and compounded each year.

Gross is the rate of interest paid before any tax (where applicable) has been deducted.