I am creative, spontaneous, enthusiastic…. I am NOT sensible, safe or predictable which isn’t always the best combination for saving. In fact I have big spender tendencies which I have to keep very much in check! Since living on my own I’ve had the job of managing my own money for the first time in years and this has lead me to think about saving and ISA’s.

We all know we should be saving… but why? For a rainy day? Meh really? Actually there are many reasons I need to save and  I even enjoy saving up especially if it is towards something fun!

These are my top reasons for saving:

For the unexpected.

You know that moment when your car needs a new windscreen/tyre or paint job (if you’ve scratched it along the side of your neighbours house like I did a few weeks ago)! Yup that. How much better does that horrible moment feel when you know you’ve got something saved up to cover it. Phew

For a holiday

I like holidays. A lot. I don’t have the luxury of just being able to book and jet off so saving is the only realistic way I am ever going to step foot on an airplane!

For the future

Future plans like houses, babies, higher education etc. all cost money. My future sees me in a very beautiful old house full of lovely furniture and collectables with lots of children and a dog (Oh my I am turning into my mother!) Best get saving now!

For the things you really want

If you are anything like me you have a wish list. Mine is rather long and includes a SLR camera, a new laptop, an iphone, some motorbike leathers, a kitchen aid, a smeg fridge, a mountain bike, a new car… The only way any of these things are going to be a reality is by saving. Imagine how good it will feel when you can finally afford to splash out on that one thing you’ve been lusting after for ages!

For your little ones

Because little ones grow up into big ones that need things like university education and first cars! Gulp.

But what we really want to know is HOW to save? You will find a whole host of tips on how to save from the professionals online but here are my top 5 tips on saving.

1. Budget. Cut down on the expense of everyday living and you should have some money to put aside. This means looking carefully at what are necessities and what are luxuries. We live in a material world and I am a material girl. But really we don’t need a new nail varnish (use the one you already have) a new magazine (find something free to read online) or all the latest technology (your iphone 4 works just fine). Sure they are nice to have but if you are trying to save for something a little reality question to yourself of “Do I really need this?” does help.

2. Analyse. Set up an excel spreadsheet and work out where your money is going every month. Where are you overspending and what can you manage to cut out. Then you will be able to see how much you could free up to save.

3. Pay off your debt. The sooner your debts are paid off the sooner that cash is freed up to be spent on something else. Always a good place to start.

4. Put a plan in place. It may be simple but work out how much you need to save, by when and how much you can spare every month. Then stick to it.

5. Open an ISA. It is almost impossible to save if you are using the same account you spend from. If you bank online there are easy ways to set up a savings account. Transfer money each month (as soon as you have been paid) and track your savings so you have the satisfaction of seeing your goal coming closer and closer.

There are some great sources of information online on ISA’s and how to start saving. Check out Lloyds TSB for more info and to find the best Lloyds TSB account for you.

Now to follow my own advice!

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