When it comes to saving money, it is not always possible to squirrel away large amounts from every pay cheque. During a debt free journey in particular, priority is given to debt payments. With the exception of the emergency fund, it is challenging to find spare change to save. As such more flexible and simple money saving methods are necessary. One of my absolute favourites is skimming.
What is skimming?
If you’re not familiar with the term, skimming is the process of checking your bank account on a regular basis, at the end of the day perhaps, and transferring the odd pennies or pounds across to your savings.
As an example, if your bank account has a balance of £36.49 in it, you might choose to transfer 49p across into savings. This is particularly easy to do if you use an online banking app. I would definitely suggest checking to see if your bank offers one.
The benefits of flexibility
The great thing about skimming is that you are fully in control. Each time you put your money into savings you decide how much is transferred. This gives you the flexibility to decide on an amount based on the way your day, week or even your month is going.
It may be that you’re in the middle of a month filled with birthdays, your car tax is due and your car’s MOT is looming too. It’s likely to be an expensive month and so you would keep your skimming amounts to a minimum. Pennies would still be moved into your savings account, but really you need all the money you have this month.
On a quieter month however, that might change. No big plans are in the diary and you feel far more relaxed about your expenses? You may choose to skim larger amounts this month. Instead of moving pennies, you might even move pounds. Try rounding your account balance to the nearest £5 and you will see your savings total rise very quickly!
The same is also relevant to your income level of course. At the moment, you may find yourself very stretched and panicking about ever finding “spare” money to save. You just don’t have it! Begin by skimming pennies. Your balance is £24.63? Skim 3p. I know it sounds ridiculous. How can that possibly add up?! It will, I promise. Begin there and then adjust as your debt goes down and your budget relaxes.
How much can I save?
Skimming is an effective way to save because your are transferring small amounts of money on a regular basis. Say for example you skim and average of 50p each day. In one week that would add up to a total of £3.50, enough for a coffee. In one month you would have £15.00 in your savings account. That’s a small amount, but it’s growing.
Let’s go a little further. After one year of skimming 50p each day, your total will now have reached £182.50. Now that to me, is a good amount of money. Do some maths with your own finances. How much do you think you can reasonably skim on a daily basis? Don’t set it as a strict goal, just have a look.
What about when you reach a more comfortable stage with your finances? You decide that you are actually able to save £2.50 on average each day. In one year, this would become £912.50. That really is a significant amount of money. That would completely cover Christmas for most families, or buy a lovely holiday. The compound effect is an amazing thing.
Take a moment now to look at your account and skim some pennies. Then come back in a month and let me know how you’re getting on!
Once you have grasped skimming you should take a look at this post. Emma from Emma and the Girls has written a great post on 18 ways to save money in 2018. If you’re a student in particular, check out this post from Student Skint!