Saving for big occasions

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eve-1071353_640 Little things can mean a lot but big events can cost a lot. Hopefully you will either be planning them well in advance or have a lot of notice of them, so that you have time to get your finances in order with the help of our useful saving tips.
1. Start by making a budget
When you’re working out how much money you’re going to need, think about what is absolutely essential for your event, what is a nice to have (and how important it is to you) and what you can live without. The essentials are what you’re absolutely going to need to finance. The optionals will depend on how your saving goes.
2. Look at the state of your finances at the moment
Hopefully you’ll already have money left over at the end of each month, in which case you will need to decide how much of it to reallocate to saving towards this, specific event. If it’s not enough, or, if you’re not generating a cash surplus each month, then you will need to look at how you can make savings elsewhere. This means you need to know where your cash is going at the moment. Your bank statements will be a good place to start. Counter-intuitive as this may sound, start by looking at the small transactions; these are the likeliest candidates for (relatively) painless trimming. You may, however, find that your bank statements are too generic to be very helpful. For example, you may see that you spent money at a supermarket, but not actually remember what you bought. In that case, you need to start looking more closely at your receipts to see how much of your spending was actually essential and how much of it can be trimmed if need be. If this still isn’t enough then you’re going to have to look at ways of raising more money. Depending on how much is required and the nature of the event this could mean anything from selling your old stuff to asking for sponsorship to asking family and friends to contribute to the cost of your event.
3. Find a place where your money can make more money
Storing your pennies in a piggy bank will keep them near to hand, but you’ll make more money putting your savings to work in some way. Again, what you can do with your savings pot will depend on various factors, in particular how much time you have to grow your savings and whether or not you’ll need access to your money at short notice in the run-up to it. For events up to a year away, realistically speaking, some sort of instant-access, interest-bearing savings account is likely to be the only feasible option. If you’re working to a longer time frame then you may like to look at bonds or even investing in the stock market.
4. Try to save first and spend what’s left over
Aim to pay yourself first. Put away the necessary amount (or even a bit more) into your chosen savings vehicle; then use the remaining money as your budget for the month. By removing the money from your current account, you can encourage yourself to see it as “gone” and to work with the money you have remaining. If you aim to save a bit more than you actually need, then you always have the option of dipping into your savings if you absolutely have to. If you find yourself needing to dip into the money you have saved for your event’s essentials then it may be time to ask yourself if you need to rework your plans either to lower the cost of your event or to give yourself more time to save up for it.

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