How I learnt to save

5 mins | 13 May 2024

Ashiana Pradhan
Ashiana Pradhan

Chase writer Ashiana Pradhan was 26 before she realised that she hadn't saved any of her income and that her friends had a head start on her. Finding this out inspired her to create a savings plan, and this is how she did it.

I've always been rubbish when it comes to money – the irony of working as a writer for a bank is not lost on me. But this belief doesn't come from nowhere. People are only financially savvy when they've been taught to be. Be that by their parents, from school (why did we never have a lesson on what a mortgage means?) or even their peers. I simply wasn't taught how to manage my cash.

When I started making money, I spent it – never considering that one day I may want to buy a home, or more realistically, invest in an expensive haircare product for my untameable frizz. I didn't think to tuck any money away for the proverbial rainy day. But my friends did, and I only started realising this later on when I thought it was too late. I was wrong. It's never too late to learn how to save.

Starting small

Like any attempt to adopt or change a habit, it's better to take baby steps. With a big change, you'll scare yourself and go back to your default. When I was 26, I opened an Individual Savings Account (an ISA). Now, £200 comes out of my account every month and has done for just over five years – without fail. Today, I've got around £12,000 saved.

If you want to start even smaller, consider opening a Chase round-up account¹. This works by rounding up your debit card purchases to the nearest pound and automatically saving the difference into a separate account that earns interest. If you check back in a year, you may have a tasty sum to be proud of.

18+, UK residents. Chase current account required to open a round-up account

Asking people

One thing I've learnt is that people love giving money tips. Grilling my ex on all his financial habits instilled a sense of ambition in me. I, too, wanted to be able to confidently speak about things like investments, budget spreadsheets and spending trackers. And now I can – albeit with an internal giggle.

I asked my friends which savings accounts they used, how they identified which stocks to put their money in and whether they could send me a template to help me figure out where all my money was going. Spoiler alert – it mostly went on late-night taxis and takeaways.

Your friends and family know you, and they may have also been in your shoes once or twice. Ask them what they do and how, and cherry pick the ideas that work for you. In a few years, you could be the one imparting money tips.

Making sacrifices

Before learning how to save, I was frivolous because I was oblivious to the fact that you shouldn't spend every penny you earn. Now, I make big and small sacrifices, every day. Small things like sharing a suitcase with a friend I'm going on holiday with, avoiding social plans on weekdays and setting aside a percentage of my salary each month to feed my savings account.

Then there are big ones. Last year, I chose to move further away from central London to save money on rent. Luckily, I stayed in a family home and got to keep my monthly salary for the first time in 10 years.

Sometimes, when I'm away from my pals and the office, I feel isolated. But then I think about where I want to live and the kitchen island I'll have with the money I've saved. Each month, I've tucked away exactly what I'd be paying in rent, and in just nine months I've saved more than I have my entire adult life. So, whether it's a tiny sacrifice or a big one, do what you can for future you.

Adopting tricks

If you're anything like me, you're no stranger to dipping into your overdraft or playing fast and loose with the credit card. With my savings hat on, I wanted to get rid of my debt. To do that, I opened up a balance transfer credit card with a 0% rate for 18 months (as long as you make your minimum payments each month). I then transferred my credit card balance to that account and calculated the amount I'd need to repay every month to get back to zero. Beware that sometimes there's a fee to pay for a balance transfer.

I then paid that amount into a high-interest savings account instead of back to the credit card while also meeting the minimum payments and avoiding charges. At the end of the 18-month term, I had repaid the full amount on the balance transfer credit card and had modest savings from the interest earned.

Having a goal

All that sacrifice and effort has got to be for something, right? Sit and really think, about what you want in life. Whatever it is, I'd hazard a guess that it'll cost something. From my perspective, I hated the feeling of worrying about money so much that I felt inclined to do something about it. I also have a dastardly curse of liking nice things, so there's that. But the real dream is to have a home I'm proud of – and I'll do what I can to achieve it.

Whether you want the same thing or something totally different, saving is typically how you'll get there. Starting from nothing is more than OK – as long as you have a goal, a dedicated mindset and a willingness to learn.

Whatever you decide to do, look after your money. Chase's easy-access saver account lets you start saving with as little as you like.

18+, UK residents. A Chase current account is required to open a saver account. With investments, your capital is at risk.

Disclaimer: The Hub is intended as a knowledge portal to provide information on a range of topics, including financial products. Articles may reference products and services that Chase UK does not currently offer. This article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. We do not offer any tax advice. If you're unsure about credit card consolidation please seek financial advice.

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