How To Save Money (Without Feeling Like You’re Saving)

4 min readOct 26, 2020

With wages cut, furlough on the horizon again, and a pay rise you might have not been expecting to happen, the financial hit we’ve all taken from COVID has been devastating for many. And although our wage is being stretched more and more each month, we’re still having to prepare for the ‘unknown’.

With more than 50% of our normal wage being spent on the big four — food, housing & fuel, transport, and recreation — this actually gives us very little wiggle room for saving, especially in a pandemic. But whatever your financial situation may be, here are a few ideas on how to save money (both during and after the pandemic) where it won’t really feel like you’re saving.

Track your budget

So you know how much you’re spending and are brilliant at finding a savvy deal, right? Each month, you’ll have a rough idea in your head of what you’re spending and how much you’ve saved, but the reality is it will usually go over that figure. With unexpected bills or a spontaneous night out (pre-pandemic of course), we usually end up spending more than we plan for.

One thing that can help everyone save a little more and keep an eye on their spending regardless is a budget tracker. According to The Balance, not only can budgeting trackers ‘help you become more aware of what you are spending and where you are spending it’, but they can also ‘identify the areas where you need to change.’

For an easy, convenient budget tracker while you’re on the go, use an app such as Mint. This free, easy to use app can be used either on your smart device or laptop. The algorithm makes budgets based on your spending and can easily, visually show where you can save — simple! Being able to see all of your bills and income in the same place, trackers such as Mint can help you make a budget (and actually stick to it this time).

Are you actually going to the gym?

With differing tier restrictions in place throughout the UK currently — and some of us feeling less comfortable with venturing outside — the chances are, you’re not using that gym membership. Whilst it is important to stay fit, it’s also healthy to exercise restraint on your wallet, and a simple way to do that is by cancelling any membership you no longer use.

Although a few quid each month doesn’t seem like a lot, all those fees add up. Memberships you don’t use and other subscription services can inflict more damage to your finances than other types of purchases. These automatic payments are typically small amounts of money, and are therefore too easy to forget.

So, go through your subscriptions and memberships and ask yourself: am I really using that? Is there a budget friendly alternative I can use? The answer will most probably be yes.

Keep the change!

One of the best things about the pandemic is the ease of contactless payments. With no annoying spare change to rattle around your pocket or bag, our lives feel lighter and less cluttered. But, even though that change was annoying, it is a simple way to save.

If you still use physical money, every time you buy something and get any change, keep it in your wallet and put it in a jar when you get home. Choose any container you want (like the classic piggy bank), wait until it’s full, and then deposit it into a coin machine at your local bank.

Do you only use contactless in your bid to control the spread of COVID? No problem! Banks such as Monzo give you the option to round up your payments to the next nearest £1, with the rest going into a virtual ‘Coin Jar’. Every time you make a purchase with your card, the excess will automatically be added to your savings and you won’t even know it’s gone!

Sure you might not save loads with this method, but this extra cash can definitely help you add a little more money into your rainy day fund.

Host events at home

Going out is expensive, isn’t it? Even with the price of a pint soaring, although going out feels more appealing than a year of staying in, not everyone has the budget for it.

Depending on your local restrictions, why not try hosting some events at home? With either you or your friends, grab some drinks or make a nice meal, and meet up with the people you care about. Similarly, if you can’t meet up with people inside, why not meet up in a local park (weather permitting). If it snows, you might not fancy a picnic, but going for a run or a walk around your local area is not only a free, cost effective activity, but can also help keep you connected to those you love during the pandemic.

Ultimately, however you choose to spend or save money, it’s always important to make sure you still see your friends and family. Although you may not be able to right now, due to self-isolating or living in a Tier 3 area, if your local rules permit it, find a way to see the ones who mean the most to you.

Written by Alison Irlam
Alison is a writer with a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing. Since finishing a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing and having her own experiences with mental health, she has dedicated her time to helping and empowering others to make positive changes in their own lives.




Discover and access health and wellbeing services based on your needs.