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‘Swap, don’t sacrifice’ to save £3,000 a year

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Young Brits can save thousands of pounds a year by making minor changes to their spending habits, new research reveals.

Analysis by Barclays shows the average millennial could save more than £3,000 without having to make huge sacrifices.

Clare Francis, director of savings and investments at the bank, said: “There’s a common myth that you have to become a hermit if you want to save money. But that’s not the case. Think swap, not sacrifice.

“That could mean making yourself a coffee in the office once a week or inviting friends over every now and then instead of going out. The beauty of these small swaps is that by simply tweaking your lifestyle, the savings you make can be huge.”

The research found the average 20-37-year-old spends £3,312.72 a year on takeaways, eating out, daily treats, socialising and buying new clothes.

This is broken down as follows:

• £904.20 a year on socialising
• £738.96 a year on new clothes, shoes and accessories
• £705.96 a year on eating out
• £522.60 a year on takeaways
• £441 a year on daily treats (coffees etc.)

But the study said that making small ‘swaprifices’ such as replacing every fifth takeaway, shop-bough coffee and night out with free alternatives or having a night in, could save millennials up to a £662.54, on average.

Francis said: “We tend to spend when we feel like we are missing out, such as a night out with friends, or because something is convenient, like buying a morning coffee instead of making one in the office.

“These might seem like great choices in the moment, but we need to ask ourselves whether it’s worth the short-lived buzz, or storing the money up for a longer term goal in an ISA where it can also benefit from the extra interest.”

To help you find the balance between every day spending and future saving, Dr Pete Brooks, head of behavioural finance at Barclays, offers his top tips:

1. Have a goal in mind. If you know what you are working towards, it’s much simpler to make the swaprifices that will help you get there.
2. Make your goal public. Tell your friends, family, even post it on social media – not only will this help your resolve, if your willpower wanes, you will have plenty of people around you to put you back on track.
3. Work out what triggers you to spend on the things you can do without so you can avoid the situation. This could be changing your daily route to work.
4. Start by making one or two changes and slowly add to them. As the changes become ‘norm’, it will become easier to get into the swing of a lifestyle that allows you to spend on the things you really enjoy, and save for the things you want in the future.
5. Still do the things you enjoy. For example, mix going to gym classes with free activities like a local running club.
6. Set up a standing order so some of your pay instantly goes into a separate savings pot.

7. Consider cash. If you have to physically hand over money, you will become a lot more aware of how much you are spending and much more likely to question whether you really need the item by the till.
8. Before you make a purchase, step away and give yourself time to think. In the moment, it can be so easy to give into temptation and buy the thing in front of you.
9. Make the most of your available tax-free allowance and put your money into an ISA.

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