Making the Most of your First Wage Packet
For many young people, saving money is the last thing on the list of important things to do. If you’ve recently left school or college and started your first job you’ll perhaps be feeling pretty flush. However, making ends meet today is hard for most people and for those starting out in life it’s worth learning a few old tricks to make those first wage packets go as far as possible. Here are a few ideas to stretch those funds.
Online Security and Savings
• The internet is one of the best places to find a deal – and one most people are familiar with. If you plan to shop online you’ll need a bank account and you’ll need to register your card on sites that you use. Check that the site is secure; there should be a padlock icon and the web address should start with “https”. Watch out for spam emails pretending to be from your bank. Spam emails will ask for your banking details and passwords and normally suggest your account is locked or is going to be closed. Don’t panic but contact your bank by phone or email to let them know. Try to delete the email without attaching it and don’t follow any links to external sites. Your bank will not send you this sort of email.
• Learn to be loyal when shopping. High Street stores and supermarkets all offer loyalty cards. These allow you to build up points for money off on future purchases. Some schemes like the Nectar card offer a whole range of ways to save and things to spend the savings on. Sign up to as many as you can, but don’t mistake a “Store Card” for a Loyalty Card. The latter are a kind of credit card and you should think carefully before taking one of these on.
• If you buy magazines on a regular basis, keep a close eye out for any vouchers or offers available in these. Often these come in the form of buy one get one free offers or discounted books, CDs, subscriptions etc. They’re worth taking advantage off – but only if you actually planned to buy the item in the first place! Any vouchers you find, cut out and save until needed.
• If you’re moving away from home to set up on your own for the first time, go through all your stuff and see if there is anything you want to sell. You can, of course, do this at any time, but it’s always a good idea when moving home. Online auction sites are a good place to advertise as is a card in the local post office or supermarket.
• When shopping yourself don’t be afraid to visit Charity shops. You might have to fight your way through a lot of more mature members of society – be warned they can do your shins some damage with a Zimmer frame – but there are many bargains to be had. Clothes, books and music are available along with ridiculously cheap household goods.
When it comes to big expenses, such as holidays, always use the internet for British Airways discount vouchers and codes, comparison sites and try to book as far in advance as possible to maximise your savings. While saving money may not be your first priority when you first start earning, saving will allow you to make the most of your cash – and afford some of life’s little luxuries.
Written by The Spy, 25 April, 2012 - 00:41