Published 17 August 2022
If you’re new to saving, then it can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re hoping to save up enough money to afford a deposit on a house. The amount of money needed can seem so huge that it’s difficult to know where to start.
We’ve put together some tips to help you get started with saving money, which you can use alongside our regular savings calculator to help you get started.
Before you use our savings estimator, it’s a good idea to put together a budget. That means that, as well as helping you to stay on top of your monthly expenses and day-to-day spending, you’ll easily be able to see how much money you can realistically set aside as savings.
To get started you’ll need to have details of all your expenses, so it’s worth spending some time looking through your bank statements to figure out how much you spend on fixed monthly costs. This can include things like:
You should also get an idea of how much you spend on variable expenses. That could include things like:
Then, you need to look at how much you have coming in from your salary or other income, how much you have going out, and see what’s left. You can use a spreadsheet to do this or there are lots of budget planners available online.
If you’re spending more than you have coming in, or if there’s not enough spare cash leftover to put into savings, then you might want to think about whether you can cut back.
Maybe you pay £100 a month for a gym membership but you haven’t been for ages? If you cancel your membership and saved the money, you won’t miss the cash and will have effortlessly saved £1,200 in a single year.
Or maybe you need to review your household bills instead. Although bills are undoubtedly getting more expensive, there may still be ways you can save, perhaps by changing to a cheaper mobile phone contract, or ensuring you’re on the right council tax rate.
Let’s say you want to save £20,000 for a house deposit. It’s a lot of money, but you can use our savings goal calculator to work out how much you need to set aside each month, and how long it’ll take you to reach the goal amount.
It can seem less daunting if you break your goal up into chunks. So rather than thinking you need to save £20,000, you could break it down into four chunks of £5,000 - or even twenty chunks of £1,000.
You may find it easier to set up a standing order and transfer the money from your account every month on pay day - that way the money will be in your savings account before you even notice it’s gone.
Finally, make sure that your savings are working as hard as they can for you. There are lots of different places and types of account where you can save your money, depending on the amount you’re saving and your goals.
If your goal is to buy a property, then our savings planner will help you to understand when this might be feasible for you, based on how much you can put aside every month.
Saving up your deposit, especially as a first time buyer, can be the hardest part of the whole process.
The bigger your deposit, the more likely you are to get a better mortgage deal and a lower interest rate, so it could be worth taking a little longer and saving as much as possible.
However, that’s not to say that you can’t get a good mortgage if you have a lower deposit. If you’re not sure what type of mortgage you might be eligible for, you can get started with our Online Mortgage Finder.
Most first time buyers put down between 5 to 10% of the property value as a deposit. Whilst having a deposit of 15% or more will give you a better mortgage deal, there are options for those with a deposit of 5% and there are also government schemes to support those who are eligible to buy a new home.
It’s a good idea to do your research on the cost of houses in the area you’re looking in and get an understanding of how much the type of properties you’re interested in are selling for. Speaking to local agents and looking at property websites is a good place to start.
Once you know how much you need to save for your deposit, it’ll be easier to make a plan to reach that goal. You can use our long term savings calculator to work out how much you need to save every month to get you to the deposit amount you need.
If you know you want to save £20,000 in three years, for example, then you’ll need to save around £556 per month.
Or if you want to save £10,000 and know that you’re able to set aside £200 a month, then our calculator will show that it’ll take you about four years and two months to reach your goal.
Some UK experts suggest you should save 20% of your income every month. That’s based on the 50-30-20 rule, where 50% of your income goes towards essentials (including your monthly mortgage repayment), 30% is used for discretionary purchases, and you save the other 20%. However, the amount you can realistically save should be dictated by your income, goals, and other commitments - there’s no set rule that works for everyone. If you’re saving for something specific, or have a target amount in mind, you can work out how much you should set aside each month and how long it’ll take you to reach that goal. The savings calculator can help make this task easier.
In the UK, most mortgage lenders require that you have at least 5% of the value of the property to put down as a deposit. Generally, though, you’ll get a better deal if you have 10% or 15% to put down. If you’re looking to buy a property valued at £300,000, you’ll start to see better rates if you have a deposit of at least 10% of the amount you want to buy for, or £30,000.
Many mortgage lenders offer 90% deals, which means you’ll need a 10% deposit, although you’ll usually get a better interest rate if you have a bigger deposit saved up. If you’re looking to buy a property for, say, £200,000 and you want to save the £20,000 needed for a 10% deposit, you can use our savings calculator to work out how long it’ll take you to save your goal amount.
It’s commonly said that you should save up the equivalent of three to six months of your salary, so you have a contingency fund in case of emergencies to help cover your monthly repayment and other bills. It can be easier to save smaller amounts regularly, rather than saving larger amounts occasionally. You can use our savings calculator to work out how much you should be setting aside every month if you have a particular savings goal in mind.
We've got lots of useful mortgage calculators to help you find out more about how much you can borrow, what it will cost, what fees will be involved and what else you should consider.