Five lifestyle changes that could boost your investments
Please note this blog post was published over 12 months ago and so may not include the most up-to-date information, for example where regulation around investing has changed.
One of the biggest investment lessons is to invest ‘little and often’ into a diversified Portfolio over many years to grow a sum that will satisfy your goal.
However, if you can change the ‘little’ in ‘little and often’ into ‘little and a little bit more’, you could end up achieving your goal sooner, or achieve a bigger goal pot than originally planned.
Of course, you can’t just magic extra money to tuck away into your investments. What you can do is give yourself a pay rise by making a few small changes to your spending habits. Over a year, small changes result in big changes, potentially giving you hundreds if not thousands extra to invest and reach your goal sooner.
1. Cycle to work = £780 extra a year to invest
If you get the bus or tube to work, you might spend £15 or more a week on a pass. It isn’t that expensive, and you can easily justify the cost for getting to work.
Have you considered how much that £15 a week is over a year? By cycling to work instead of buying the weekly pass, you could save £780, which in effect is close to giving yourself a 2.59% pay rise if you are on the UK’s average £27,000 salary.
If you drive yourself to work, consider the savings you could make on petrol by cycling or car sharing. Everything adds up, especially when you annualise costs over a year.
2. Cut back on takeaways and lunch out = £3,120 extra a year to invest
One of the beautiful things about taking a financial health check is that it can translate into a literal health check!
Let’s face facts, for many of us the tastiest foods are the ones loaded with fat and sugar. These are also often the most convenient foods, and sometimes the most expensive foods.
If you were to cut back on your takeaways and the other junk foods and you’ll be surprised at what the savings could be. Replace your bag of oven chips with a bag of iceberg lettuce, and you’ll get an idea of how health benefits are also cost benefits.
By spending £10 less a week on takeaways and cutting out a daily £5 lunch spend to make your lunch at home, you could save £35 a week. Add on another £20 saving for all the junk food you cut out of your weekly supermarket shop and you’re saving £55 a week by taking a diet. That’s £220 a month saved, or £2,860 over the year. You’ll look and feel great, as well as be financially better off.
3. The coffee cliché is true = £468 extra a year to invest
Every personal finance article you’ve ever read seems to roll out the same line about skipping store-bought coffees to transform your bank balance.
The truth is, this cliché turns up time and time again for a reason – it really is a big difference maker. A coffee-to-go can feel like an absolute must and with a Coffee shop on every corner, advertising sugar-loaded speciality coffees, it really can be quite hard to resist. A quick caffeine boost can feel like it will make all the difference to your day.
However, if you resist that short-term boost, perhaps swapping it for a home-made coffee, you could see a longer-term financial boost. If you succumb to a store coffee three times a week, that’s around £9 on medium Cappuccinos. That works out at £468 over a year, likely more if you are getting the occasional speciality coffee.
4. Cut the cord = £480 extra a year to invest
Watching television is as simple as ever thanks to the range of digital devices and streaming services.
If you are paying for a HD television package with sports, movies and entertainment you’re probably looking at least £50 per a month, maybe more. Do you really need 800 channels? Cut the cord and you’ll find there’s plenty of alternative content to consume across the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime for under £10 a month.
5. Invest the difference
The lifestyle changes featured here are just a few ideas to get you started. If you stop to think about your spending habits, you’ll identify plenty of savings opportunities unique to your own circumstances.
A good way to identify budgeting opportunities is to annualise your spending. Go through last month’s bank statement and add up all the areas of spending. Think about all the little seemingly innocuous purchases you made here and there. Then multiply this by the twelve months of the year – you’ll be surprised by how much you are spending. By reining back even a little bit, it could add up to big savings.
What you do next is what really matters. You could put those savings to work by investing them in a globally-diversified portfolio, via a Stocks & Shares ISA, Personal Pension or General Investment Account.
The potential growth in your investment over time could be enough to realise your long-term financial goals. The earlier you start with these lifestyle changes, the more your money can benefit from compound growth.
Think about the sums highlighted in this article, if you made and added up all these changes that’s £4,588 extra a year to invest. If you divide that by 12 and set up a direct debit to invest £382 a month, you could have £94,100 after 15 years (assuming 5% growth after fees).
Consider what savings fixes you can make today, do more with your money.
The calculations take into account our average annual fee of 1.16, they don’t take into account the impact of inflation, which will reduce returns, and assumes you only make the contributions as set out. With investing, your capital is at risk. Investments can fluctuate in value and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Tax rules can change at any time. This blog is not personal financial advice.