How to Save Money and Live Well on a Smaller Budget

Saving for your first home can require a lot of patience, but it’s absolutely worth it. Here at Newcastle Building Society, we’re here to support first time buyers every step of the way towards the first rung of the property ladder.

Saving for your first home can require a lot of patience, but it’s absolutely worth it. Here at Newcastle Building Society, we’re here to support first time buyers every step of the way towards getting on the first rung of the property ladder.

Contrary to popular belief, budgeting so that you can save for your first home deposit doesn’t have to mean scrimping on the things you love, or drastically changing your current lifestyle. Below are our most simple tips for living on a budget so you can save money and live well, as you begin the journey to owning your very first home.

1. Be smart with your shopping

Eating on a budget doesn’t mean tinned beans are on the menu for the foreseeable future! To avoid the mark-up in supermarkets, and save money on your grocery shopping, buy your fresh produce from local markets. Grab any last minute deals by going right before closing time.

Don’t have any nearby markets? Shop more smartly in the big supermarkets instead. The mySupermarket app sends supermarket offer alerts to your phone, and you can even scan products as you shop to see if they’re cheaper in other places; perfect for those trying to be more careful with their money.

2. Eat wisely and reduce your waste

Most budgeting advisers will suggest planning your meals ahead, and with reason. According to Love Food Hate Waste, the average UK family with children wastes just under £60 worth of food every month. Over the year, that really adds up.

So make a plan for your weekly meals and keep stock of what you have in the fridge, so that nothing goes to waste. It’s also advisable to recycle leftovers and cook in bulk to get maximum mileage out of your meals. Why not invest in a couple of budget cook books that are perfect for those who are counting the pennies?

3. Stay up-to-date with local events

There’s a common misconception that saving money means sacrificing your social life. Fortunately, this isn’t true at all. Stay up-to-date on free events in the area; a quick online search will flag up anything going on in the coming months.

For example, "What’s On North East" is a great hub of events and exhibitions in the area. They even provide you with the option to filter down search results by interest and location - just remember to check the ‘free events’ box before you search.

4. Ditch the card and pay with cash

Where possible, pay for things with cash, not on your debit or credit card. According to London Business School professor Niro Sivanathan, paying for items by card takes away the guilt that we feel when we pay with cash, and this encourages us to splash out!

But paying by card doesn’t just soften the blow of overspending, it gives you access to more money than you have with you. This can lead to spontaneous spending. So, if you’re popping to the shop with specific purchases in mind, only take the exact amount of money that you require, to make casual overspending a thing of the past!

5. Keep track of your spending

It’s wise to always keep track of your money, so that you know exactly how much you have coming in, and the outgoings that you need to make allowances for. Record your spending on a daily basis to keep track of where most of your money is going. This will make you more aware of how small purchases can add up, as well as ensuring you’re on track to reach your savings goals.

If writing down everything you earn sounds a little tedious, then try one of the many budgeting apps for your smartphone that are available, such as Toshl. We also recommend that you read our blog post on budget planning and how to manage your finances for more of our tips on how to do this easily and effectively.

Saving to buy your first home is an exciting journey, and can be a little challenging at times. But by following our simple steps to enjoying life on a smaller budget, and with the right savings account to help you along your way, you can look forward to owning your first home even sooner.


For more advice on savings accounts for first time buyers, take a look at our Help to Buy: ISA Guide for more information on the government’s Help to Buy: ISA scheme, as well as our First Home ISA which rewards first time buyers with up to £1,000 cashback! And for additional tips to help with saving for your first home deposit, take a look at our blog post on How to Save for a House Deposit when Renting.

Should you have any questions regarding our savings accounts, you can call our friendly Savings team on 0345 734 4345 or book an appointment at your local Newcastle Building Society branch to discuss your individual savings needs.