As summer blossoms and we step out into the world again, it might feel like spending has skyrocketed. But there are things you can do to keep your outgoings down and still enjoy those restaurants, pubs, shopping expeditions or day trips to the beach.

It’s not about spending nothing at all. That could be boring. The last year away from family and friends has been isolating for many, and it’s only natural you might want to get out and have some fun.

In short - it’s ok to spend but try to make conscious decisions, and still save. Here are some tips:

Create a budget

Planning a staycation? Maybe Wales, Yorkshire or just putting your feet up at home? Making a budget can help give you a clearer picture of your finances, and see where there is wiggle room to spend on holidays and still save.

Set yourself weekly or monthly spending limits. Make sure you allow yourself to spend some money on things you enjoy, perhaps eating out or going for drinks, but try not to go over your budget. Don’t forget to plan for the essentials and ring-fence money for bills and savings. One way to do that is with Starling Spaces, the feature in the app that helps you set money aside for whatever goal you choose.

Remember, keep track of what you spend to see if it matches your predictions. Starling’s Spending Insights feature breaks down your spend into categories (entertainment, transport, shopping and more) so you know what you’re spending on each month.

Some of the best things in life are free

It’s possible to enjoy the company of friends and family (distancing restrictions permitting) without breaking the bank. If you don’t want to spend a lot on socialising, why not go for a walk or picnic in a local park? Or if the weather’s not on your side, how about a good old chat around the table at home?

Get yourself a deal

If you’re planning on going out on the town, it’s worth looking for any discounts that could be out there. Search for restaurant discounts on sites like Time Out, Groupon and Vouchercloud. When you look for vouchers, use a reputable site to try and avoid scams and spam. The Trustpilot site can help decisions on what a reputable site is.

Talk about money

Talking to trusted friends or family about your feelings around not wanting to spend more money can be really helpful. Maybe they don’t fancy spending a packet either. And they might even be able to share some useful budgeting tips. A good friend will accept it if you tell them you can’t afford to go out on the town with them.

If you’re struggling with anxiety around debt, then it might also be worth talking to an organisation like StepChange.

Keep up the savings habit

Saving for a pension is always wise. Maybe you’re saving up for a bicycle, a new home or a holiday trip somewhere nice. Keep on saving if you can, they’re all great goals.

You could use the Spaces and Round Up features on the Starling app to start saving automatically. In Spaces, you set up your goal, say ‘New amazing bike’, settle on a target amount and add a photo of your future mean-machine to help motivate you.

The Round Up feature then lets you round up anything you spend to the nearest pound and automatically moves the difference to a saving Space.

Last but not least - have a wonderful summer!

The above article is intended as general information and doesn’t constitute financial advice. You should take independent financial advice if you have any questions about your specific circumstances.

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