If you've been a customer of The Nottingham or Beehive Money for a while, you'll know that we love a 'No Spend' challenge! We have a series called My No Spend Week
over on The Nottingham's website where we'd challenge our team, members and content creators to only spend on the essentials for one week only.
When we heard about our Lifetime ISA saver Pierce, a public sector worker from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and his penchant for penny pinching we knew we had to chat to him more about his budgeting hacks. The 24-year-old explained that he'd always been keen on tracking his spending and keeping a spreadsheet of his incomings and outgoings, especially when he started saving for his first home. Throughout his spending analysis he was shocked to find that in one year he'd spent around £600 on his favourite past time - coffee shop visits. To his own admission these treats were costing him "at least £5 a day" on the days that he made those trips which added up to around 10 times a month.
Enter, No Spend November...
When Pierce opened his Lifetime ISA a couple of years ago to save for his first home deposit he started tackling his own challenge of No Spend November, following people online doing similar tasks and getting involved in money-saving forums.
The main changes when it came to these challenges was to curb his caffeine habit and only allow himself to spend on absolute necessities such as petrol, parking, food, the board he pays his grandparents currently and fitting in "two pre-planned cheat days" where he budgets for a catch up with a friend, a birthday gift, or a ticket to watch his favourite ice-hockey team, The Nottingham Panthers. Pierce's 'No Spend' monthly budget is £200 "and not a penny more!". He believes that having these cheat days that he's already budgeted for helps him to press on with the rest of the challenge and gives him a boost.
Once Pierce had saved his £10,000 deposit goal in his Beehive Money Homebuyer LISA he decided to tackle another 'No Spend' month in January. The aim of this month was to build up his savings for moving costs, solicitors and to have a buffer for rising living costs by the time he's able to move out. Pierce explained; "Budgeting isn't just about buying the house it's about the cost of living when you move in too, so that's what I'm saving for now."
When he first started monitoring his monthly spending Pierce was shocked. He continued; "When you don't really look at your spending your money can go on anything! I usually try and bring lunch in from home whilst at work but takeaway pizza is my other vice. This can be £30 a week and end up at £120 a month if the craving hits every weekend. The hardest thing is saying no to your friends but 'only £20' for a Panthers ticket soon adds up with coffee or food beforehand plus petrol and parking or public transport. Learning to say no is quite hard but you have to have a goal in mind that you want to achieve."
Pierce acknowledges that it’s important to communicate. “Explaining to my friends and family what my goals are and why I was saying no to spending on non-essentials meant that they could support me in the best way possible. Being open about my goals has helped as it means you can ask for support when things are difficult, or you need some motivation."
"Knowing how much you need to spend is important for savings", Pierce continued. He recommended setting a budget and using a spreadsheet to keep an eye on things, especially if you're visually minded. "The charts moving up and down and a visual representation of my money really helps me and I keep links to houses I've look at online in there to keep me motivated and remind me why I'm saving and what I'm saving for."
Boosting first home savings
Pierce is able to keep on track of his first home savings and his journey with the Goal Tracker and Milestones features in the Beehive Money app - "it's my favourite thing about the Beehive Money app! You can put in how much you can save or when you want a certain amount by and it keeps monitoring where you are at - including whether you're on track of behind the plan. It's also really handy how there's a checklist of steps in the Milestones feature to take to get to where you need to be for your deposit and there are some great links on there to help you understand the saving and house buying process."
"Having the money 'locked away' in the LISA helped me save my deposit. I used to have a Help To Buy ISA and my savings were in and out of there all the time! Since I've had the LISA, any withdrawals that weren't for my first home would have meant I'd lose 25% to a Government charge - this was a real deterrent. In both years I've been able to put the maximum £4,000 away. I'd definitely recommend the Lifetime ISA, even if other first-time buyers can only put a small amount away, the 25% bonus makes a huge difference and the support I have had from The Nottingham and Beehive Money has been great."
Find out more about the Beehive Money Homebuyer Lifetime ISA. Open between the ages of 18-39 with £1, online only. 25% Government bonus, maximum £1,000 bonus and £4,000 deposit per tax year. First-time buyers and retirement only. Any ineligible withdrawals will be subject to a 25% Government withdrawal charge so you may get back less than you put in.