The Saving Euphoria
According to Standard Life, saving money produces feelings of optimism, calmness, hope and confidence. Whether it’s the sense of comfort it brings knowing that you will be stable in times of need, the self-discipline it instils within you, or simply the fact that you are contributing towards a goal that will bring you a greater deal of joy (e.g., a home) saving money can undeniably produce a feeling of euphoria. It is this euphoria you experience when saving that leads to the formation of good money habits and greater money management.
For me personally, the euphoria I get from saving derives from the guilt that I experience when spending money. Unless it is for a holiday, eating out, or gifting my loved ones, for me, spending money unnecessarily can trigger a sense of anxiety. Dr Becky Spellman explains that the feeling of guilt surrounding money can be caused by the pressure we experience when thinking about our future, and this is regardless of whether we have children, a home or any other forms of financial responsibility. This is certainly the case for me. As soon as I graduated, I have been determined to be a homeowner by the age of 25 and this goal, however optimistic it may be, has triggered my intense saving habits.
My saving journey began whilst I was at University where I made it a habit to save portions of my loans and grants and in my final year, I decided to place my savings, around £3000, into premium bonds with NS&I. Premium Bonds are an investment product and unlike other investments, where you earn interest or a regular dividend income, you are entered into a monthly prize draw where you can win anything from £25 to £1 million tax free (I can’t describe the feeling of receiving that congratulations text - free money really has a way of changing your mood!). This was a good start to my saving journey as with NS&I, the money is not so easily accessible as your usual savings account and you almost forget about it as there is no app. Whilst that was a good start, my savings journey became stagnant a year after my graduation as I was in my PGCE year training to become a teacher and received a very generous bursary of £400 a month (!). It was only until the age of 22 when I entered my first salaried role as a qualified teacher that the ball really got rolling.
As a newly qualified teacher in London, I was receiving £1800 a month and despite it being my first time seeing this kind of money, I was determined to save as much as possible. Each payday, I’d transfer £1200 into my NS&I and that would be the last I’d ever see of it until I would log in to claim a prize. A year later, after being promoted to Head of Department and seeing a leap in my salary, I increased my efforts to save for my first home and after some research, I decided to open a LISA (Lifetime Individual Savings Account) with Moneybox. With a LISA, you can pay in up to £4,000 per year and you get a 25% government bonus on all savings. That means that if you pay in the maximum £4,000, you’ll receive a £1,000 tax-free bonus. Again, the benefits of a LISA, apart from the obvious 25% government bonus, is that your investments are long-term and not so easily accessible meaning you are less likely to dip in and out of your savings. I also set up a savings account with Moneybox where I’d set my weekly deposit to £20 and a payday boost of £250. By this point, I was saving around 80% of my pay and distributing my savings across NS&I, LISA, Moneybox and a regular savings account. However, simply having savings was not enough for me - I had over £15,000 sitting in my accounts accumulating little to no interest so I decided to invest my money with a private investor who operates in the Foreign Exchange market. This decision resulted in me seeing a 15% return on investments, as opposed to the pitiful 0.5% interest rate I received on my savings before.
Finally, I am now at the tender age of 23 and while there is still so much to learn about how I could better invest my money, my current saving habits have instilled me with optimism, calmness, hope and confidence about my future. Saving can be challenging at times, I recognise that, but I wholeheartedly believe it becomes effortless, and even enjoyable, when you form the habit of contributing to your savings, however large or small. I am halfway to meeting my goal of owning a home in London and what has made it easier is the joy I get from looking at my savings flourish month by month.