Financial wellbeing: get in the habit of saving

23 February 2021

The theme for this year’s National Student Money Week is to expect the unexpected, so Student Funding Adviser Kyle Yearwood has written some tips to help you get in the habit of saving.

A pot of coins tipped over and spilling onto a table

Do you have an emergency savings pot set aside for those unexpected costs that might come your way? If you don’t (or if you do and want to expand it further) we’ve got some tips on how you can put aside small amounts regularly to a savings pot quicker than you’d expect.

Your student loan might well be best looked after in a high street bank student account (think Barclays, Santander or Natwest, for example), since they often come with perks. However, it’s often useful to also have an app-based bank account like Monzo, Starling and Revolut so you can manage your everyday spending. These have in-built saving functionalities where you can ring-fence your money in separate savings pots so you don’t run the risk of accidentally spending money you had put aside. They also enable you to see what you’re spending and where, so you can tell where those pounds are disappearing to.

If This Then That (IFTTT)

For those with Monzo accounts, the online bank has teamed up with If This Then That (IFTTT) to create more ways for you to save. Create an account with IFTTT, then link it to your Monzo account to set rules such as ‘save for a holiday whenever it rains’, or a fast food taxThis means that a set amount is saved whenever you use your Monzo card to make a purchase at a fast food joint of your choice, and you can even create your own rule to work best with your spending habits.

A Pound A Day

The Pound A Day saving challenge is a great way to expand your emergency pot in a small and manageable way. It’s simple: you save £1 every day for a year, and by the end of the year you would have built up a pot of £365. You can do this by setting up a standing order to transfer £1 each day into your savings pot, or if you have cash you can put a £1 coin into your piggy bank everyday.

Variations of this include the weekly 10p savings challenge where you save 10p in the first week of the year then increase the amount you save each year by 10p (for example 20p in week 2, 30p in week 3 etc.), up to £5.20 in week 52 of the year to reach a savings total of £137.


App-based banks as well as Moneybox and Tandem are amongst the banks and services that can automatically round-up any spending you do on your bank card/s to the nearest pound. For example, if you touch in on a TfL bus, 50p would be added to your saving pot when you pay the £1.50 bus fare; or if you spent £3.99 in a shop, 1p would be added to your savings. It sounds small, but over time you’ll be surprised at how much this has contributed to your savings pot.

A variation on this is to round-down your bank balance to the nearest whole pound at the end of each day or week, transferring the spare pennies into your savings pot.

Don’t gamble your money away

Do you play the lottery? Your chances of winning the jackpot are slim1 in 45,057,474 to be exact. The Mirror reports that the average lifetime spend on lotteries in the UK is £377.94 per person, but even if you’re just sticking to playing each National Lottery ‘Lotto’ draw, you could be spending as much as £208 per year, and this isn’t counting Euromillions, Thunderball and others. So instead of wasting that money on a one-in-a-45-million chance, why not reassign that £2 each Wednesday and Saturday towards your emergency savings pot and watch your savings grow.

Learn how to prepare your finances to withstand the unexpected through Blackbullion’s bootcamp and be entered into a draw to win a £250 emergency pot.

Get support from the UCL Fees and Funding team. 

Kyle Yearwood, Student Funding Adviser