11 tips to save 100 Euro more into an ETF saving plan

justETF Logo

How can we find more money to invest when our incomes are under more pressure than ever? Thankfully, there are many creative life-hacks you can use to free up cash.

11 tips to save 100 Euro more into an ETF saving plan
  • Level: For all
  • Reading duration: 7 minutes
What to expect in this article
As the cost of living rises, how can we save enough to invest and preserve our quality of life at the same time?
Happily, there are numerous smart ways to ensure your money goes towards the things you truly want - while leaving you with enough to invest in your future wellbeing, too.
But before we list our favorite money-saving tips, there are two important things to know about deploying your cash more intentionally.
There are more clever spending tips out there than any one person can implement in a lifetime. The trick is to start with the ones that make most sense to you and your lifestyle. Start small, score some quick wins and, once you see the benefits rack up, you'll find it becomes easier to build on your success and carve out some serious savings.
The emotional payoff to taking more control over your spending is huge. It's fundamentally worth starting the journey because our desires will always outstrip our income. Just think about the billionaires out there who still don't seem to have enough. If instead, you can find the time to think about what really matters to you, then you'll spend more of your energy doing the things you love, while still saving enough to secure your financial future.
OK, with that said, let's talk about how to find a better balance between spending and saving...

Think about what you really enjoy

Marie Kondo supercharged the world of decluttering by asking us to only keep things that “spark joy.”
This is the right filter to apply to money-saving, too.
There's no point eliminating the things that make life worth living. But the vast majority of us leak cash on stuff that doesn't matter to us. Why? Because life is busy and complex, and often there isn't really time to think things through.
Cutting that fat from our spending is the place to focus our attention.
The mantra is: only spend on things you truly value.
Pull out your credit card and banking statements and think about where you can ditch:
  • Stuff you don't use
  • Things that aren't worth the money
  • Items that you wouldn't notice if they were gone
  • Goods and services you can buy or substitute more cheaply for no loss of satisfaction
  • Products you can buy less often
  • Spending on things you feel you should have but, in your heart, know you don't really want or need
Challenge all your outgoings, especially when it's something you've been purchasing rote for years. Your love for that item may well have died, or you can at least get a better deal by now
  • Most people spend something on status signaling goods. Pick your battles! Narrow down the areas where you feel you must compete and cut the rest.
  • When you have a monthly spend, multiply it by twelve and see how that feels. Is it worth it? Could that annual sum be spent on something that matters more to you?
  • Could you reduce your frequency of spending to every other month and put the 50% savings into your investments?
  • Multiply daily spends by 365.
Hardly anyone can go through that process and not make some savings. Which means you will definitely be able to take this next step…

1. Pay yourself first

Decide how much you want to save, then immediately direct debit it to your ETF savings plan the day after you're paid. This is known as "paying yourself first."
Try a small amount to begin with, if you're nervous about the impact. However, the magical part is that most people don't feel that they're spending less.
Emotionally you automatically adjust to your new monthly spend, while a portion of your money is put to work building wealth in your investment portfolio.
If you haven't tried "paying yourself first" then it may not sound feasible. But it works! Just think about how much less you used to live on before pay rises and promotions.
Hedonic adaptation means additional spending barely moves our happiness needle after a short while. Our desires simply expand to fill the space, much like new roads don't solve congestion problems. However, the same hedonic effect works in reverse and means you don't feel the pinch when you divert more money to your investments. If anything you're likely to feel more positive because you're proactively solving the challenge of growing your wealth.
Here's another useful saving hack: don't spend your pay rises and bonuses. Invest them instead. Or, if that sounds too severe, spend half and save half.
It's incredible how much investing momentum you can build with this technique alone.

2. Jam jars, piggy banks, and cash stuffing

This method works wonders for some people. The idea is that you divide your monthly income into different pots that enable you to spend more mindfully.
One pot of cash covers all the household bills. Another pot takes care of eating out. There's another for travel, and the other main outgoings, and naturally there's a pot for savings too.
There are some innovative spending and saving apps out there that automate this process for you.
This technique works brilliantly because your essential living expenses are sorted from the get-go. But once you've emptied your 'eating out' pot for the month, most people accept that they've reached their limit and ease off. They don't start raiding their savings to fund another big night.
Behavioral economists have noticed this self-disciplining effect and call it mental accounting.
Try teaming it with the 50/30/20 approach to spend management. This rule-of-thumb advocates using your income like this:
  • 50% on your living expenses
  • 30% on the fun stuff
  • 20% on savings and investments
Global ETF investment
Global ETF investment
Discover the best ETFs on the MSCI World Index in our investment guide!
learn more

3. Sleep on it

If you buy a lot of stuff on impulse then try the 48-hour rule. The 48-hour rule means you hold off on a purchase for two days after deciding to drop your cash on it.
This gives you a chance to sleep on the decision and decide if it still seems like such a 'must-have' once you've cooled off a little.
The psychology behind cooling off periods is that we often buy things in a state of heightened consumption desire.
But cooling off gives us a chance to reconsider. Much like how it's best to sleep on any important decision, or to not act in the heat of the moment when quarreling with someone.
If you still want the product days later then buy it. If not, you didn't need it in the first place.
A handy side effect is that online retailers will often send you a discount if you leave items in your basket for 48 hours or more.
That's a bonus if you actually want the item, but don't let the retailer's special offer make you fall for something you'd otherwise resist.
Hardcore savers use a 7-day rule and even a 30-day rule. Experiment with what works for you.

4. Calculate the price including income taxes

This hack is designed to reveal how hard you really have to work to afford an item.
Let's say you want to buy a top for €80. And let's also say that you pay 50% in various taxes on your gross income.
That means you have to earn €160 in income to buy the product. Maybe now it's not such a bargain but an expensive luxury you can happily live without.

5. Get a better deal

Switching suppliers will save you tons of money on bills, especially if you've never done it before.
If you want to prioritize the biggest savings then look for the market-leading offers in these areas first:
  • broadband
  • Phone contract
  • Insurance
  • Paid TV
Energy switching has traditionally been a source of major reductions too, but it depends on your local market.
Comparison sites make it super-easy to find great deals and change suppliers in one easy move.
But if you enjoy haggling, you can just ring your current supplier and tell them to match the best deal on the market. If they stall, just say, "I'm leaving," those are the magic words.
Put the expiration date of your current deal into your calendar and set yourself a reminder to check the market at least seven days beforehand. That will give you plenty of time to switch again if you need to.
Remember most big suppliers reward new customers, not loyalty.

6. Food bill hacks

Food is such a large slice of the budget, and supermarket tactics are so sophisticated, that it's well worth becoming a more savvy groceries shopper.
The big wins come from eliminating impulse purchases and food waste.
Your main allies in that battle are meal-planning and the humble shopping list!
Planning makes it easy to know meals what food you really need for the week ahead - cutting out waste at a stroke!
Now all you have to do is stick to your list. Two tips here:
  • Don't shop on an empty stomach, or you'll be tempted to grab all kinds of delicious treats from the shelves.
  • Better still, use a supermarket online delivery service. Then there's zero chance of you straying from the list when you're magnetically sucked into the irresistible snacks aisle.
The savings from that alone will pay for any delivery charges.
Online delivery also helps if you'd normally shop at a small convenience store. Over the course of a year, you'll likely save hundreds of euros by ordering from the bigger and cheaper supermarkets in your area.
You can score even more savings by experimenting with own-brand goods. From cereal to crisps to cleaning products, the cost reductions per item can be huge and they will mount up over a year.
Try dropping down a brand level on as many different items as you can and give yourself a month to adapt each time. It can be hard to break the link with old favorites but you often won't notice the difference after a short time.

7. Subscription declutter

Subscriptions and memberships multiply like zombies so review them all once a year and cancel any that you don't use regularly.
Go through your monthly statements to find them because you might well be paying for services you've completely forgotten about.
If you're unsure about a service then cancel. You can always sign up for it again later.
Ask yourself two questions about any subscriptions that you keep:
  • Can I share the plan with friends and family?
  • Do they have a cheaper plan that better fits my usage?
Many services can be paused for a few months too, so hit that button when you want to keep the membership but aren't making the most of it.

8. The downshift challenge

Downshifting occurs when you substitute a premium item for something that works just as well, or even better, but perhaps requires a little more creativity to fit into your life.
Buying vintage and pre-loved clothes using 'pre-owned' apps is a classic example. With a little experimentation you may discover that you adore creating new styles that better express your individuality.
Another good example is staying in hostels and campsites instead of hotels when you travel. Whatever you lose in luxury is more than compensated for in fun and adventure.
Cycling more often - especially for any journey within 10km - is an awesome way to save on transport bills and gym fees. You also have a great time connecting with your local area in new ways.
Meals out are another prime candidate for a downshift. Instead of going to a fancy restaurant, substitute it for an informal but fun meal at a cafe. Or grab a takeaway and turn it into a special date night at home. Or enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. Afterall, eating out is really about the company, and less about the food.

9. Get help

No matter what you care about, there's an influencer out there who's got some bright ideas on how to handle that part of life more cost-effectively.
Whatever your favorite platform, you'll find it populated by travel hackers, frugal foodies, DIY enthusiasts, pre-loved fashionistas, parenting and fitness gurus with useful wisdom to share.
It's just a question of discovering the personalities on your wavelength, selecting the tips that make most sense to you, and being open to the possibilities for change and growth.

10. Clear high interest debt

However, no matter what, remember that the golden rule is to clear any credit card or bank overdraft debt you have - before anything else.
Rates of interest on this type of debt are so high that it's self-defeating not to eliminate it before putting your money into savings.
If you can transfer your credit card debt to a 0% balance card then do so. This will buy you some time to pay it down before the 0% rate expires.
Ultimately, paying huge rates of interest to banks is a massive expense that brings no joy. Use all the saving techniques above to wipe out the debt as quickly as possible. It'll be like awarding yourself a massive pay rise once it's done.

11. Take control!

OK, we wish you the best of luck on your savings journey. Commit to the process and we'll sure you'll be delighted with how much more you can save.
Whatever you do, take it a step at a time, and don't cut back so hard you make life miserable.
The best place to start is by working out which things you won't miss and eliminating them one-by-one.
By all means set yourself monthly and annual savings goals if targets motivate you. But don't worry about it, if that sort of thing leaves you cold. Successful saving relies first and foremost on creating a personal money fitness program that suits your mindset.
And just as you wouldn't try to run a marathon on day one, the same applies here. Build yourself up, develop your saving muscles over time, and you'll be amazed at what you can achieve. Before long, you'll easily have saved that 100€ monthly target which leads us to our final bonus tip. Always use an ETF savings plan to ensure you're investing at the lowest possible price.
Remember that any savings you pocket will power-up your wealth through the compound interest effect. Visit our ETF savings plan comparison to see all the very latest offers.
Become an ETF expert with our monthly newsletter
Sign up free now