Before I found skimming, I just assumed that saving a lump sum every month was the best way to save. It’s not.
We really wanted a family holiday, but with four mouths to feed and only one full-time wage, money is very tight.
But this year, thanks to skimming, we were able to afford a trip to Butlins Tot Week; and while it wasn’t really for us adults, the kids loved it so much.
In under four months, we managed to save the £275 we needed to go, just by skimming our accounts and wallets a few times a week. It’s a cliché, but it does all add up.
So What is Skimming?
Not to be confused with ATM skimming, in which thieves use hidden electronics to steal the personal information stored on debit and credit cards, bank skimming is where you round your bank balance down to the nearest whole number and transfer the extra money to a savings account.
Think of it this way. If I have £234.95 in my account, I would transfer £4.95 into my savings account leaving a round number.
You can do it for any amount, even a pound, and without realising it, you could have £30 a month saved.
If you can’t afford to spare £4.95, you can round down to the nearest pound and remove just the 95p. Whatever you can afford that week.
Three Different Ways
There are loads of ways to skim your money, but the three main ways are:
Skimming Your Online Account
So like above, every time you log in to your online account, daily, weekly, monthly, whenever, you just transfer over the amount to make your account a round number again.
A lot of accounts offer this feature for free, like Lloyds, who call it Save the Change. You don’t have to have the accounts with the same bank though, I don’t, I just transfer mine manually whenever I’m on it.
Some days it’s just pence because I know a big bill is due, sometimes it’s over £10. That’s the good thing about skimming, you can save as little or as much as you like on your own timescale!
Like I said, I’m not a great safer, especially now I’m self-employed as well as having two kids, but it’s such an easy way to save without really noticing you’re doing it.
Fill a Jar
If you don’t have online access or don’t like the idea of taking money out of your account, then apply the above concept to your wallet.
I have two jars. One is the ‘holiday jar’ and the other is the ‘emergency fund’. Both get my loose change after a day out, but the ‘holiday jar’ never gets broken into. The other is there just in case I need 90p for a loaf of bread or the kids want a chocolate bar or something.
They don’t have to be anything fancy, even old lunchboxes will do.
After a day out, I just empty my wallet of any loose change and leave the pounds and notes alone. All the change goes straight into both jars, and when it’s time to pay for the holiday, but will get emptied and used.
365 Day Challenge
There’re loads of this kind of challenges knocking around. This one is for those of us that want to save a strict amount and need a target.
The idea is that you save a fixed amount every week and have a nice pot at the end of the year.
So for this example, it’s all about pennies. Day 1 you save 1p. Day 2 you save 2p. Day 3 you save 3p etc until the year ends. Just doing this will have your jar or savings account holding a massive £667.95!
Now, if you know that saving £3.65 on 31st December just isn’t going to happen, then why not do it backward and save £3.65 on the 1st January and work your way down. (£3.65 on Day 1. £3.64 Day 2. £3.63 Day 3 etc.)
You can start any day of the year, and even stop if it gets too much. The good thing about skimming this way is that the money is a fixed amount and a guaranteed good amount at the end.
Does It Really Work?
Well, it worked for me. I managed to save £10,000 in a year by doing all the above. It paid for most of my wedding, and while we were very hard-core about it, knowing that the big bill was coming, we still didn’t miss out on much.
Have you ever skimmed? Do you think it could help your family save?