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There are so many different saving schemes out there, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which is best for you. A saving scheme is typically a program that is designed to influence saving in a manageable way, commonly offering an interest percentage, depending on who you go with. A popular ISA was the help to buy but this is no longer available. Don’t worry, there are so many other options. For example, a good alternative is a lifetime ISA. 

Where do I look?
Shop around, don’t settle for convenience. The bank down the road might not have the best interest rate! One bank might offer 0.1% whilst another 1%. Without comparing rates, you might be shortchanging yourself. 
Don’t restrict yourself to brick and mortar banks. Often online banks offer higher rates because they don’t have branches and cost less to operate. In some cases, this results in passing some of the savings into better interest rates. 

What are the benefits of a lifetime ISA?
A huge benefit is that this ISA offers a bonus of up to £1000 a year. For every £4 you pay into your account, you will get £1 from the government, which is a 25% bonus! Even if you can only save £500, you will still receive £125. 

How do I choose one?
Set a savings goal. This will determine which scheme is best for you. Don’t be unrealistic with your monthly goals, look at your outgoings and make a sensible judgement. Don’t leave yourself struggling and feeling negative towards the process. 

Look for schemes with no monthly fees. Some banks add small fees if the minimum amount hasn’t been deposited that month. Why risk the chance of wasting money when it could be saved instead?

Be mindful of hidden withdrawal fees when looking around. Even though the point of the scheme is to save, anything might happen, resulting in needing access to that money sooner. With a few saving schemes out there, they come with withdrawal fees, so if you prematurely take out your money, they can end up deducting the interest you have acquired. So just be careful and do some investigating before you commit to anywhere.  

How much do I decide to save each month?
Save whatever works for you. This magic number all depends what you are saving for, and the urgency in which you need it. The average wage for someone in their late 20’s is £26,778, which roughly works out at around £21,216 after tax. It is recommended that 20% of your monthly paycheck is to be saved, in this case that would be £353.60.  Of course, this isn’t realistic for everyone, but it is a good figure to try and work towards. Don’t beat yourself up about this though, it might take a couple of months to test and trial which amount is good for you so be patient with it. 

Saving schemes are typically the best saving option for most people. It is good to open one as soon as possible if you are planning on saving for your first home in order to get the most out of the interest rates on offer. Just be sure to do your research and don’t settle for the easy option! Happy saving everybody!