The Great British Savings Challenge round-up

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And so it comes to an end…

The Great British Savings Challenge is over! One, two, three, aww!

Hopefully there are some fatter piggy banks sitting proudly in our families’ homes after taking on our challenges. We’d like to thank Natalie and her dogs and Nikki and the Watt family for their hard work and penny pinching for each of the four challenges we set them.

It kicked off with the “Cold hard cash challenge” where we asked our families to ditch the plastic and stick to cash. Our second challenge, “Food glorious food”, tasked our challengers with saving between 10 and 20 per cent on each of their weekly shops and the third challenge, “The Supermarket Swap”, you guessed it, got Natalie and Nikki to try using discount chains and supermarkets own brands. By now into their money-saving strides, our families breezed towards our “Finale”, using cash back sites to earn some extra money from buying goods and services they had already planned.

Now it’s all over, are the families likely to maintain their new-found money-saving ways or will they drift back to their spendthrift ways?

Natalie reports she “really enjoyed taking part in the challenges”, she likes to keep her finances in mind and these challenges really helped her to stay focused on them. Natalie’s biggest learning from this experience was to write down a list of her outgoings which she found really helped her keep track of things. She quickly realised there are lots of ways to save money without making big changes to her lifestyle, like using cashback sites.

When asked if she planned to keep up these new habits, Natalie told us that she found lifting cash for the month was a great way to budget better. She also liked using cashback sites to save or make money; however she did let us know that she preferred to physically go shopping for her weekly groceries rather than shop online. She will continue to plan her meals in order to keep her food shopping costs down.

Nikki also really enjoyed taking part in the challenges, explaining “it pushed me to spend consciously”. Nikki described herself as a “throw it on the credit card and think about it later type of girl” which led her to accrue a lot of debt and put herself under financial pressure. She found the first challenge a real test but has since cut up her credit cards and for the first time is living as an adult without a credit card.

The biggest learning Nikki found was that she became in control of the choices she made around spending money. Although she still likes to treat herself occasionally she now knows exactly where her money goes. Nikki told us she feels “empowered” and will definitely be keeping up the new habits she’s learned. She almost booked a two-week family holiday on her husband’s credit card but realised they didn’t have the disposable income for this right now so stopped herself. Go you Nikki! Instead she is now putting money away each month so that they can go away next year. “The changes are here to stay!” she told us.

If any of our challenges have inspired you to give them a try, let us know in the comments below.

No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.