People everywhere are feeling the squeeze at the moment. With everyday expenses rocketing and the outlook so gloomy, it can be hard to imagine having anything left at the end of the month to put into a savings account.
No surprise then that most of us see cash ISAs and other savings accounts as a luxury we simply can't afford right now. Factor in confusing jargon about stocks and shares, and cash ISAs and interest rates and it's easy to call the whole savings thing off.
But when did you last take a really close look at your monthly budget? It's amazing how taking just a few minutes to consider your income and expenditure can help you find a little something to put aside every month.
Follow our six-step guide to creating a realistic budget you can stick to, and start watching your savings account grow:
1. Take a closer look
Dull as it may sound, spend some time reading your bank statements or looking at your account online to get a good understanding of where your money is going. Just getting a better feel for your spending habits will help you be more aware of what's coming in and what's going out - and what you could be saving.
2. Essential bits
There are some fixed outgoings - usually the big stuff like the mortgage and bills - that can't be avoided, so write a list of all your non-negotiable costs and add up what you know you have to spend on them each month.
Whether it's a liking for the finer things in life, or a direct debit you've forgotten all about, everybody has a few outgoings in their accounts that they could cut back on. Whatever your non-essentials are, list the outgoings that you don't absolutely have to make every month and tot them all up.
4. The maths bit
We all need to treat ourselves from time to time so no-one's suggesting you cut out all unnecessary spending, but be honest with yourself and think about what you could cut down on from your non-essentials list. It could be as simple as switching mobile phone provider or doing the weekly shop online to save a few pounds. Whatever figure you're left with is what you could be putting into a savings account every month.
5. Compare savings accounts
Starting to save is exciting, but don't be tempted to throw your hard-earned cash in any old savings account. The best rates, minimum deposits and how easily you can access your money will all have a bearing on the savings account you choose. Halifax offers a range of great savings accounts so why not compare savings accounts and get saving right away?