Saving tips for your 20s and 30s

Article Header
Morgan Laing

May 20, 2024

3 mins read

In your 20s or 30s and looking for a few pointers to help you work towards your money goals? We’ve got some tips you can try.

1. Budget, budget, budget

Budgeting can be useful when you’re trying to save.

Make sure you know what your short- and- long-term goals are. Do you want to see more of the world while you’re young? Are you renting now but hoping to get on the property ladder? Goals can change, too, so check in with yourself regularly about them. 

Look at how much money you’ve got coming into your household and how much is going out. It’s helpful to check things like bank statements, bills and receipts. When you’re doing this, you might even find ways to cut down on spending. 

Once you have a clearer picture of your income and outgoings, you can decide how much money you’re comfortable setting aside for certain goals each month. For example, you might want to earmark some for a holiday, and some for your long-term future. And don’t forget things like debt repayments.

MoneyHelper has a budget planner tool you can try.

2. Decide where to put your money

It’s important to think about where you’ll put the money you’re setting aside for your goals. 

You could open a savings account with, say, a bank or building society, and potentially earn a bit of interest.

You could consider setting up an Individual Savings Account (ISA). You can earn interest with a cash ISA. If you have a stocks and shares ISA, your money is invested, meaning you might benefit from investment growth.

Remember, the value of investments can go down as well as up and you could get back less than was paid in. And don’t forget, you have an ISA allowance of £20,000 – that’s the most you can save across all your ISAs in a tax year.

If you’re keen to learn more about investing, you can read our article.

Saving for your first home? You could look into opening a Lifetime ISA (LISA). Each year, you can put in up to £4,000 (which counts towards your ISA allowance), and the government adds a 25% bonus, capped at £1,000. Not everyone is eligible to open a LISA, save into one, or use one to buy a home, so do check on GOV.UK first.

The options that are right for you will depend on your circumstances and what your goals are, so shop around to see what could work best for you. 

3. Be on the lookout for discounts and offers

You might’ve waved goodbye to student or youth discounts. 

But there are other ways to save on purchases you make. When there are things you want to buy, it could be worth checking for vouchers and discount codes online or in your inbox (if you get emails from places like shops or supermarkets).

You could also consider signing up to a cashback website. In a nutshell, these can pay you back a little bit of money when go through them to buy something from particular retailers. Sometimes credit card providers and banks also offer cashback. Just remember that getting cash back isn’t always guaranteed, but it can be a nice little bonus.

4. Sell your unwanted items

It can be easier to save money for your goals if you have more of it to play with. 

You could try having a clear-out and selling items, like clothes, online. There are different platforms you can use, so have a look on the web. Some platforms don’t have selling fees, meaning you may get to keep more of the profit.

If you make more than £1,000 a year through this type of thing, you may need to report your earnings to the government. You can find out more about this, and the tax you may need to pay, on MoneyHelper.

5. Think about life after work

Retirement probably feels like a long way off for you. But usually, the earlier you start planning, the better. So now might be a good time to figure out how much you can afford to put towards it.

You can check the Retirement Living Standards to help you understand how much you might need depending on the lifestyle you want in retirement. And you can try our pension calculator to see how much you could potentially have across your pension plans in future. 

It’s worth checking how much you’re paying into your plan currently and making sure that’s right for you.


The information here is based on our understanding in May 2024 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.

Pension plans and some types of ISAs are investments.  Their value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in.

Your own personal circumstances, including where you live in the UK, will have an impact on the tax you pay. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.