I'd like to know whether "saving" or "Savings" should be used in the following:

That move might mean a saving / a savings in time and money.

Traditional grammar would lead me to expect the singular "saving," but I have seen the plural "savings" used after an indefinite article, as here.

  • The plural savings is normally only used in the specific context of a bank account, in which you have a savings account. Otherwise, it's the singular form. Nov 25 '18 at 11:22
  • Is this wrong, then? Following the introduction of the computerised accounting process, savings were made of expenditure on quill pens, ink, and parchment. Nov 25 '18 at 12:27
  • ObGalaxyQuest: youtube.com/watch?v=kgv7U3GYlDY Nov 25 '18 at 12:35
  • Apollyon - "savings" is after an indefinite article, not before, in your quoted text. Nov 25 '18 at 12:41
  • 1
    The plural is indeed used for things other than bank accounts, pace what some dictionaries say. Nov 25 '18 at 13:10

Saving can be a countable noun, or a plural one. Used countably, a single saving can be made: I made a saving on electricity costs when I changed to LED light bulbs. Also multiple (plural) savings can be made: The company made savings of time, money and staff use when it computerised a process.

It will be a much simpler procedure and over a period of years will result in considerable savings of time and expense to the Government.1

Saving: plural savings
1. countable noun A saving is a reduction in the amount of time or money that is used or needed.

Fill in the form below and you will be making a saving of £6.60 on a one-year subscription. [+ of]

...a program of household savings on energy use.

Note there is also a plural use:

  1. plural noun Your savings are the money that you have saved, especially in a bank or a building society.

Her savings were in the Post Office Savings Bank.
...a savings account.

Saving (Collins)

Thus, addressing your example text:

That move might mean a saving in time.
That move might mean a saving in money.
That move might mean savings in time and money.

1from Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States, Volume 26 Front Cover U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946


Both are used, though savings is the more often used.

This graph shows that the singular, "a saving", in that context is rapidly on the decline; and I'm basing my statement that savings is on the ascendant just from my sense of what I read these days.

Consider also this graph for represents a saving|savings. The phrase "a saving" has been on the decline.

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