The end of the year is almost here. That means it’s time for parties, drinks with friends, and of course, New Year’s resolutions. This year, instead of making promises you don’t intend to keep, or pushing yourself to achieve unrealistic goals, why not think about making a change to your financial habits? Most of u could do with spending a little less time worrying about how we’re going to work off the extra mince pies we ate at Christmas, and a little more time deciding how to budget for the year ahead.
If you want to take a positive step with your cash flow in 2018, then the following tips could help you to make the right resolutions and strengthen your chances of success. You can always sign up for a gym membership at the same time if it makes you feel better!
Decide to Eliminate Debt Gradually
If you’ve got thousands of pounds of debt sitting on your credit card, then you might not be able to pay it all off within the next couple of months just because you’ve told yourself you’re going to be extra careful with your money this year. Instead of telling yourself that you need to be completely debt-free by the end of 2018, think about the things you can do to make removing debt easier. For instance, would it be cheaper to consolidate different debts into a loan that asks for a lower rate of interest? Could you reduce the amount you owe by transferring your debt into a different account? Speak to a financial advisor to learn more about your options.
Commit to Saving more Money for Retirement
Making the New Year’s Resolution to live life on a budget can be a great way to cut down on excess spending. However, simply telling yourself that you need to spend less might not be the ultimate way to achieve your financial goals, instead, you need to establish some focus by determining why you’re budgeting in the first place. While short-term goals are great, long-term aims like saving more money back for retirement can be even more effective when it comes to reminding yourself to keep hold of some of your salary each month.
Don’t Spend Everything You Earn
At the beginning of the New Year, we all like to tell ourselves that we’re not going to spend any more cash than is necessary. After all, we need to find a way to pay back everything we borrowed from ourselves to pay for Christmas presents and New Year parties. Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to cut your cash down to a minimum, and then spending all your wages anyway, commit to immediately moving around 10% of your earnings into a separate account once a month. That money can either be part of your long-term savings or an emergency fund that you’ll be able to turn to when the going gets tough.
Understand Your Spending Habits
It’s hard to successfully stick to a New Year’s resolution for spending less when you have no idea how much money you’re dishing out on a week-to-week basis. Before you start exploring things like budgeting and savings accounts, get to grips with your monthly outgoings by writing a list of everything you buy on a day-to-day basis. Remember, you’ll need to record every expense, no matter how small if you want to know exactly how much you’re spending. As well as writing down things like your energy bills and how much you pay for broadband, take the time to think about the small costs that most of us ignore, like a morning newspaper or an afternoon coffee.
Look for Ways to Reduce your Monthly Bills
Finally, deciding that you want to be more responsible with your spending doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up everything you enjoy. Many of us tell ourselves that we need to stop going out for fancy meals or indulging in a weekly bar of chocolate when we want to budget – and while that might be true for some, you can also cut costs elsewhere too. Think about comparing the prices of your monthly bills online to see whether you could save by switching to a new provider. For instance, you might find that you can reduce the amount you spend on your energy bills by changing to someone new, or cut the cost of your car insurance with a few simple clicks.