7 Simple Ways To Kick Start

Your Finances This New Year

by HANNAH MAUNDRELL, editor-in-chief, Money.co.uk

 

New year is a time for resolutions and breaking bad habits. So why not take the chance to give yourself a financial make over and start the New Year with an action plan to get your finances in check?

 

Follow these easy steps and help yourself to be financially savvy this yearÉ.

 

1) Give yourself a mini pay rise

The first thing to do is go through a recent bank statement. Check where all your funds are going and work out if youÕre paying for anything you donÕt use. If you have a service like Amazon prime, consider whether you really need to pay for Netflix as well.

By cancelling direct debits to services you no longer use you could save a lot. Make sure you arenÕt bound by a contract and even if you are, see if you would save more by paying a cancellation fee.

 

2) Switching means saving

If youÕre on a variable rate tariff for your gas and electricity you could save hundreds by locking into a different fixed rate tariff. Compare other tariffs and fix in to one that gives you a better price.

Savings are the same - if yours arenÕt earning 1.2% along with inflation, look for a better account.

Broadband, landline and TV are similar too. Check what you use and which channels you watch and see if you could get it cheaper elsewhere. Even if you like the company youÕre with, ring them and haggle -  loyalty doesnÕt always pay.

You could even save hundreds on your food shop by using sites like Mysupermarket.com to find the cheapest deal on your shopping. Moving away from the mainstream supermarkets to a cheaper alternative can earn you massive savings.

 

3) Budget

Make a comprehensive budget and stick to it. You can make your own in a spreadsheet, or use an online budget calculator to work out what youÕre spending.

If your outgoings are more than the money youÕve got coming in, youÕll need to have a serious look at where your money is going.

 

You may find simply switching a few services to cheaper alternatives can help you get your finances back in order fast. If you do have money left over, find a savings account with a good interest rate to keep it in.

 

4) Check How You Pay For Things

If youÕre paying interest on your credit card, transferring the balance to a 0% card could save you hundreds a year and mean you can pay it off faster.

Relying on your overdraft can be an expensive way of borrowing unless yours is interest free. Move the money you owe in your overdraft to a 0% credit card and pay it off in regular installments interest free. Make sure you donÕt slip back into your overdraft when youÕve done this.

 

5) New Year, New You?

DonÕt get dragged into the health and fitness craze of January if you canÕt afford it or donÕt think youÕre going to stick to it.

 

There are plenty of ways to get fit without having to fork out for a gym membership or pay £10 for a spin class.

Use sites like YouTube where there are lots of home workout videos. If you donÕt like that, a good old-fashioned run is always a good place to start.

 

6) Stop Telling Yourself ÔItÕs Only a Couple Of QuidÕ

Fun money can make the difference between a tight and an easy month. Every small spend adds up, whether itÕs the morning coffee on the way to work or the cheeky pint on the way home - it all adds up.

Think about how often youÕre spending just a couple of pounds and see if you can change your habit. Make your coffee at home and invite a friend over for a pint. ItÕll cost you so much less in the long run.

 

7) Set Yourself A Money Goal

Whether itÕs to stay out of your overdraft, to pay off a credit card or to start saving for a deposit on a house, give yourself a goal.

 

Hold yourself accountable for it and have monthly check-ups to see how youÕre doing. Tell a friend or family member what youÕre doing and get them to ask you how itÕs going. Small changes can make all the difference.