In the warm afterglow of Christmas, it’s easy to start making New Year resolutions. Cut out the Danish with the morning coffee. Take a walk every day. Perhaps even cut down on using the internet.
It’s a lot harder to actually stick to them, especially if they mean breaking habits we enjoy. So this year, we would like to suggest some financial resolutions which could not only help you make more of your money in 2019, they could actually be enjoyable – which makes them a lot easier to stick to.
Resolve to track your spending
If you ever wonder where the money goes each month, you need to find the answers. You know about the big regular bills, your mortgage, council tax, and your car payments. But it’s easy to forget about the little things, the daily coffee, the odd bottle of wine.
An app on your phone is the easiest way to note everything you spend, because it’s always at hand. The fun comes from discovering where the cash is going and working out how you can hold on to a little more of it.
Resolve to stick to a budget
Once you know what you are spending, you can get in control of your personal budget. You can probably cut costs, rather than cut back on the things you actually enjoy. Shop around, take advantage of special offers, and cut out the things you pay for but never use – gym subscriptions can be a waste if you never actually go. Sticking to your new budget is enjoyable, because it avoids the stress of running short before next payday and should even leave you with a little extra each month.
Resolve to deal with debt
A mortgage may be unavoidable, but most other debts are not, and they are costing you money which could be working for you. You can use your new monthly cash to pay them off.
Credit cards are a good place to start, because interest rates can be very high. Switch all your outstanding balances to a card with a 0% balance transfer offer, and set aside as much as you can to paying it off before the offer runs out. If you still find yourself reaching for a credit card, you might want to cut them up, and use a debit card instead. Getting out of debt can come as a huge relief.
Resolve to save for the future
Once you have debt out of the way, you can concentrate on using the cash which was going on repayments and interest for your own benefit, not the credit card company. In other words, you can start saving.
Saving is gradually becoming more rewarding – and therefore more enjoyable.
The higher Bank of England base rate has helped support better rates from some banks and building societies, while falling inflation means that saving money no longer always means watching its actual value shrink.
See our savings rate calculator here
Resolve to find the best way to grow your money
Saving for the long term should be a priority. Put more into your pension. Utilise your annual ISA allowance which will offer a tax efficient way of saving. There are many ways to make your money work harder for you.
Of course, everyone’s needs are different, and getting professional help to understand your savings objectives and the best ways to reach them is essential.
For the help you need, make the resolution to call us at Continuum, and in the meantime, let us wish you a prosperous New Year.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
The value of your pensions and investments, and the income they produce, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
Equity investments do not afford the same capital security as deposit accounts.