The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to get on top of some of the tasks you’ve been putting off for a while. For some people that means a good detox after a Christmas cake binge, picking up the exercise routine that didn’t quite make it out of last February, or committing to reading more books. Something to consider as we give ourselves an annual clean slate is making resolutions that centre your financial wellness. Nobody can be blamed for letting their focus slip from financial best practice during the year we’ve just had, but the best time to start getting things in order is always today (when yesterday is no longer an option, anyway!)
With that in mind, here are some ideas for resolutions you can set yourself to get your finances in better shape this year!
Work on your debt
It’s easy to get carried away with the credit cards over Christmas, and even if you haven’t, January is a good time to assess your debts and take stock of your priorities. Perhaps one of your credit cards is hitting you with a heavier interest rate than you realised, it’s often wise to focus on reducing your interest payments before worrying about saving your income, as it may save you money in the long term.
You could be eligible for a 0% balance transfer credit card which, for a fee, will give you the time to tackle your debt without accruing further interest. There are even balance transfer cards which don’t charge a fee, but do have shorter interest-free periods.
Get into a routine of saving
The time might be right for you to think seriously about how much of your monthly income you’re putting into savings. You should be aiming to have savings separate from any pension contributions, and while how much is the right amount to put away will differ from person to person, a goal of 10-15% of your income is a great resolution to give yourself.
Giving yourself a goal for your savings, whether it’s a total figure or a particular purchase, can be a helpful incentive. The most important thing is getting into the habit of putting money aside every month.
It’s much easier to lose control of your finances when you don’t have a plan. Start deciding exactly how much you want to spend on a weekly or monthly basis and stick to it. Nobody said it was easy, but it’s certainly rewarding.
The Money Advice Service have a free budget calculator online, here.
Learn more about personal finance
The more you know when it comes to your own finances, the better. There are self help books, blogs and podcasts widely available. While some topics can be complex and are best left to the professionals, understanding the basics of your financial wellness will go a long way.
If you’d prefer a helping hand on your journey to financial success in the new year, our financial planners are always on hand to help. If you have any questions, please contact us on 01482 219325 or email [email protected].