Right now, millions of people across the UK will be vowing to eat less and move more. And that’s great but what about improving your financial wellbeing?
Getting to grips with your financial situation is one of the best things you can do in the year ahead.
Taking control of the money you have and how you spend it can boost your overall happiness, confidence and security.
The start of a new year is a great time to take a good long look at your finances and make changes that will last not just the next few weeks – but for the rest of your life.
So here are our ten Financial New Year’s Resolutions to help you get started on boosting your wealth and take charge of your finances….
New Year’s Resolutions That Will Change Your Finances
1. Get to Know Your Finances
The most important New Year’s Resolution you can make is this: I promise to understand my finances.
- Are you paying over the odds for things?
- Or paying for things you don’t use?
Many of us let our bank accounts run wild, without really knowing what’s going in, and most importantly, what’s going out.
So, on the 2nd of January (you can give yourself the 1st of January off to get over the party), pull your head out of the sand and sit down with your bank statements from 2016.
Set out two columns: What went in and what went out in each month of 2016.
At the end of this exercise you will have a clear picture of how much you earned and how much you spent. Then you will be ready for the next step.
2. Make a Monthly and Yearly Budget
Once you know where you went wrong last year (and where you went right), you can start to budget for the year ahead.
List your predicted incomings and your outgoings on a monthly basis (don’t include money you ‘may’ get in 2017, just the definite cash).
Factor in things that could go wrong, such as cars breaking down. Once you have set everything down point-by-point, you will be able to see where you can make improvements.
For more information on creating a budget check out our handy guide on how to budget and harness your finances.
3. Clean Up Your Finances
If you have completed the first two steps you should now be armed with more information about your financial situation.
Your eyes are open. Now it’s time to give your finances an early Spring clean.
What does a weekly snapshot of your current outgoings look like? Does it look something like this: Amazon, Starbucks, credit card, bills, Gym membership-I-don’t-use, Next, Tesco, credit card, Tesco, etc? There may be a pattern emerging here….!
If you detect any specific patterns like this, make it a goal to cut spending on certain things.
Don’t renew your Amazon Prime, switch and save on bills and start doing a weekly, rather than daily, shop.
Small tweaks like this can save you hundreds in the long term.Small money tweaks can save you hundreds in the long term. Click To Tweet
4. Set REALISTIC Goals
Let’s face it – most of us make New Year’s Resolutions and are back on the wine and chocs the week after. Most New Year’s Resolutions and Goals are unrealistic.
You aren’t really going to get rid of all your worldly possessions, go and live in a cave and never treat yourself to a double mocha frappucino again. That would be unrealistic.
But you can make small changes, such as getting rid of unnecessary subscriptions, organising your monthly payments, opting for a homemade coffee or lunch on some days or switching your energy supplier.
You’ll be really amazed at how subtle changes can boost your finances. So don’t stop buying food, or paying the gas bill – just try and skim off the stuff you really don’t need.
5. Get Out of Debt
Hhm sounds easier than it looks, we hear you cry!
However, making inroads into that mountain of debt is perhaps the most empowering financial change of all.
Being debt free will bring you untold riches, both for your pocket and your wellbeing.
So your first priority is tackling debt. Start by pinpointing the important debts with most interest (store cards, credit cards, bank loans etc.). Can you can transfer these to a 0% card and pay off the monthly amount? Shop around for better deals on your debts.
There are lots of ways you can get help with managing your debt. For instance, you can read our handy guide to cutting specifics debts or check out debt charity National Debtline’s step-by-step guide to tackling debt here.
6. Start Saving
Once you know how much you’re paying out to clear any debts, why not squirrel some away into a savings account?
Even a small amount set aside each month can really add up. If you set up a direct debit for just £10 a week – by December 2017 you will have £480, enough to pay for next Christmas (or a lovely weekend away) without putting it on the credit card.
Any savings you make in your budgeting process put them in a savings account. But remember the golden rule: Always tackle debt first, before you start saving and investing.Remember the golden rule: Always tackle debt first, before you save. Click To Tweet
Related: How to Save Money on a Tight Budget
7. Be Healthy
You may not think it but being fit and eating better can actually improve your financial health as well.
We’re not talking posh organic food or joining an expensive gym – there are simple ways you can improve your health at no cost.
Swapping pre-packaged dishes, expensive sandwiches and takeaways for basic fruit, veg and meat can save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.
We may not have time to cook fresh food from scratch but careful meal planning and a weekly (instead of daily) shop is a great way to start eating more healthily (and frugally).
Ditching cigarettes is another great option – just think, if you smoke just five cigarettes a day and you quit – you will save a whopping £730 per year.
So that’s a double benefit – saving money AND being smoke free! For more information on giving up check out the NHS Smokefree website here.
Related: 8 Simple Ways to Keep Fit On a Budget (Gym Membership Not Required!)
8. Be the BOSS of Your Household
Household bills and food probably constitute your main outgoing chunk of cash each month.
After switching and saving on your energy bills or TV/car insurance/home insurance bills, you can use an app such as Goodbudget to track your household spending each month.Taking control of household finances will stop you from spending on the things you just don’t need.Click To Tweet
9. Invest in YOURSELF
You might be thinking of negotiating a pay rise this year. But it’s not as simple as just going into your bosses with your demands. Making an investment in yourself and your skills can seriously boost your earnings.
Check out our handy guide on How to Confidently Ask for More Money or a Promotion
By undertaking voluntary training, learning another language, improving your financial and computer skills or networking outside of work you will be able to show your boss that you can bring more for the money, giving you the edge over co-workers.
Investing in yourself may cost money in the short term but not only will it give you more skills to work up the career ladder, it may land you that all-important pay rise.
10. Be Financially Savvy
Managing your finances improves your lifestyle. But like anything else, it takes some doing.
Take some time to learn about the financial world and understand basic concepts such as savings accounts, interest rates, stocks and shares or pensions.
Knowledge is power – making an effort to educate yourself is the single most important step to understanding and managing your finances.
Why not Sign up for the Money Nuggets Weekly and take your first steps towards financial freedom this year.
Next Step – Your New Year’s Resolutions
Spend a few minutes after reading this in personal reflection and write down your New Year’s Resolutions – the financial resolutions you must make in order to achieve your financial goals this year.
And finally….Happy New Year! Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Financially Secure.
Over To You
What are your Financial New Year’s Resolutions for the year ahead? Share with us and help support other women on their journey to financial independence.
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