Soon enough, it will be time to wave a massive goodbye to 2017 and welcome the new year with open arms. As we move into next year, you likely have a few resolutions on your mind already. Now, how many of them involve your money? You may have a resolution to ‘have more cash,’ but how are you going to make that happen? With that in mind, here are just ten resolutions that we all need to make.
1. Set a monthly budget (and stick to it)
Yawn. There’s nothing like the topic of budgeting to send people to sleep. After all, this word has so many negative connotations. It suggests never being able to spend your hard-earned cash and scrimping. But wait just a minute, that’s not what it’s about at all. In fact, when you get it right, budgeting is actually all about understanding your money better than ever before and, frankly, having more freedom to do whatever you please with it.
Setting a monthly budget is the best way to have actual control over your money, which means that you will have more disposable (i.e. spendable) cash at the end of the month. There are lots of techniques that you can try for yourself. The ‘envelope budget’ method means that you divide up your income into different categories so you know what you can and can’t spend. It’s that simple.
Check out: The Cleo Budgeting app
2. Get a second income
If you’re always down to your last tenner right before payday, it could mean that something is wrong. When you’ve got more outgoings than your income can cope with, it is a real problem. Of course, you could try to decrease the amount you’re spending on bills and subscriptions, but if that doesn’t cut it, it could be time to think about what to do next.
Getting a second income is, of course, easier said than done. You need to figure out what you feasibly have time for and what you want to do. You could always get an extra part time job (be aware that you may get taxed higher for this job) or look for other ways to make cash. Buying and selling things online could be a simple way to make some extra money. Or you could try some paid surveys. Start researching how you can get a second income today and try it in the new year.
3. Start a private pension ASAP
You may already have a pension at work, but starting a private pension is a smart move. Putting money away for your future means that you are quite literally investing in yourself. Sure, it may not be the most fun in the world, but it does mean that you’re making yourself more secure.
As we approach 2018, it may be worth starting to look at what pension plans are out there. It can all be a tad confusing to start with, and so the more time that you have to investigate this area, the better. Then, when January finally comes around, you can start saving properly for this thing. Easy!
Check out: Pension Calculator
4. Move to a better current account
You have probably never even thought about whether your current account is the right one for you. After all, most of us just open an account and never bother to change. Who needs the hassle of moving all your details over and changing your cards? Well, maybe you do. In reality, some accounts suit some people better than others. You need to figure out which one happens to suit you and your financial situation.
Oh, and as if that weren’t reason enough to make the change, there’s also the fact that you could get some rather sweet rewards for changing banks. For example, right now, First Direct offer £125 up front for free, HSBC offer £150, and TSB offer an £130 bonus. What’s more, as the new year approaches, there may be extra deals you can nab.
5. Get a little extra support and help
Psst… If you’re on a low income, there is support out there. Until now, you may not have realised what kind of benefits and help you could get. In the new year, make it your mission to find out what you’re entitled too. From tax credits to income support, there’s a wealth of options out there which will mean that you have a little more when it really counts. Remember, these services are there for a reason, and so it’s silly not to use them.
Read: Help on low income
6. Pay off your credit cards
Credit card debt is something you can ignore… for so long, at least. If you’re paying a large chunk of cash off every single month, it can be a real pain. What’s more, all too often, people opt to pay off only the interest which means that they will end up staying in debt forever. Not a great call. So, what can you do about it?
Well, the key to conquering this issue is to make a plan. You need to figure out how much you can afford to pay off each month and how quickly that will get you out of debt as well. You may also want to consider moving the debt to a new card with an introductory interest rate so that you can buy yourself some time. Tackling this kind of thing won’t be easy, but as soon as you dedicate yourself to doing it, you’ll find that it starts to slot into place.
Check out: Debt Snowball Calculator
7. Start an emergency fund
Emergencies happen. You might think that you have everything under control, but you just cannot predict what the future holds for you. Sadly, that means that you can’t see when things are about to go terribly wrong. Whether it’s your dishwasher breaking or you having to get somewhere in a hurry, everything costs money. You may have accounted for most things in your life, but if you overlook these, you could be in trouble.
Setting aside some cash to keep you safe when these things happen is the smartest way to deal with the issue. Seriously. And you probably know that. The reason you may not have saved in the past, though, is likely because it’s hard to know where to start. In 2018, resolve to create an emergency fund for yourself. You deserve that sort of security.
Read: Trying to save money? Try this psychological hack | The 52 Week Challenge + alternatives
8. Become energy efficient
Here’s a resolution that can help the environment and also your bank balance. Why not resolve to be more energy efficient? Doing simple things like turning all your plugs off at night or taking shorter showers could make all the difference. The point here is that you need to consider the ways in which you can save energy. There are loads of small things that you can do each day, but you just have not thought of them yet. Make a plan for 2018 of ways you can save the planet — and stick to it!
Read: How To Cut Back On Bills
9. Say ‘no’ to pointless payments
Are you paying for things that you just don’t need? Whether it’s subscriptions, fees, or just the odd cup of coffee, there are a whole load of ways that you could save money. Much of the time, people have no idea where their cash actually goes. It rolls in and out of their account before they even realise what’s happened. If you feel that you have no control over your money, this could well be the underlying reason.
Let’s face it, there are some things that you simply do not need to spend money on. You know it and yet you ignore your instincts and do it all the same. Make a habit out of trying to understand where your money goes. Think about it each time you make a payment. In doing so, and saying no to more things, you could save a load of cash.
10. Learn more about personal finance
How much would you say that you know about personal finance? Most of us tend to think that we have things in check, but is that really the case? The more you educate yourself in this area, the easier things will be. Luckily, you’re already on the right path. You’re reading this, which means that you do care about saving and having more cash. As the new year comes around, follow up on this and learn as much as you can about looking after your finances. It may just be the best resolution you ever make.