The holiday period is a time where many of us may spend a little more than usual, and we may find ourselves needing to stretch our money a little further. As we enter another New Year, now is as good a time as any to re-evaluate our spending habits, get our finances in and work out main goals for 2022.
We’ve compiled some top tips to help you start the New Year stress free.
Continue to pay your priority bills first - this includes rent, gas, electricity, water and Council tax. It is a condition of your tenancy that your rent is paid in advance and in full at all times.
- Cut costs where you can but be realistic
Cutting costs is undoubtedly essential, but they also need to be feasible. It’s good to understand what income you have compared to your outgoings, so you can prioritise what you do or don’t need. For example, what subscriptions or memberships do you have that you’re not using? When people have lots of different bills and direct debits throughout the year, it can also be difficult to keep an eye out for a better deal. See if switching to a different provider could help cut costs.
It’s all well and good to set financial goals for the year – but if they aren’t realistic, it’s difficult to achieve them. That’s why it’s important to firstly consider how to keep up the momentum to stay on top of one’s finances throughout the year.
Some banks provide useful online tools to keep tabs on your spending, so it’s worth seeing what your bank offers.
- Create a budget and consider your priorities
When it comes to your finances, planning is crucial. Depending on how quickly you want to reach your end goal, you may choose to cut out all luxuries like holidays and meals, putting every spare penny towards your savings target. Someone else may want to keep their luxuries but decide against getting a new car.
The key is to get the balance right for you. The best thing to do is sit down, make a budget, and plan what you want to achieve and spend your money on.
Organising your finances is key to starting your savings journey. Using a budgeting calculator can help keep you on track with what income and outgoings you have, be that for your rent, mortgage or other expenses, while also keeping you on target for any savings you want to make.
- Save little and often
Many use the start of the year as a time of self-reflection, which could also apply to both spending and saving habits.
If people get a spare moment they should try to review their saving or spending patterns and ask themselves what did and didn’t work in 2021 to consider how they can adapt their approach in the New Year.
If you had a savings goal for 2021, you may want to check whether you achieved this - and if not - why not and what could you have done differently?
Saving doesn’t need to be daunting, nor does it need to leave you struggling financially. Rather than setting aside large, unrealistic sums of money that will leave you struggling for the rest of the month, saving small amounts here and there can make a difference to long-term savings goals. It can be as simple as buying cheaper alternatives to your favourite snacks in the supermarket. Some banks also provide the option of ‘saving round-ups’ meaning if, for example, you spend £1.80 on an item, the account will ‘round-up’ the transaction and put aside 20p in a separate pot. This way you can save little and often without even realising. And you’ll be surprised at how quickly you saving pot grows.
To show your commitment to reaching your saving goals, why not create a ‘savings pay day’ pot every month. That means transferring a percentage of your total monthly salary straight into savings on the same day each month – treating it as a pay day to help meet your targets.
Saving is also available with Clevr Money (formerly Credit Union). Head over to their website to find out more.
Managing debt, however big or small, is ‘essential’ when setting one’s financial goals for 2022.
Reducing or avoiding adding to any existing debt is something that should be made a priority when reviewing your finances.
Prioritising is difficult when everything seems urgent. But it’s crucial to keep on top of your existing debts, like a credit card or personal loan, even if the balances are low.
If you do need to take out more credit, make sure you can make the required repayments and understand how much you’ll pay back and when. It’s particularly important to read your terms and conditions carefully and to do your research to help you choose a product that’s best suited to you and your situation.”
By figuring out priorities, people can decide the best way to get the most out of their budget. Working out your goals and budget can help you to understand your finances better and plan out the best way forward.
Once you’ve set out your New Year saving goals, making your money work harder for you and being savvy with how you get there might help you to achieve them even quicker. Whether that’s setting up a savings account, changing your spending habits there’s plenty of options to help you to reach your goals.
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