Is Your New Year's Resolution To Save Money?
08 January 2018
January is that time of year where many of us are feeling the pinch. Having maxed out the credit cards over Christmas and New Year, now we’re trying hard to pay off our debts and spend less. Not easy when everything from our weekly grocery shop to our travel costs are rising with inflation, whereas our salary packets don’t reflect these increased costs.
3 Money Saving New Year Resolutions
The New Year is a great time to get your finances straight and plan for the future. By making some changes now you can look forward to having more control over your money and the peace of mind that delivers.
Financial worries can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. The average UK household debt is close to £13,000, with many people borrowing to make ends meet. This puts individuals and families under pressure, increasing stress and mental health issues, affecting personal and professional relationships, and the ability to work and earn a living.
We hope the ideas below will help you save money and make 2018 the year you take control of your finances.
1. Consolidate your debts
The quicker you can pay off credit and store card debts, and any other loans you have taken out, the less money you will pay. However, that’s not easy if you can’t afford to pay them off with a lump sum, which is why many people will still be paying for Christmas 2017 throughout 2018.
The first step is to review all your purchases so you know exactly how much you owe – in the pre-Christmas rush it can be easy to lose track of your spending and then get a nasty surprise when your credit card bill arrives.
When you know how much you owe, you can now calculate the best way to pay it back. For example if you’re still in the fixed period for a 0% credit card, monthly payments may be the best option. Or if you’ve received some cash as a gift, you might want to pay off some of your debt with a lump sum. Alternatively, you can consolidate your debts by looking for an affordable loan that allows you to pay off those high interest credit card debts, and make more manageable monthly payments at a lower rate. This will save you money and help your earnings to go further.
Find out more about fairer finance and affordable loans here.
2. Take control of future spending
As well as knowing how much you owe you also need to know what money is coming in and what is going out. A great New Year Resolution is to download and use a budgeting and personal finance app, which will allow you to keep track of your household expenditure and budget accordingly. Some apps can also be securely linked to your bank account so that you can see what money you have, and where it needs to be spent.
3. Start budgeting for Christmas 2018!
Spreading your Christmas spending over the entire year makes it much easier to budget for gifts, consumables and entertainment; and also means that you won’t be struggling to pay for it in January 2019. It’s also a good way to spend less overall as you can take advantage of offers and discounts throughout the year, instead of panic buying in December. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a good opportunity to buy presents at great prices, you can get similar discounts at other times of year too.
Another option is to buy gifts through salary sacrifice schemes. Many of us buy electronics as Christmas presents and these may be available through your employer. Salary sacrifice schemes help you budget and manage your money - by staggering payments over several months - and also offer great savings on popular products. If you work in the NHS and contribute to the NHS Pension Scheme you can make further savings on purchases through our home electronics salary sacrifice scheme, details here.
Taking control of your finances now may seem daunting but will ultimately give you peace of mind and enable you to make good decisions about spending throughout 2018 and into the future.
If you are struggling with your finances, ask your employer to find out whether they offer any support. Companies and organisations that are registered with Vivup offer a range of services and support for their employees, from fairer finance and debt management, to salary sacrifice schemes. More details can be found here.
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