Keeping on top of your finances should be a year-round project. Before the New Year begins, now is an ideal time to step back and reassess where you can improve.
With that in mind, we’d like to share some money habits that we think everyone should try and take onboard this upcoming year.
Budgeting is without a doubt the most effective way to help organise your finances. It allows you to get an idea of your monthly spending, how much income you receive and helps you to track your income vs. expenditure. You can also assess your progress towards savings goals.
There are plenty of resources online that can help you get started with budgeting, such as the Money Advice Service’s Budget Planner.
2) Assess your bills
When it comes to bills like electricity and gas, it’s important to check that you are not overspending or being overcharged. We recommend regularly taking meter readings or switching to a provider who helps you track your energy usage. Make sure to shop around to find the best deal for you. There’s a chance your current provider might even be able to offer you a cheaper package.
If considering switching providers, look at websites such as uSwitch – a popular price comparison site. uSwitch claim that you could save around £482 a year when switching both your gas and electric supplier, even more of an incentive to shop around.
3) Check your credit report
No matter your financial situation, it is always worth looking at, and understanding your credit report. This helps build a picture of how creditworthy you are and provides a better insight into what kinds of credit products you may be eligible for. We’ve even written an article with more information on the importance of understanding them.
4) Make small changes to see big differences
It might not seem like it at the time, but small savings can mount up and make all the difference to what you can spend. To help cut costs perhaps you could start swapping premium brands for supermarket own; walk to work instead of taking public transport or bring your lunch to work rather than buying it each day.
5) Find free activities
A lot of us are guilty of unplanned overspending, be it leisurely shopping trips on the weekends or browsing the internet for a bargain in our free time. Try to avoid falling into the routine of this by planning and being productive with your time. Where possible keep costs to a minimum when considering new hobbies or activities; for instance, choosing a free art exhibition over the cinema, and coffee instead of lunch with friends.
6) Declutter your home
For this point it’s less about saving money, and instead about making some.
At one point or another we all seem to end up buying products that we want rather than what we might necessarily need. However, you may be able to make a few pounds from these used items – invest some time into looking at sites such as eBay or Depop, to help give your old items a new owner. You could also adopt the rule of ‘one in- one out’ when it comes to new purchases, particularly If you are keen to re-sell your old possession.
7) Don’t compare yourself to others
Peer pressure can play a big part in luring us into spending money, with pressure to keep up with the latest trends, and with no escape from social media it can be hard not to engage. But try to remember, social media is not a true representation of everyday life (for the majority).
Instead of following the trend, consider how you can emulate trends yourself, for example by beginning up-cycling projects and re-working what you already have.
8) Budget your bargains
Do you have an eye for a bargain, and always find yourself drawn to deals? It can feel like you’re saving money, however don’t be tricked into buying items on a whim. You could actually be spending unnecessarily on things you didn’t intend to buy. Therefore, we suggest keeping a list and doing your research before hitting the shops.
For more tips about up-cycling, budgeting and how to avoid impulse shopping, check out our blog. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year, from all of the team here at MYJAR.