Kirsty Holden, mummy saving expert over at themoneysavingmum.com, helps families live the good life for less. She regularly shares hints and tips over on her blog to help you stretch the family budget.
If you are one of the many thousands that have overspent this Christmas… don’t panic you’re not alone! Some people just don’t like to talk about money!
January is a very important month to not only set your goals for the year ahead but also look back and reflect on last year… what can you learn from the things you did last year (or didn’t do)?! Although you should never wait to analyse your finances, and you must certainly NOT do so just once a year; the beginning of January feels like an ideal time to do so.
Today I’m sharing with you my top five financial resolutions that you can implement right now, while you wait for your first pay cheque of the new year, along with ways to help you stick to them:
I will NOT overspend
Analyse your budget
When was the last time you wrote your income and expenditure down and analysed what you saw in front of you? If you find your expenditure is higher than what is coming in, you need to do something about it ASAP!
Take a look at each of your expenses individually. Think about it and ask yourself… are they keeping you warm, fed and watered… be brutal! If it seems you do have money left then brilliant! You should prioritise those funds accordingly ensuring you use any ‘spare money’ to pay off any outstanding debts.
While this isn’t something any of us like to do with ‘spare cash’, priority debts can have serious consequences if you don’t pay them and could include mortgage repayments and loans secured on your home. These should be high up on your list to repay regularly.
Budgeting is the heart of all financial planning and if you don’t do it you’re just setting yourself up to fail.
I will NOT overpay
Once you’ve looked at your budget it’s time to ask yourself some questions. If your expenditure is higher than it should be where are you overpaying? Where are you spending all of your money, and where can you save?
- When did you last switch your energy provider?
- When did you last switch your broadband?
- Can you downgrade your TV package?
- Why can’t you shop at Aldi instead of Waitrose?
- Can you save by going sim-only on your mobile phone contract?
Even if you’ve got money left at the end of the month you should still regularly look at where you can save yourself some money. You may even be able to invest it elsewhere such as your pension!
I WILL pay off my debts
Set a goal and write it down… make it clearly visible
Whether that goal is to pay off one of your credit cards in full by the end of the year or even save up enough for next Christmas, ensuring you’re not going to be in this same position next January, if you can see your goals then you’re more likely to focus on them.
In addition to it providing focus, it also provides you with motivation and a reason for doing what you’re doing. It’ll also make you feel amazing when you reach that goal.
I will NOT stress about money
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself…
When you set that goal don’t aim too high. Be specific but measure progress and set smaller targets within big ones.
Ask for help if you need to and be realistic… don’t automatically presume you’re going to win the lottery and if you don’t fully achieve your goal look at what you HAVE achieved. It will be more than what you had achieved at the start!
There are debt charities out there that will be happy to help you arrange a debt management plan if you can’t so again you don’t have to do this alone.
I will make MORE money
Look for other ways to increase your income
There are so many ways in which you can increase your income nowadays, what with the internet at your fingertips.
I have tons of way to make extra money over on my website that include getting cash back on your grocery shopping, receiving money for taking part in surveys and going freelance.
Do you have a skill? Do you love something that someone else hates that you can do from home or in your own time? How about babysitting, baking or even cleaning for example! What can YOU offer people that they maybe don’t want to do themselves?