As we move into the final month of 2017, many of us will spend time reflecting on the year that’s just passed.
For many, 2017 may have been a year of financial success. Perhaps you managed to clear that credit card debt, improve your credit score or make your first contributions towards a savings accounts.
Regardless of how 2017 has treated your finances, now is a great time to put all of that behind you and focus on the next 12 months.
In this post we’re going to discuss 5 money moves that will benefit your finances in 2018.
1. Review your monthly expenses and adjust NOW!
Alongside losing weight and improving health, budgeting is one of the top new years resolutions in the UK. And much like the health-related resolutions, staying on top of a budget goes out of the window after the first few months.
Creating a budget is one thing, but sticking to it and reviewing it regularly is another. All too often, unnecessary expenses such as TV subscriptions, takeaways and clothing purchases start to creep in. Before you know it, your savings goals are out of the window and its back to the normality of living from pay check to pay check.
There is no better time than now to re-create your budget and make the necessary adjustments. Here’s how you do it:
- Access the last 3-6 months’ worth of statements from your internet banking
- Highlight areas of overspending or unnecessary spending
- Cancel any unused subscriptions
- Create a realistic budget for all other expenses
Often where people go wrong is being over-ambitious with their savings. Start with small goals like reducing your food bill but £20 a month or reducing the amount spend on nights-out by £30 a month.
By reviewing your expenses now, you are putting yourself in an excellent position for 2018.
2. Open a Savings Account
A huge mistake that many will make is not putting in the infrastructure to facilitate their goals.
We see this all the time with those looking to lose weight in the new year. They buy a gym membership on the 1st January but go in without a plan. Their home is still laden with festive treats waiting to sabotage their diet plans.
The same goes for personal finance related goals. Everyone has the best intentions at heart, but they simply don’t have the plans in place to reach the goal.
A simple savings goal would be to put £100 away each month. Yet people wait until the banks open again after the new year to apply for a savings account. This process takes a while to complete and before you know it, it’s mid-January and you can’t afford to put money away. Failing month-one leaves an uphill battle for the rest of the year – one that many simply won’t be able to climb.
Open your savings account now, and set up a direct debit (on payday) for your savings amount. Remember, start small and acclimate – this is a marathon, not a sprint!
3. Educate yourself
As Brits, it’s up to us to learn about personal finances. There is financial guidance in the curriculum, nothing to teach us about getting on to the property ladder or handling our credit card debt.
Because of this, many will go through their 20s without ever learning the fundamentals of personal finances.
Fortunately, we can access everything we’ll ever need to know about finance via our smartphone. From blogs to forums and podcasts to audiobooks, we have an endless stock of information at out fingertips.
Spending some time over the next 12 months learning about different types of mortgages, savings accounts, investment funds will have huge benefits to your personal finances in the long-run.
So, download a few audio-books or subscribe to a few podcasts and listen to them onto your drive into work – it’s better than that same old music they play on the radio!