With each new year comes a desire to stick to your resolutions and at the top of many people’s lists is saving money. To help you get your finances in shape once and for all we’ve compiled some smart habits for you to stick to from January right through to December.
- Focus on one attainable goal
At the start of the year, write down a financial goal that you know you’ll be able to work towards and achieve. Trust us when we say that aiming for a figure that’s too high will soon cause you to give up altogether. In fact, it’s been found that people who set a goal will save faster and up to £550 more than those that don’t. Grab a pen, sit down and write down a figure that you want to aim toward and set yourself a realistic timeframe to do so.
- Create a monthly budget
Once you’ve set your main financial goal, you should break it down into more manageable chunks. Saving a certain amount every month is a great system to make sure you stay on track as it will allow you to develop good money habits rather than frivolously spending on things you can’t afford or don’t need. This will also allow you to see exactly where your money is being spent so that you can cut out unnecessary spending in the future. We’ve discovered that one of the easiest ways to save money is to set up a standing order so that the amount you specify can be transferred into your savings account each month. Give this account a name such as ‘USA Road Trip Fund’ or ‘Mortgage Savings,’ and you’ll have something there to remind you about your goal every time you think about chipping away at your savings. If you want to find a savings account that’s perfectly tailored to your needs, comparison websites such as Be Wiser are usually a good place to start. To save even more, you can also compare business insurance quotes with Be Wiser.
- Have ‘no spend’ weeks
Don’t worry; this tip sounds more difficult than it actually is. Essentially, try to make one day of each month a week where you only spend money on necessities such as food and bills. These are the weeks were convenience items, and random purchases should be stopped. Once you’ve succeeded in a few no spend weeks, you’ll find it easier to complete a no spend month, and you’ll be surprised at just how much you’ve saved at the end of it. This exercise will encourage you to find low-cost (or free) alternatives to the items that you tend to spend money on every day.
- Compare prices and buy ahead
Research the stores that you often frequent and know when they have items that you usually buy on offer. Then, when they’re cheaper than normal make sure that you stock up. This level of planning can really help you to become a savvy saver, and soon you’ll ever wonder why you bought anything at full price. For bigger purchases, try to stick to a limit and if it isn’t something that you definitely need, wait a few weeks or so to see if your impulse is still there. Impulse buying is a killer when it comes to saving, but by changing your attitude toward money in this way, the pennies will soon start racking up. Another great tip is to follow your favourite retailers on social media. Stores like Amazon, ASOS, and Debenhams often share their latest deals on sites such as Twitter so by doing this you’ll be the first in the know.
- Clear out the clutter
Make this year the year you finally de-clutter your home and throw away, donate or sell anything that you no longer want or use. Sites like eBay often have periods where you won’t be charged for listing items to sell so make sure that you jump at the chance and list everything that you think can be re-used. You can often sell your old mobile phones (even if they’re faulty) for a considerable price on sites such as mazumamobile.com and Music Magpie will take any unwanted CDs, DVDs, and games off your hands for some money too. Not only will this task boost your yearly savings, but you’ll be creating some much-needed space in your home.