Have you kept your New Year’s resolution? According to 2011 research by allabouthealth.org.uk, the majority of British people give up just nine days into January!
If you resolved to sort your finances out in the New Year, but you’ve already started going off-course, you might be wondering what you can do. Having your resolution fail – or at least falter – within the first month can be a bit discouraging. Remember, goals can be set at any time of year and resolutions are not necessarily void if broken! We all get second chances!
Here are some top tips on how to get back on track with your 2013 financial resolutions and there are more detailed downloadable Budgeting Forms can be found on some website.
Look at your Christmas spending
The majority of people spend more than usual over Christmas. It is a fact that the temptation to treat kids and spoil friends is overwhelming! Even if you kept careful track of your festive spending, the extra expense can still put a bit of strain on your budget. Furthermore, this expense can often have an impact all the way through the year until the following Christmas – for the pain to start all over again!
You need to look over your Christmas spending as soon as you can – and plan how you’re going to deal with it. Credit card charges and missed deposits to savings accounts need to be put right! All you need to do is put in a little bit of hard work now and the problems will soon sort themselves out!
Deal with your debts
Get your 2013 budget in order if you have not already done so! One of my personal resolutions this year is to reduce my standard monthly outgoings (i.e. my flat-rate expenses). I have already managed to cut our mobile phone spending by £50 a year by switching to a sim-only tariff. While this is a great start, I by no means consider this goal complete – I will continue to try and save and reduce the base outgoings. After all, this leaves more money for doing the fun stuff!
I recently discussed 3 bad habits that blow your budget, but there are still thousands of you out there with no control or measure on how much you are spending. A budget is fundamental to planning any financial event – a holiday, buying a house, purchasing a car etc. Without one, you can only guesstimate how much cash you have left over each month after you’ve paid for the essential stuff (like food, your mortgage/rent, bills and fuel).
Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can decide how much of this you’ll use to pay off your debts / save / invest. As obvious as it might seem, if you pay a larger amount each month you’ll repay your debts more quickly and will be rid of the problems sooner!
Keep your finances healthy
Once you’ve got your Christmas debts out of the way, it will undoubtedly be much easier to stick to your budget on an on-going basis. With Christmas debt gone, you can identify the mistakes you made and plan ahead so that you don’t repeat them this year!
Revisit your budget and instead of deciding how much you should put towards your debts, this time decide how much of it you’re going to save. While lifestyle inflation (i.e. spending more and more on a ‘base case’) is extremely tempting, it is also completely unnecessary. If you quickly set up a standing order into a savings account, you will never notice the increased capital in the first place!
Once you’ve built up a savings pot you might be able to dip into it next time you need to – for example for gifts, a holiday or a ‘rainy day’ – or even Christmas 2013!
Have you got any debts that are not paid off from Christmas 2012?
We paid for everything outright for Christmas! 🙂
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[email protected] says
Because of my in-laws, Christmas is actually a moneymaking holiday for us (They tend to give us a large cash present every year). We put the money towards our debt and are chipping away at it. I hope that by Christmas of 2013 all of our CC debt from our new roof will be gone.
[email protected] recently posted..The Benefits of a Mortgage Free Retirement
Financial Black Sheep says
I must be the strangest person out there, because I add to my resolution (goal) list all throughout the year! I only break one if it doesn’t suit me or stuff hits the fan. I am a little surprised that people give up on resolutions so early, maybe they have the wrong ones. I don’t lie to myself, I am not going to run every day of the week and some weeks I am not going to run. I don’t know why people try to amp up a situation and make it a huge resolution like running every day.
As for Christmas, I always purchase my gifts before december, anywhere from July to November so the expenses are distributed quite evenly and I never have lingering debt from it.
Financial Black Sheep recently posted..No-Spending Challenge
Harry @ PF Pro says
I’m doing pretty good budget-wise, I guess I give out crappy gifts though b/c my budget didn’t really suffer too much during Christmas.
Harry @ PF Pro recently posted..My First Default With Lending Club
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says
You’re absolutely right that a lot of people start the new year in a not-so-great position due to overspending at Christmas. We have a Christmas budget and do a job staying on track. I think continuing to challenge yourself to find new ways to save is important – just like you’re doing. And having the grace to forgive yourself for mistakes and pushing forward too. 🙂
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Gratitude versus Entitlement
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says
Just 9 days? I would have thought people would last at least until the end of January. I would suggest that if you fell off course, to get back on. Don’t think that just because you had a hiccup that all hope is lost. We all get busy and fall off track. If we always gave up every time we failed, we would have never learned to right a bike or even walk.
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..Hidden Inflation
9 days is crazy huh… maybe this says more about British people! 🙂
Ah, I feel this one. I’ve been saying for months that I need to improve my saving habits and… well, not actually doing anything about it. No more! The shopping ban I’ve imposed this month will help, and hopefully when I sit down and take a good look at my finances (which most likely will be when I also sit down and do my taxes, oops) I’ll be able to see where I can cut back on certain things and save the money I need to save.
Manda recently posted..You Are What You Blog
How is the shopping ban going now Manda? 🙂
Going pretty well, I’m happy to report! We’re not even halfway through the month yet, though, so I’m not going to let myself feel even a little accomplished till then 😛
Budget and the Beach says
Not necessarily Christmas but debt from the summer when I had to get a root canal. The point it, it’s good to keep checking in with your goals and making sure you don’t fall off the wagon. Or if you do, get back on the wagon as quickly as possible. I didn’t have resolutions but I make small goals each month. I’d say I’m doing well with them! Yay!
Budget and the Beach recently posted..Link Love/Week in Review 2/8/13
Get back on the wagon – LOVE that expression… just as much as I do falling off it on a night out 😉
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
We paid for all of our Christmas gifts in cash (well on our credit cards and then paid in full immediately), so we didn’t start out the year with any CC balances. It’s hard to start the year fresh and motivated when you start out in a ton of debt from Christmas.
KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..How to Spend Too Much This Valentine’s Day
Well you are a bit of a role model then huh!? 😉
Darren @ideasforcash.co.uk says
The phrase “Christmas debt” is quite a sad phrase – even sadder that we all accept and use those words as a matter of course. I’ve stuck to my resolutions (which were actually quiet promises I made to myself) and am glad I do not find it so problematic and challenging like some people seem to.