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?