Shaping up our finances is one of our top three resolutions every year for around half of us, (44% to be exact). Losing weight and getting fit are the other two, if you want to know? Yet despite all the promises we make on New Year’s Eve, before January’s out over half of us are back to our old habits.
Hardly suprising when so many of us set crazy, unrealistic goals.
‘Sorting out your money’ is a big project and you need to tackle it in bite-sized chunks or you’ll give yourself a serious financial headache.
When it comes to our biggest financial regrets of 2011, not saving enough and failing to pay off our debts were the top two, according to research from First Direct Bank, so for most of us this is a good starting point.
First up I’d go for clearing credit card debts as there’s no point feeling smug ‘saving’ while you’re still shelling out on interest payments. Most savings accounts pay a paltry 2-3% yet credit card interest can be nearer 18% so if you can’t clear your credit card in one go, switch to one with a 0% deal so you won’t pay interest while you chip away at the debt.
Make one small change a week and pop the savings in a pot so you can see instant results. This makes money saving feel less like a chore and gives you incentive to keep going!
If you ferry the kids to various after-school clubs, stock up with drinks and snacks from home to save stopping at petrol stations for expensive (and unhealthy) snacks to keep them going.
And simple stuff like setting a savings goal, rather than just sticking away what’s left at the end of the month can boost your savings pot by over 40% a month!
Have a happy and ‘financially savvy’ new year!
Sue Hayward is a money and consumer broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue writes and talks on family finance on both radio and television and contributes to many of the women’s magazines and money websites. Sue’s written two books, the latest of which is ‘How To Get The Best Deal’.