New Year’s Resolutions are hard to keep. It’s that time of year again. That wonderful time of year when you look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘this year, I’m going to improve my personal finance, lose weight, hit the gym, stress less, work less and go on 3 holidays.’ But, come February, you’re sitting on the couch and eating a bar of chocolate. We’ve all been there.
New Year’s Resolutions usually goes like this: You roll out of the Christmas period having eaten more cheese than the rest of the year combined and then expect yourself to go – excuse the Christmas pun – go cold turkey on all of the fun stuff. It’s no wonder that so many resolutions are ditched just as soon as they’re started.
However, when it comes to your personal finance, it might be worth sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions. Imagine how much better you’ll feel next year if your credit rating is better or you’ve paid off a huge chunk of your debt.
And you know the best thing about sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions ? It doesn’t require lots of effort like losing weight or eating better, just a few small changes here and there can make a huge difference to your personal finance.
So, without further ado, here are 5 tiny (well, pretty small) changes you can make to save money, improve your credit score and just generally take better care of your personal finance in 2017.
#1: Get started with your New Year’s Resolutions – Make a budget
OK, it’s not sexy and – unless you love spreadsheets – it’s not particularly fun. But having a budget can make a huge difference to your personal finances. We spoke at length about budgeting last month, but it’s worth reading again. Although it sounds like a chore, knowing how much money you have to spend a month is actually quite liberating. You don’t feel afraid to spend, as long as it is within your monthly budget!
#2: Start a side hustle
Are you good at something? Writing, maths, crafts, guitar, fixing cars? Why not earn a bit of extra cash by doing it in your spare time? You can start up a website and social media to advertise it (for free!) and be earning in no time.
For more ideas on starting a side hustle, check out our post on creative ways to earn money on the side.
However, do not forget to let the Tax Man know about any additional income!
#3: Start saving
Even if it’s only a tiny amount to begin with, putting money away into a rainy-day fund can make a huge difference to your personal finances and to your stress levels. We can’t oversell the benefits of having a bit of money to fall back on if times get tough!
#4: Plan your meals and shop online
Did you know that the average UK household wastes almost £500 on food every year. Wouldn’t you rather that £500 in the bank (or used to treat yourself) than tipped into the bin? Start planning your meals for the week, make a list of ingredients and order them online. Not only can you avoid the ‘oh! That’s cheap, let’s get it (even though we don’t need it)!’ situation, but you can plan meals which use the same ingredients or repurpose leftovers, saving yourself even more money.]
#5: Set yourself money goals
We saved the best for last for New Year’s Resolution personal finance tips – this one doesn’t cost a penny and doesn’t require any real effort: setting yourself a realistic, achievable goal to achieve by the end of the year. Psychology shows that saying you’re going to do something makes you far more likely to achieve it, so why not choose something and go for it? Whether it’s finally starting to build up a nest egg, paying off your credit card debt or saving up for a mortgage deposit, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to do when you make it your goal for the year.