Along with getting fit, quitting smoking and learning a foreign language, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is getting control of finances. If you’re one of the millions of Brits struggling to make your paycheque last till the end of the month, or if you’ve taken out credit cards with additional debt, getting your bank balance into good health should be right at the top of your to-do list for 2017. And it’s never too early to start laying the groundwork for your New Year’s resolutions.
Before you start creating a New Year’s budget, you need to get to know your bank balance. Spend a bit of time looking through your statements to work out exactly where your cash is going, taking food shopping, clothes shopping and entertainment into account as well as essentials like household bills, rent or mortgage payments.
If you can’t see where your money is going, try keeping a spending diary for a week or two. Write down every time you pay for anything, and then take a look at the journal at the end of the period to find out where your money has gone.
Now you know what you’re spending your money on, you can take steps to reduce your outgoings. First, work out how much money you need every week to cover absolute essentials. Add a little extra to this budget for unforeseen urgent payments like car repairs or home maintenance charges.
To make elements like the food shop more affordable, try creating a weekly menu for your family. If you know exactly what you’re cooking every night, you can buy your food in bulk. This will help you avoid unnecessary trips to the shops, saving you time as well as money.
As with any resolution, it’s important to be realistic when creating a budget. If you have any spare cash, put a little aside for treats and entertainment; otherwise, you’ll end up eating into your core funds next time you go out for the night.
If you find you can’t stick to your New Year’s budget, or if you’re hit with a surprise payment, it’s important to have a back-up plan. Instead of running your credit card or racking up expensive overdraft charges, try taking out a short term loan. This will help to consolidate your debt and will ensure you can keep track of the money you’ve borrowed smoothly and efficiently.
As loans come with set repayment schedules, it should be relatively easy for you to slowly pay back the loan while sticking to your weekly budget.
For more budgeting advice and loan information, explore our site or contact a member of our team.