If you are looking to organise your finances as part of your New Years resolutions, there are a number of simple and practical steps you can take today to put you on the right path.
Perhaps you didn't meet your financial goals last year, and you are looking to make amends in 2018. Even if you have big financial targets such as reaching a savings amount or paying off debts, there are lots of small changes you can make to your spending and saving habits to help you on a day-to-day basis.
Transfer Your Debt
Review your outstanding debt and assess the amount of interest you are paying on it. You may benefit from moving some of the debt around or putting it all in one place. If you transfer money to a new card, look out for 0% balance-transfer deals. These allow you to transfer debts free of interest for a set period of time, giving you more time to pay off the balance without incurring fees. Interest rates are often high after this period though, so be sure to keep an eye on the amount owed.
Increase Your Free Overdraft
Post-Christmas, it’s very easy to slip into your overdraft, but this isn’t necessarily a problem, providing you have a good interest-free overdraft limit. Check your current limit, and if you believe you’ll need a bigger overdraft, do some research into different accounts and their terms. While it’s advisable to avoid overdrawing at all, it’s useful to have some form of interest-free amount to be able to access in emergencies.
Cancel Unnecessary Direct Debits
With more and more products and services adopting a subscription model, it’s very easy to forget about direct debits. If you aren’t checking your bank statements regularly, it’s very easy to keep paying for services you no longer use. Make a point of checking your direct debits and cancelling any that you don’t need any more. Be sure to check your statements regularly too.
Plan Your Expenses
Make a list of the expenses that you know you have coming up throughout the year and work out how much and when it is going to cost you. If there are any expenses you can pay up front, you may save money as paying over time can work out more expensive. You may also wish to move the expenses around as buying at different times of the year can work out cheaper.
Download Finance Software
There is a variety of different software and apps that can help you plan out your finances and assist you in budgeting for the year. Some apps allow for savings goals, and may alert you if you deviate from your target or suggest ways you can improve.