I don’t know if it is just me, but 2014 has gone by fast. Like, really fast. A “blink and you’ve missed it’ fast. All of those new year’s resolutions that we made at the start of the year are probably languishing in a corner somewhere, forgotten and lost. A new set of promises are on the horizon, again probably forgotten by the second week in.
But, this time of year is the best time for having a bit of a financial sort out. A bit of a spring clean and spruce up, ready for the new year ahead. After all, who knows what the next year will bring us? A host of new experiences, new memories to treasure and mountains to climb. People will come and go during the year and new challenges will present themselves. Having your finances in order at the start of the year will help you no end during the time ahead!
Here are 5 smart financial moves to make before the new year:
1) Take time to look over your budget. I wrote a post last week about how to stick a budget for 2015, and this is the time to test road that budget and make any tweaks before the new year starts. Writing and sticking to a budget takes practise, so no time like the present to start with this! There may be categories that are new, or are no longer needed, so now is the time to iron out those creases.
2) Know your incomings and outgoings. You cannot possibly be in control of your finances if you do not know how much you have coming in each month and what (in general) goes out. Obviously, there are some flexible numbers within a budget, such as food and entertainment, but you should definitely know what your direct debits are and what they add up to each month. For us, these include the mortgage, water rates, council tax and insurance. Obviously, you need more coming in than going out, otherwise your budget needs looking at!
3) Check your savings rates. Savings rates are always changing, and you can bet that at least one of your savings rates has changed over the past year. Take some time to go through your savings accounts, and doing some research into whether you are getting the best rate. After all, making your money work for you is the first step to a better financial future!
4) Start a £2 savings jar. One of the first posts I wrote for The Frugal Cottage is The £2 Coin Challenge. The £2 coins we’ve saved this year have pretty much paid for all of our Christmas presents. £2 coins are something easy to save but add up to a lot over the year. In fact….
5) Save all loose change in a big jar. We save all 1ps, 2ps, 5ps and 10ps in a big jar, and every so often, count up all of the change and pay it into our savings account. I hate having lots of change to carry around, as is my husband, so we’re quite happy to chuck all of the smaller coins into a pot. It is surprising how this can add up! Another simple way to boost your savings.
I think these are relatively straight forward moves to do, as they can be done in a short space of time but will absolutely make 2015 off to a positive financial point, which in turn will (hopefully) mean that 2015 will be the best year yet.
Do you agree? Have I missed anything out? Please let me know!