I don’t know if it is just me, but 2017 has gone by fast. And our lives are going to be changed again any day now with the arrival of Frugal Baby #2. But, as 2017 winds down, it’s natural to think ahead to the new year. What is 2018 going to bring? What challenges are we going to face? Are there going to be triumphs ahead? Here’s hoping!
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! Plus, if you start the year off in a good financial sense, then the rest of the year should follow suit, all being well.
Here are 5 smart financial moves to make before the new year:
1) Take time to look over your budget. It might seem a tough time to try out a new budget, with all of the holiday spending. However, it can be even more eye opening when it’s a month where spending can be particularly high. 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. £2 coins are something easy to save but add up to a lot over the year 🙂 you could save these all throughout the year and then either use them for Christmas or for a treat in the colder months. It’s up to you!
5) Start the account tidy. I’ve written about this before and I talk about this all the time, but the account tidy is such an easy thing to do to increase your savings. If you get into the habit of doing this regularly, then you’ll see the difference and benefit over time. It takes only a few moments to do too. I love this; it adds over £100 to our savings every month without us really noticing the money going somewhere else.
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 2018 off to a positive financial point. Which, considering we’re on a reduced household income for the moment, will be ideal!
Do you agree? Have I missed anything out? Please let me know!
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