It’s easy to make a few New Year resolutions – and even easier to break them. But there are some promises to yourself you can make that can, and should, last all year round.
Think of these as your more realistic resolutions; the ones that you and your partner can easily keep for the whole year.
Track your spending
Maintaining a budget isn’t easy. It requires work and dedication to meticulously plan your incomings, outgoings, and everything you spend in between. And while it’s great if you can keep on top of your finances this way if you can, it’s not always feasible. Thankfully, there are a few apps out there now that can automatically connect to your bank account, in order to do all that hard budgeting for you. Some of these are even offered by banks themselves – but, so long as you choose a reputable one, you should have no excuse for not tracking your spending (without doing it all yourself!).
‘Do I really need it?’
One of the biggest drains on our finances are those little purchases we don’t watch. We convince ourselves that they don’t really count. That choccy bar we couldn’t resist at lunch time. That takeaway we have ‘every so often’. Those pressies for ourselves, like movies and clothes. So, get into the mindset of asking yourself if you really need to make that purchase (like, really, really need to). Impulse buys and gifts for yourself aren’t bad, but too much of a good thing can leave you severely out of pocket.
Make a shopping list
A nice, easy one, especially for the January sales: make a shopping list of things you need. And then stick to it (well, as best as you can, of course). If you’re hitting the high street – or even shopping online – then having a game plan can stop you buying stuff that isn’t really essential. Google can create shopping lists for you, so if you use its Google Assistant on your phone or smart speaker, you can simply tell it to add things to your list during the week, then review and purchase at the weekend.
Don’t buy the ‘bargain’ lie
Just because the shop tells you it’s a bargain, it doesn’t mean it really is. Do your homework, even if you’re out and about. Check shopping apps or on the internet to see if that ‘bargain’ really is one. ‘Pre-shopping’ is growing in popularity, and there’s nothing wrong with checking prices online before you buy in-store. Better yet, install the Chrome browser extension CamelCamelCamel, which charts the ups and downs of items in the Amazon store. That way, you can see the full price history of your items.
Start saving in a separate account
It doesn’t matter how much you’re putting aside each month, it’s crucial that you save something. Start the New Year by setting up a savings account, if you haven’t got one, with a bank that isn’t your primary provider. That way, you won’t be tempted to keep transferring your savings back into your main account. Then set up a direct debit for an amount you can reasonably ‘miss’ each month. Finally, forget all about it – at least until next year rolls around.