New year, new approach to finances

3 £20 notes in a jar, approach to finances

Let’s face it, sorting out your finances is usually top of everyone’s New Year resolutions. And every year, around let’s say February or March, it seems to have dropped off. So this year, why not break the tradition, bite the bullet and start now to give your family finances an overhaul that will last the year? Not exactly fun, but it’s more rewarding than cleaning out your cupboards and a lot less effort. Here are three great places to start.

1. Face up to your credit card debt

Do your credit card bills never seem to go down? Most people couldn’t tell you what the interest rate is on their credit card, but if you haven’t changed your credit card provider for a while, the chances are your interest rates are pretty steep. And if you are only making the minimum monthly payment you may only be paying the interest, and not any of the balance. Find a credit card that is offering the best 0% on balance transfers offer, and transfer your balance quick. There is often a fee to pay, but if this makes sense for you, it will mean you can start paying off some of the balance which will make you feel a whole lot better about your debt.

2. Get savvy with gas and electricity

By far the bills that have hiked the most in recent years, energy prices have reportedly risen by over 150% since 2004. Although petrol costs are going down, unfortunately there’s no sign yet that home fuel and energy bills will follow suit. But there are still some great deals to be done by changing providers. Comparison sites are great places to start in any investigations into whether you could make a saving if you switch. Have a recent bill, pen and paper to hand, enter your details and the site should do the rest.

3. Investigate your phone and broadband package

If you have been with your provider for over the amount of time stipulated in your original contract, there’s no reason not to shop around to compare phone and broadband packages. It’s a good opportunity to reassess what your family needs too. For example, if you all have mobiles, is it worth investigating a package that covers this too? Do you need faster broadband speed? Or are you paying for TV channels that nobody watches? Give the major providers a call – it’s amazing how much they can differ.

Once you’ve got the above sorted, it is time to set yourself an achievable savings goal. Divide the amount you want to save by 12 to give you a manageable monthly amount to aim for. Everything from a monthly direct debit to a copper jar can help get you to your total. And here comes the fun bit – decide what you will spend it on. Maybe it’s a family holiday, a new fridge or garden furniture. Whatever you’re saving for, post a picture on your desktop to act as a visual reminder. Happy saving!

 

 

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