Getting physically fit is one of the most common resolutions around, but what about your finances? If you’re struggling for inspiration, we’ve got seven tips to help you get them into shape.
With 2018 behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to the year ahead, and for many of us, this’ll include getting our finances in order. After all, we ought to start the year as we mean to go on, right?
With so much jargon and advice out there though, the world of money management can often be hard to get your head around, making getting into financial shape a less-than-simple task. So, to help you start 2019 on the right foot, we’ve stripped it all back with these seven tips.
1. Consolidate your debts
If you’re currently repaying two or more types of debt, it might be worth looking into consolidating them. There are a number of benefits to debt consolidation, but a couple of the main ones are:
- Because you’ll only have one payment to one lender to think about, it can make managing your money much easier.
- If your credit score has improved since you took out the original credit you’re repaying, you may be eligible for more competitive interest rates, which could save you money.
There are a number of different debt consolidation options available - like credit cards, balance transfer cards, money transfer cards and debt consolidation loans, to name just a few, and the suitability of each will depend on your unique circumstances. Check out our blog on debt consolidation to read up on its pros and cons here.
Without a budget, we’re all guilty of spending a bit of loose change here and tapping our plastic there, but although it doesn’t feel like much at the time, it all soon adds up.
Putting a budget in place is a good way to cap your spending and, hopefully, help you cut down on any spontaneous purchases. If you don’t trust yourself with your card, you could withdraw your weekly allowance at the start of the week, and limit your spending to what you have in cold hard cash - it’s not for everyone, but some people find their money easier to control when they can physically see it diminishing.
3. Revisit your bills
Just because you were happy with your broadband bill at the time, it doesn’t mean it can’t be better now. Dedicate some time to shopping around and see if there’s better bargains to be had elsewhere.
If you do find a better deal, go back to your current provider and let them know you’ve found a better offer. Odds are they’ll match or better it to keep your custom, and if they don’t, take your business elsewhere. Either way, your bank balance ends up better off.
Once you’ve done this for one bill, just keep repeating the process for your others, sit back, and watch the savings slide in!
4. Do you really need it?
Whether it’s a gym membership that only gets used once a month, a Netflix account that never gets watched or a Spotify login that’s gone silent, go through your monthly outgoings and see which ones you actually need.
If you can cut ties, take the plunge. If you’re not quite ready to let go, at the very least, look at ways you can reduce the cost. For example, is there another gym nearby that offers cheaper memberships?
5. Ask for help
From interest rates, loan terms, mortgage agreements and savings accounts, the financial world’s full of jargon. If you’ve got, or are looking to get, a product you’re not quite sure about, don’t fall into the trap of glossing over the details or taking out the first deal you see.
Never cut corners when it comes to the research phase of things either, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if there’s something you’re not quite sure about - who knows how much money that question could save you!
6. Check and improve your credit score
Keeping on top of your credit score is incredibly important. It can help you spot fraudulent activity and identify mistakes early on, which’ll both boost you overall score. Other ways to improve your credit score include:
- Making payments on time and in full;
- Reducing your credit utilisation ratio;
- Detaching your finances from someone with a poor credit history;
- Ensuring you’re on the electoral roll; and
- Refraining from making multiple credit applications.
Not only will improving your credit score help with the acceptance of future credit applications, but it’ll enhance the competitiveness of your terms, too. This is because lenders often save their best interest rates for those with the best credit histories, as they have more assurance they’ll recoup what they lend on time, in full, and with minimal fuss.
7. Set up automatic savings
If your savings are looking a little sparse or non-existent, set yourself a weekly or monthly savings goal and write it down. If making the actual deposit into your savings account is too easy to skip, then set up a direct debit so it happens without any manual intervention - that way you have no excuse!
So, there are our seven top tips to get your finances into shape for 2019. Here’s to a financially prosperous New Year!
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.