Saturday 14 January 2017

How to Make Easy Savings this New Year

We're speeding through the new year, nearly half way through January now (how did that happen?). This is a busy time of year for me, lots of birthdays throughout January, February and March and while I'm trying to get over the expense of Christmas I'm always thinking about ways to save money whilst making sure there is still enough in the bank too.

People say a new year, and a new start! For some, it may just be another calendar year and whilst I don't typically set resolutions anymore, 2017 presents an excellent opportunity to start fresh on so many fronts and of course one of them is financially, and to ensure I start the year on sound financial footing, while instilling good habits in terms of spending and saving. 

2016 was a pretty challenging year for a lot of people, and with the Brexit process set to begin in earnest within the next couple of months, many believe that we could be in for a bumpy ride, the future is sort of unknown.

Now I know that most of that stuff is beyond our control so all I can think is that it is best to concentrate on myself and my family, taking care of things at home, and ensure that our ducks are nicely in a row. Here are some easy ways that I'm going to try and implement myself  and hopefully you’ll find them useful too…

Become a budgeter

It’s always something we plan to do, or vaguely keep track of in our heads. But how many of us ever actually get around to sitting down and putting pen to paper on what we actually spend each day or week? Shining the light on day-to-day outgoings will almost certainly highlight ways to save. Sure, we all need to have some luxuries we enjoy in life. But chances are, a bit of budgeting, and then sticking to it, will leave you with many more pennies in your pocket at the end of each month. My first cut is the amount of takeaways and eating out we do.

Cut the cost of energy

Most people may not be aware, but oil prices have sneakily to started to rise recently and, as you might expect, energy firms are at the ready to pass on this cost to consumers. EDF has already announced impending hikes which scares me as that is the company I'm currently with, and of course others may follow suit. Hundreds of pounds a year have been saved by others making use of comparison sites, and invariably switching supplier as a result so this is something I'll be looking into doing.

Cut the cost of credit

January is always the month where you’ll likely have a slightly inflated credit card balance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Given the extortionate rates of interest you pay on credit cards, simply making minimum repayments is an expensive precedent to set. Instead, why not make your debt a whole lot cheaper by exploring the option of a balance transfer credit card, or consolidating your credit card debt with a low-cost loan instead?

Have different bank accounts for different things

This is and idea I came across the other day and it actually makes a lot of sense. One of the best tools at a budgeter’s disposal is to open multiple savings accounts for various purposes. We all have different things we need to save for: childcare, schooling, clothes, holidays and more. Instead of shuffling all these costs within one account, why not open one for each? That way, all you have to do is contribute small amounts to each one every week, and, after a period of time, these should all accumulate healthily – without inflicting any pain on your day-to-day budget.

Use Discount Codes

A great way of saving money throughout the year is by searching for discount codes online. This could save you money on many things from smaller items like clothing and household items to the larger purchases like holidays abroad. It's always worth checking for any money off vouchers, even it is only a small saving, all those small savings added up throughout the year could actually end up saving you £100's.

Be a savvy saver

Squirreling money away is the hard part when it comes to saving, so it’s only right that when you show great discipline and ring-fence a few quid each month, this money should then work hard for you. Unfortunately, with such low interest rates, getting decent returns on savings isn’t all that easy. But there are still a few (relatively) good options out there, such as the Santander 123 Account, which offers a rate of 1.5 per cent, while the Nationwide FlexDirect account offers a fixed rate of 5 per cent for 12 months on your first £2,500. It won’t make you a fortune, but, bit by bit, these are the kind of good habits which can set you on your way to a solid financial future. Or you could take part in the 365 money saving challenge.

What methods of saving do you already use, can you tell me any different ones in the comments below?

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