New Year Finances: Top Tips

New Year Finances: Top Tips

Hands up if at the beginning of the year you sit down and reassess what I like to call the New Year finances? Me too, although I do a monthly budget based on real-life happenings i.e. upcoming events and a quarterly bill review too. Keeping on top of your bills, checking your standing orders and direct debits and making sure that you know exactly what is coming in and out is the way to achieve your financial goals.

This year we’re all about our frugal living challenge. This challenge is about cutting back on waste, saving money, living a simpler life and as a result pouring more into our pensions and savings. As part of this challenge I started with a New New Finances check and here are some of things I had to consider and some that might be of interest to others.

List Your Outgoings, Now Slash Them

When was the last time that you checked your direct debit list on your online banking or looked properly at your spending? When assessing your New Year Finances this is the perfect time to cancel anything you pay for that you no longer need or want (magazine subscriptions are a prime example) and really look at where your pennies have been going to. Looking at mine, I spent far too much in the last quarter of the year buying coffees in town and food for lunch (from Co-op not takeaway) on the way to coworking. A friend gave me a reusable mug and I have a packed lunch so having seen what these habits were costing me, I’m starting new, more frugal habits,

Happy With Your Bank?

If you are happy with your banking set-up, keep on scrolling. If not, this section could be of interest to you. Switching banks has never been easier, with them doing all of the work for you. Here in Thirsk, several banks have closed down, making it difficult for those who do use branch-based banking. Luckily I already had my business accounts and saving with Nationwide so when the local branch of my bank closed, I simply switched all of my remaining banking over to them using the Earn £100 for Switching to Nationwide incentive. It was so easy and both me and my referrer earned ourselves a £100 bonus. I’m obviously happy to refer anyone interested to Nationwide in the same way but if NW isn’t for you, do consider your options. With so many banks and building societies around your bank should be working hard for you in order to retain your custom. If they aren’t, and if they cost you fees and charges you could avoid, consider switching elsewhere.

Save First

Here’s a tip for you, save first. We used to wait and see what was left at the end of the month and put that into savings but found that with that system, there was little left! Now we have a set savings amount built into our monthly budget and put that aside before anything else. If there’s more left at the end of the month, great. If not, at least you have put something away.

New Year Finances Debt Refinancing

If you have credit cards, debts and loans, this time of year is perfect for a New Year finance checkover. Check your credit rating on Experian or other secure systems,  consider an online finance broker, speak to your bank or just shop around to make sure that you have the best deals possible. Debt needs to be paid off pronto and making minimum payments only maximises the amount you pay in interest. Make it easier to banish dead by looking at 0% balance transfers and better rates. Would this make a difference to you?

Cash Spending

This is my super-tip for you. Instead of using your debit card for everything, use cash. You’ll be much more reluctant to part with it, for sure! I now withdraw a weekly amount for groceries and use only that. When it has gone, it’s gone. It’s only been a few weeks but already I’m saving money left, right and centre. I’m planning to extend this way of spending into other areas too. I’ll report back on how that goes!

New Year Finances: In Summary

Have you done a reassessment of your finances yet?  It can be quite eye-opening and well worth the effort. It will enable you to set goals and save money. Take the time to have a look over your income and expenditure, you might be surprised by how much you’re paying out and it’s a good opportunity to call up certain companies and ask for a reduction. More about this in another post. Happy budgeting!

 

A Cheap Shark with Help from Suppose.com

No, I don’t have a huge pool with a real shark in it (although on reflection what better way to keep cold callers at bay?). I’m talking about the Shark S4501 Steam Mop in white which was quite the bargain find thanks to that clever lot at Suppose.com.

Usually retailing at £99.99 (still a decent price given how easy to use and effective the Shark S4501 is) using suppose.com to search for this product finds the most affordable option from a reputable retailer making this available for just £29.98. I received this product in exchange for writing an honest and unbiased review of Suppose and yet this is exactly the kind of item I would buy myself and I doubt I would have found this type of saving myself.

steam_mop

If I am being honest I hadn’t heard of Suppose.com until they approached me to tell me about this service and the savings I could possibly find. The idea behind the site is that you decide what you are looking for and it finds the cheapest price for you, saving you both time and money.

Another example of how this could save me money (if Roy gets his way) is to look for an Xbox One. I’m considering getting him one for Christmas however the prices vary all over and being such a big item it is stocked by many retailers. I have this saved in a basket for £349.99 ready to click buy and yet Suppose have located me the same bundle for £319.99, effectively saving me £30. Roy might get his fancy Xbox after all.

xbox1 suppose

 

I personally have used shopping comparison tools online before and while they have been “ok” I wouldn’t recommend some of them and they certainly aren’t as easy to navigate as Suppose; and I’ve never before seen one which allows you to save searches and more. It could be that this is one of the sites I’ll be writing about soon as a top moneysaving tool. Time will tell whether it will save me money long term however I have to say that so far the site looks promising.

 

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