Start the New Year on the right financial foot!

At the start of the New Year, we usually put together some top tips for clients on how to start the New Year on the right financial foot and be better disciplined from a financial perspective.

But financial planning is something that can never happen too early…especially when December is such a notoriously expensive month!

Here, we look ahead and give our tips on the things you can implement now in order to make a good start to the New Year ahead.

Get spending savvy

December is the time of year when many of us lose our financial discipline and indulge ourselves and others with gifts. Enjoying the money you have worked hard for all year by splashing out a little on a treat for yourself or loved ones is entirely justified should this be within the realms of your affordability. However, if your monthly budget is usually tight and you’re relying on credit cards to fund gift purchases, it may be worth thinking twice before you splurge.

The more organised you are, the better the chance you have of bagging a bargain. Leaving things to the last minute often means you have to pay the price for convenience and leaves you little time to find the best deals.

Utilising apps is also a great way of keeping track of your spending. Wally, Bean and Money Dashboard are all good examples of apps that help you budget and save.

The value of time

The pressure to buy gifts can be difficult to avoid but the majority of friends or family members would be horrified if they knew you were putting your finances under strain for the sake of buying them a gift. A growing trend for those with big families is ‘Family Secret Santa’ – where each person buys a gift for only one family member. This not only takes a lot of the stress out of buying gifts, it’s also a lot of fun! Alternatively, an increasing number of clients I speak to are asking for charitable donations towards the causes they believe in rather than physical gifts.

Most people who are close to you would value your company more than anything – a point that is really worth remembering here. Making an agreement not to buy gifts but arranging a get-together instead is often a good way forward.

Wipe the slate clean

If 2019 hasn’t been your best year for looking after your finances, 2020 could be the year to get into gear. Take a look back over your bank statements and identify any areas where you’ve overspent or expenditure that you haven’t got the best value out of. It is often surprising how even seemingly low-cost everyday items can quickly add up, or how many monthly subscriptions it’s possible to accumulate.  Don’t be too hard on yourself but do look for the places where there is obvious room for improvement.

Make a plan

Committing to a programme of saving is one thing, but having a plan of what to do with the money you do manage to accumulate is another. Whether it’s setting money aside for a large purchase, saving into an ISA or boosting your pension pot, understanding ‘why’ you’re doing something makes the sacrifices you may have to make along the way far easier to bear.

Keeping these tips in mind, you should be all set to go forth and start the New Year on the right path!