According to a 2022 survey, 49% of Brits made resolutions to work on their fitness and participate in more exercise, while a further 41% stated that they would like to better their diet.
With so much focus on mental and physical wellbeing, it can be easy to overlook various other aspects of our lives, including our financial health.
A personal finance expert from Vivamoney.co.uk, Dan Whittaker, reveals some simple money goals that can be easily implemented into our everyday lives to help us understand and take steps towards improving our financial situations in 2024.
Data suggests that only 35% of people stick to their new year’s resolutions. The trick to keeping your resolutions is to refrain from putting too much pressure on yourself – for example, if feel you should eat less chocolate, start by simply cutting back, rather than eliminating it all together.
This way, if you do end up indulging, you won’t feel disheartened and be tempted to abandon your resolution altogether.
The same approach should be applied when it comes to financial goals. Instead of promising to save exactly £200 a month, aim to save as much as you are able to.
Save money – if you can
Get into the habit of saving money, if you’re comfortably able to do so. Having some money stashed away for a ‘rainy day’ could be a real lifesaver in the event of a financial emergency, such as a broken boiler or a packed-up car.
Saving doesn’t mean completing cutting back on the things we enjoy. It helps to assess your monthly budget and know exactly what you’re working with, so you can realistically get an idea of how much money you could put away each month. Even vowing to set aside £10 a week is great start, and you’d be surprised how thrilling and addictive it can be to watch your savings grow.
Wants Vs needs
Know the difference between wants and needs. Before you buy anything, stop and ask yourself if the purchase is something you actively need and will get your use out of, or is it simply a ‘nice to have.’ Of course, we’re not saying that you can’t treat yourself every now and again, but if you find that you have a habit of overspending, this tactic may help you to put your buying into perspective.
Set a plan to combat your debt
Work towards clearing any debts that you have. We understand that this isn’t always easy, especially given the cost-of-living crisis, but putting a realistic plan in place to pay off your debts could help you take the first steps towards getting back in control.
You may wish to look at debt consolidation options, such as balance transfer credit cards, which allow you to move the balance of one or more existing credit card onto a new card with a promotion low or no interest rate.
These options should be approached with caution, and it’s important to remember that standard rates of interest will be charged once the promotional period has come to an end. Any leftover balance or new spending will be subject to interest.
Being in debt can feel frightening and isolating. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand to avoid acknowledging the issue, but reaching out and asking for help is the first step towards taking back control. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing money worries and debt with your friends and family, you can always find free, impartial advice online through sites such MoneyHelper, StepChange, National Debt Line, and Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Get to know your credit score
Did you know that your credit score can influence the outcome of any financial applications you make? Those with higher credit scores are far more likely to be approved for financial products, including loans and credit cards.
They are also likely to be offered better rates of interest. You can check your credit score through various credit reference agencies, including Equifax and Experian. Be aware that some agencies may charge a fee for their service. Once you have familiarised yourself with your score, you may wish to look at ways to build it up and give it a boost.
There are a number of ways to improve your credit score, including registering to vote, paying all of your bills and current credit commitments on time, and ensuring your credit report is up-to-date, which we will talk about in more detail below.
Check your credit report
Keep on top of your credit report. Regularly check it over for any errors: something as minor as a misspelled address or slightly out-of-date information could actually lower your credit score. If you’ve moved house or changed your name, be sure to update your credit report as soon as possible to avoid a dip in your score.
Brush up on your pension knowledge
A private or workplace pension could provide you with additional funds once you retire. Of course, committing to a pension scheme isn’t for everyone. It’s important to do your research before applying for any sort of pension to make sure it’s the best option for you and your personal circumstances.