New Year Budgeting Tips From Kingston Unity
05.01.2018 by Jim Ker
The start of the year is the perfect opportunity to set new goals for the future. Our new year’s resolutions range from dropping a jean size through to receiving the keys to our new house. Whatever your resolution for 2018 is, new year goals can be a big investment both in terms of your time and finances.
Here at Kinston Unity, we know our stuff and would like to share some key pointers on how to get your financial affairs in order, so you can better work towards those key goals for 2018:
1. Write it all down.
One of the simplest ways to start organising your cash flow is to write down all your expenses. This seems obvious, but putting pen to paper and viewing all your expense details together can offer some key analysis in areas where savings could potentially be made. Once you have scribed everything down for the month, separate your list into two columns; essentials and luxuries.
This is where you will need to be firm on yourself and really think about what is essential and what is not. For example, your rent or mortgage is an essential monthly cost. No questions there, but what about that branded cereal you love? Is it absolutely essential to have that particular one or is there a cheaper alternative? Putting all your ins and outs into perspective is a healthy start to improving your savings.
2. Note the sacrifices you can make and do something about it.
This is where you need to be your own harshest critic. Take a look at everything on your luxuries list and start considering some alternatives or even completely removing them from your regular expenses. This is a great opportunity to do some handy product research and find some cheaper options for your more expensive habits. Non – branded product purchases are a good example of where you can save money, but still get what you need. You may be quite surprised at the various alternative options out there and you will be impressed with the amount of money you can save if you commit to these cost-cutting habits over time. There is no shame in the alternative and in many cases, these products have been improved in order to combat the lesser known packaging.
Once you’ve made the all-important sacrifices it’s time to begin monitoring your savings because of your efforts.
3. Consider a budget management app
For the more tech-savvy reader, a budget management app can be a fantastic way to monitor and improve spending habits. Mint is a free budget management app that allows you to synchronise all your bank accounts, credit cards and monthly expenses in order to give you a monthly breakdown. You can also track your investment portfolio and the app will alert you to any fees that you may potentially be incurring. Mint also comes with a free credit score checker.
Another budget management app option is Penny. Penny is a budget alert app that uses a chatbot to send the user text alerts about their finances. Once all the required details are inputted, Penny will be able to answer a lot of your personal finance questions through the chatbot interface. The basic version of this app is also free. Another great tool to monitor your spend is Mysupermarket.co.uk. This is a great comparison website that lets you check where brands are sold the cheapest. The site also lets you keep track of the latest deals that are going on.
Budget management apps are a great way to track your spending habits and ideally boost those long-term savings plans.
4. Look at your saving options
There are plenty of different savings options to choose from. Each savings product will provide you with different allocation requirements, payment frequencies and potential tax efficiencies. Remember to consider your tax-free savings options such as an ISA and the Tax Exempt Savings Plan – a product solely available through friendly societies.
It is very important that you carefully research and understand the details of the savings options that you are considering, ensuring that you have made the best savings choice for you.
5. Make sensible, not risky, cost-cutting moves.
Working to a budget has clear financial benefits when it comes to saving, but it’s worth taking heed that overly risky cost-cutting moves in the short term could result in more expensive resolutions long term – thus putting you further back in your long-term savings plans. Look back to the top of these tips and make sure that you are not cutting back on your essentials such as important household maintenance for the sake of saving. DIY is great if you know what you’re doing!
6. Small goals for big victories.
Big budget goals take a long time to flourish. Mark your long-term goal date and stick to it, but don’t be downtrodden if things become delayed as unexpected expenses will happen now again. Try to think about the wider benefits of improving your saving skills. Set small goals to achieve along the way to your final target. This way, if you have set yourself a significant savings target, you don’t lose faith along the journey.
The biggest plus point about setting a long-term budget plan is that once you get into your financially efficient habits, you will surprise yourself with how budget-savvy you can become, both when aiming towards your goal and beyond!