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With the New Year right around the corner, it’s only natural that resolutions are in the forefront of our minds. Financial New Year’s Resolutions are a great place to start – it’s something you can reap the benefits of all year round, and I guarantee nobody has ever regretted getting their finances in order.
If 2021 is the year you want to get a hold of your financial situation, save for a big purchase or become debt free, here are five financial New Year’s resolutions anybody can make – and succeed with!
1. Start a budget
You all know how much I love the zero-based budgeting method, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. There are a whole host of options out there for you, with the following being the main players in the budgeting world:
Cash-only (aka cash envelopes) method
This is an extremely popular method, as it’s widely acknowledged that it’s harder to spend actual cash on items, than paying by card. Something about handing over bank notes or change places more value on the money, than tapping your card to a terminal.
With this in mind, say you’re giving yourself £300 to spend on food that month. On payday, you’d withdraw the £300 and put it into an envelope allocated solely for groceries. Once the envelope’s empty, that’s it – you can’t spend anything else within that category.
It’s a really effective method for those at risk of overspending, but I’d still recommend carrying a card with you at all times just incase, and there’s also the worry of losing the envelopes when out and about.
The 50/20/30 method
This method states you should be spending 50% of your total income on your needs, 20% on saving, and 30% on wants – and that’s fine, if you can get these percentages to this rate.
However, I know my needs are above 50%, and I actually save more money than I spend on wants, so it’s never been something that fits with my lifestyle.
If this method is of interest to you, I’ve found this post to be a great introduction.
Zero-based budgeting means telling every penny where it will be spent – rather than going with the flow and finding you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Sure, it takes a little forward planning to allocate your funds each payday, but you don’t actually have to be too strict. For example, I give myself £200 fun money to spend each month. Using the zero-based budgeting method, I don’t need to then specify the exact things it will be spent on – I just know that if I want to treat myself to a new Essie nail polish, I can because of my fun money allocation.
There’s a fair bit more to it, but it’s been the budgeting method that has allowed me to pay off my credit card, grow a healthy emergency fund and pay for a car deposit – without sacrificing any of my day-to-day treats, and all within 2020!
I’ve covered just about everything you need to know about zero-based budgeting in this post, but if you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me – I’m always happy to help!
I’ve also put together a free budget printable – head to the below to download, and print a new copy off each month.
2. Build an emergency fund
This is one of the most important moves you can make this year – or any year! An Emergency Fund is a pot of savings you have available to you for any emergency – from the washing machine breaking down, to the car failing it’s MOT, to losing your job – so that you don’t need to worry about the financial aspect, and can instead focus on more pressing matters at hand.
Opinions vary on what amount you should have in your emergency fund, but personally I like to have at least three months’ worth of expenses saved up – including rent payments, car loan payments, food shopping budget and anything else I know I need to pay for each month.
By having an emergency fund in place, you’re protecting yourself in the event of a crisis, but also giving yourself the power of choice. If you’re in a working or living situation that isn’t right for you, by having a savings pot to fall back on, it can make the choice of removing yourself from that situation just that little bit easier.
Start by setting yourself the challenge of reaching £1000 this year, and watch how you become addicted to seeing the total grow. You’ll be at three months’ worth of expenses in no time!
3. Pay off credit card debt
Aswell as building an emergency fund, 2021 is the perfect time to work on paying off any credit card debt you may have hanging over you.
First of all, if you’re paying interest on your credit card, move the amount over to a 0% balance transfer account (Money Saving Expert is a great place to search for the best options available at any given time). Whilst you will need to pay a small fee to do so, by moving over to a 0% account, any payments you make will go towards the debt you owe – not towards any interest you may have accrued.
Through budgeting and side hustling, you can also work out exactly how long it will take you to pay off, and if you set yourself the challenge of paying it off in 2021, twelve months is a long time to make a real impact.
4. Diversify your income streams
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can’t rely on one income stream.
With that in mind, what can you start this year that will top up your household income each month, to help you pay off debt quicker, build your savings, or allow you to go on an extra holiday each year?
To help you get started, I put together an eBook on 50 Side Hustles to Start Today, which you can download by clicking the image below.
5. Get more bang for your buck
Now here’s a super-easy New Years’ Resolution for you all: commit to getting more for your money, at all times.
This includes the likes of going via cashback sites when shopping online (I personally swear by TopCashback, which I’ve been able to earn £190 from in the last year, on purchases I was already going to make), joining loyalty points schemes (the pennies soon add up!) signing up to Airtime Rewards to get money off your phone bill, and using cashback apps such as Shopmium and CheckoutSmart when out food shopping.
I recently shared a post on the Five Apps I Swear By That Save Me Money, and working your way down this list is a quick and easy way to get started on your New Years’ Resolution.
To get you started, these quick links all come with sign-up bonuses:
TopCashback: Sign up here and receive a £5 sign-up bonus (I’ll receive a referral bonus).
AirTime Rewards: Download the app on the App Store, and if you use my referral code B6HRYTEV we’ll both receive a 50p bonus when you sign up.
Shopmium: Once you’ve downloaded the app on the App Store, use my referral code 992uf4 and you’ll receive a free tube of Pringles (I’ll also receive a referral bonus).
These are all apps I swear by to make sure I get as much for my money as possible.
Ensuring Your Financial New Year’s Resolutions are a Success
We all know what New Year’s Resolutions can be like. You start with all the best intentions, but by mid-January, cracks are beginning to show. By February, you’re likely back where you started, only feeling worse about yourself and your efforts.
To ensure your financial New Year’s Resolutions are a success, you instead need to focus on your why. Why are you taking these steps in the first place? What do you want to achieve? What will your life look like this time next year, when you’ve accomplished what your goal was?
And then you just need to break down the goals into small, manageable steps. Planning on paying off your credit card this year? Great! How much would you need to pay each month to have it all paid off by 2022? Can you take this out of your wage, or do you need to side hustle to help you pay it off? What side hustles do you like the sound of, and which fit in with your current lifestyle?
I promise, with a little motivation, a lot of commitment and a plan, you can achieve your Financial New Year’s Resolutions in 2021 – no problem!
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