With the new year fast approaching, now is the time to set your goals and resolutions for 2018. Maybe you’d like to lose weight, eat healthier, or start writing a novel. Finance-wise, this might be the year you start saving up for that dream holiday or car, or just towards your future.
If that’s the case, you might need to make some positive changes to achieve your aims. So, let’s look at how you can ditch the bad spending habits, budget well and start saving.
Swapping Bad Money Habits for Good Ones
- Cut the luxuries you don’t really need – It’s easy to treat yourself. However, if you want to start saving, you should really question whether you need those treats. Whether you enjoy dining out, or grabbing a coffee for your commute, if you indulge in it regularly enough the overall cost will pile up.
Keep track of how much you’re spending on that morning latte over one month. The result may surprise you. You can easily view how much you’re spending on Money Dashboard, as all your transactions are automatically categorised for you.
- Review your monthly subscriptions – TV and movie on demand services, subscription boxes, premium memberships for websites and magazine subscriptions are ones to look for – they seem a great idea at the time, but together they could equal big spending. Review how many you’re signed up for and how much you are paying.
- Keep a change jar – You decide what ‘change’ means – be it pennies or pounds or even fivers. Find a decent-sized jar, and over time fill it with spare cash from your wallet. If it will stop you from dipping into the pot, invest in a jar that you have to break to get into – or better yet, ask for one as a gift!
- Make savvy lifestyle swaps – Making lifestyle changes is key to saving money. There are many ways you can have a fulfilling, enjoyable life without constantly splurging. For example, rent a place on an online homestay network instead of booking a room in a hotel.
Not only is it cheaper, it provides a homey atmosphere few hotels can. You could also cut back on visiting fancy restaurants and pick up a few cheap recipe books. Dinner parties can be just as swanky and don’t bring the horror of looking at the cheque at the end.
Making Extra Money
- Sell your stuff – Get rid of unused and unwanted items. There are numerous websites that will buy back books, DVDs and CDs. For furniture and more specialist items there are online marketplaces on social media. Make money and de-clutter at the same time.
- Take up dog walking – Sign up on a dog walking or pet sitting website, where there are many pet owners looking for a hand. If you become a regular dog walker you’ll be making extra money for your savings, all the while keeping fit.
- Turn what you’re good at into cash – There are lots of ways to turn skills or hobbies into money-making endeavours. Tutor on the side if you can squeeze it into your schedule. You could offer proofreading services online. Another idea is to sell crafts, or even fruit and veg from your garden at fairs and markets.
Always Think of your Budget!
- Set goals – Want to start saving to travel? Pay off outstanding debts? Be financially secure? Once you’re confident of what your saving goals are, you’ll find it much easier to budget for them.
You can use Money Dashboard’s budget tracker tool to add your own budgets. It keeps track of how much of your budget you are using so you can see at a glance how strict or lenient you can be with your income month-to-month.
- Change your attitude towards budgeting – It’s easy to think budgeting is restrictive, or even miserable. Instead, try thinking about the positive aspects it can bring: security, structure and comfort. Give less value to material things you don’t own and start valuing the money you save through the magic of budgeting.
The Savings Account
If your budget allows, make a habit of depositing a percentage of your income into a savings account. If you don’t yet have a savings account, be sure to shop around for one that offers the best interest.
It may take time and it may be frustrating when you fancy a shopping spree, but if you adopt good money-saving habits, budget well and make regular deposits into your savings, you will achieve your savings goals.