New Year Resolutions are not just for January! Here are some suggestions for a monthly financial to-do list that doesn’t go by the wayside.
For many of us a desire to finally ‘sort out my money’ makes its annual appearance so start by jotting down your key financial worries.
The very first step on the road to financial peace of mind is to be aware of (and write down!) what’s coming in every month and what’s going out. Are you running a surplus or a deficit?
If you’re running a deficit (on an annual basis) make a specific plan around what costs you can cut, looking particularly at non-essential purchases that you perhaps can do without.
If you’re running a surplus (on an annual basis) make a savings plan to convert that running surplus into a deposit or investment account that is not for short term use.
If you’re carrying any form of expensive debt (such as credit card debt or a car loan) then repaying it should be your priority (before making any savings contributions).
Time to check back on how that budget is going. Is your budget specific enough? Are you spending wisely? Are you building a nest-egg?
Take a break. By now I hope you are not dwelling on the same old money worries. Just having a plan (or an advisor) should result in action and relieve you of those perpetual and negative circular thoughts.
Are you paid enough? Do you deserve a raise? Think about ways in which you can manoeuvre a raise or a promotion. If you don’t ask…
Make September the month in which you think about your ‘future self’ – do you need to start a pension or do you need to make a contribution before the October deadline so you can maximise your tax relief.
But don’t forget about your ‘current self’ – always make room in your spending budget for the hobbies and activities that bring enjoyment and relaxation.
Christmas is a high spending time for us all so now is the time to ensure our ongoing budget can cope with some large one-off spends.
Time to look back, review how the year has gone financially and think about improvements you can make next year.
Please also have a look at two of our previous blogs, How To Save and How To Spend, and talk to Money Smart about a New Year personal finance makeover by calling 01 276 0006 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.