Happy New Year from Lower my Charges!
It’s commonplace to welcome the New Year with resolutions, often involving plans to eat healthier, be more organised or maybe even to curb smoking or drinking habits. Financial resolutions are often neglected, but January is a great time to give your financial behaviours a refresh. With the expensive festive season out of the way, why not take the opportunity to begin better spending habits and useful saving techniques?
Examine Your Expenses!
If the Christmas expense got a little out of hand, now is a good time to plan ahead for next year. Setting aside a small amount of money each week and lowering spend throughout the year can help you to manage the cost of the festivities, putting less strain on that December wage!
Use the New Year as an opportunity to organise your finances! Check your outgoings and consider whether all the expenses are value for money. If you’re paying for a monthly gym membership that you scarcely use, it’s time to cancel. If your mobile phone deal comes with a huge data allowance that you barely make a dent in each month, call your provider to negotiate a deal that works better for you.
Scrutinise Your Suppliers
Double check your utility bills and insurance policies and mark the day that payment is due on a calendar. This will give you the time you need to shop around before your policy ends or auto renews and makes sure your bills don’t come unexpectedly.
Each time a utility bill is due for renewal, take the time to check out the deals from across the market. Using the same provider year on year can seem like the sensible (and easy!) option, but unfortunately, companies don’t always reward loyalty. Many providers automatically renew customer agreements, with gradual price increases, while offering new customers better deals. It might be easy to allow your provider to automatically renew your new deal, but it’s worth taking the time to check what their competitors will offer. If your current provider is charging over the odds and they aren’t willing to reduce the cost, then make sure you switch!
For insurance policies, the advice is similar. When your policy is nearing its end, your provider will probably send you a quote for the following year – but accepting the first offer might not get you the best deal. Quickly running your quote through online price comparison sites and making some direct calls will give a better indication of how much you can expect to pay. With smaller insurance policies, such as home insurance or breakdown cover, make sure you’re not already covered. Bank accounts, home insurance or car leasing deals often include them already, so double check whether you need to take out a new policy.
Take Advantage of Tax Savings
In April, there’ll be some good news for most of us. The changes to income tax announced in the autumn 2018 budget mean you’ll probably have a few extra pounds in your pocket each month. Cash that you’re currently paying as tax will become yours to use as you choose, so you can boost your savings or investments without needing to curb your spending. We’ll be explaining more about the facts and figures before the changes come into play. Keep an eye on our blog page and social media!
Try a refreshed mindset this year by trying to consider how your decisions will affect your long-term financial plan. Firstly, to ensure you won’t need to borrow money in an emergency, try to set aside a small amount for unexpected costs. If you already have an amount saved, you could substitute some of the cash you spend on non-essentials for larger pension contributions. Although this requires some discipline in the short term, a long-term outlook will help you afford the lifestyle you want post-career.
Shopping around for the best deals and developing good spending habits are great resolutions for the year ahead. Using any savings to boost your pension funds, savings or investments, or to fund our low-cost financial advice, is a long term, sensible strategy to develop your wealth. Regardless of personal circumstances, independent financial advice can provide practical assistance with pension and investment funds.
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