Whether you’ve got debts to pay off or want to begin putting any spare cash aside each month, we’ve put some tips together to help you on the road to your financial goal in 2023.
A New Year’s resolution can often feel like a daunting process and something that you’ll stick to for a few weeks before losing motivation – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When it comes to fixing your finances or creating a savings goal, creating a budget/plan (or a New Year’s resolution in this case) is exactly what you need.
If you wait until January to get going, you could potentially find yourself one payday behind, waiting for February to come around to begin your plans. We’re here to ensure you get your plan in action today and we’ve outlined different ways to help you stick to your target once 2023 comes around.
Choose your goal and set a budget
So, if your resolution this year is to be debt-free or save a certain amount per month, you’re going to need to set a budget – and we’ve put together a step-by-step guide here.
Our November Cost-of-Living Impact Survey found that over one in three (36%) are dipping into their overdraft more often, while just over half (57%) are missing payments. Creating a budget with all your income and expenses is the easiest way to get in control of your finances. If you can form a habit and make this something you do every time you get paid, you’ll be able to stay in control of your finances all year round.
Assess your outgoings
When setting out your budget you’ll start to identify exactly where your money is going. This is a great opportunity to assess your outgoings and identify if certain areas of spending can be made cheaper.
From switching utility providers to cancelling unused subscriptions, you can save more than you’d think per month, which will add up over a year. Have you stopped watching shows on Disney+, Netflix or Amazon Prime? Do you still use Spotify, YouTube Premium or Apple Music?
Are you still signed up for any monthly clothing, magazine, news or gift sets that you no longer use or need? If so, these all act as potential ways of saving money each month. You could also look at sharing subscriptions with your partner or friends with many deals offering multiple device rates which, when split, can work out to be cheaper.
Form good habits
Creating new habits will help you stick to your goal and, in the long term, will become second nature to you. These habits could be as simple as cutting back on luxury items each month, planning your shopping before you hit the supermarkets so you don’t overspend, or putting money into a pot or account as soon as you get paid so it’s out of sight and out of mind.
New habits that are often kick-started in the new year include monthly campaigns like Dry January, and Veganuary, but this can continue throughout the year and can lead to cutting down things such as smoking, drinking and meat consumption, which can help keep your shopping costs down and have a positive impact on your health too/
You’re already in the mindset of planning ahead after assessing your budget, so why stop there? This year, if you attend any birthdays, social events or have a holiday lined up, make sure you get the most out of your money by planning ahead and taking advantage of cheaper travel, accommodation and deals.
Planning for events that you know are going to cost you money is time well spent. By having money put aside for presents, you’re less likely to need to use credit to cover the cost and you’ll have a better handle on your spending limits – and therefore, reduce your spending.
Aside from putting money into a savings pot, other ways to save for occasions are:
- Set spending limits on gifts for people
- Don’t spend for the sake of it
- Buy Christmas cards and wrapping in January – it’s when they’re the cheapest!
- If someone has asked for an expensive gift, ask friends or family if they’d like to club together and purchase it as a joint gift
Maximise your income
You can also explore ways of maximising your income this year – whether that be through selling your old clothes, CDs, DVDs, phones/tablets or even furniture. If you’re thinking of replacing your items, see if you can make your decisions cost-efficient by looking at the value of your old items and seeing if you could even make money. There are a number of free ways to sell your items, such as Facebook Marketplace, CEX, Music Magpie and WeBuyBooks.
You could also explore mobile apps that help you save money, provide you with cashback or offer rewards like reduced airtime costs or money for walking/taking photos. Websites such as TopCashBack, Airtime Rewards and SweatCoin are ways of potentially supporting your income/cutting your outgoings.
It’s also crucial to ensure you’re taking advantage of all of the schemes and benefits available to you, and our benefit check calculator can support you. Before you start, make sure you have information about your savings, income, pensions and existing benefits (for you and your partner).
If you’re worried about your finances or struggling to keep up with debt repayments, remember PayPlan’s here to help. You can access our help in a variety of ways including live chat via our website or by freephone on 0800 280 2816.