Happy New Year! Many of us hope that 2018 will herald a change in our fortunes, and being proactive about increasing your wealth and reducing your outgoings from the get-go can help you to ensure that the coming year will see an upturn in your finances, or help you to save money without limiting your lifestyle.
Perhaps you’re just starting to open up your credit card bills from Christmas and are worried about how you will pay them, or want to ensure that the coming year is more financially stable than the last one – and having a plan for how to make this happen is the best possible way to start.
In this article, we will share five easy budgeting tips to help you to save money in 2018, and make your financial situation a little more comfortable. Read on to learn more!Get to grips with your income and outgoings
First things first, to be able to keep control of your finances, make savings, and avoid needless expenditure, it is important to take a good hard look at your finances, and get to grips with your income and outgoings.
Don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore bills in the hope that they will go away – they will only get bigger, and whilst assessing your financial situation in black and white can be alarming if it’s been a while since you last took stock, this is the basis of making good financial decisions in the future and controlling your spending.
Tot up all of your income streams, debts, standard expenditure and bill payments, and try to balance them out so that you have a good idea of how in control of your finances you really are, and can begin to make changes.
Prioritise and restructure your debts
Ignoring bills and overdue invoices can soon spiral dangerously out of control, and as mentioned, debts won’t go away if you push them to the back of a drawer and forget them! Making late payments or missing payments entirely not only has a negative impact on your credit rating, but is also apt to attract additional fees, further worsening your financial situation and making it hard to get back on an even keel.
Prioritise your most important bills and expenses first, such as utilities and travel to and from work – then prioritise paying bills and debts with the highest interest rates to reduce the additional charges that they attract.
If you are genuinely struggling to keep up with repayments or to manage all of your bills, contact the companies in question to discuss debt restructuring or reduced payment options, before things get out of control. Most companies will be keen to work with you to make your debts more affordable – after all, everyone loses out if you stop paying entirely.
Consider some easy ways to boost your income
If you’re already working hard and still struggling to make ends meet, you might have considered the possibility of taking on a second job or increasing your hours – and naturally, increasing your income will have a hugely positive effect on your general finances.
However, instead of working two jobs or taking on so many hours that you barely have time for yourself, you might want to consider looking at some easier ways to boost your income and earn a little extra money, without having to dedicate a lot of time to it.
Signing up to promote affiliate offers with a well reputed affiliate partner scheme requires a little work at the outset to find and target buyers and begin bringing in money, but once you have done this, you can potentially earn high levels of passive income with little to no ongoing effort once everything is set up.
Look at ways in which you can spend a little to save a lot
Just as ignoring bills and hoping they will go away is a false economy, so is neglecting things like car maintenance and essential household repairs when funds are a little short.
Investing a little money in ensuring that any problems are sorted out promptly or to reduce your bills over the medium to long term will pay for itself many times over – so if your car is making an alarming rattling sound, take it to the garage now while a minor repair will be sufficient to get you back on the road, rather than waiting until the whole things breaks down entirely.
Similarly, ensuring that your home is well insulated can go a long way towards reducing your heating costs, and another idea to reduce your bills in the long term and save money is to consider fitting solar panels to your home to provide free electricity and cut your utility bills.
Take small steps to decrease your outgoings
Nobody likes to think about having to tighten their belts a little when funds are in short supply, but if you take small steps now to decrease your outgoings and live within your means, this can negate the need for more drastic measures further down the line. Here are five easy suggestions to save a little money without greatly affecting your lifestyle:
- Take a packed lunch to work instead of buying a sandwich each day.
- Walk or cycle to work a couple of days a week, or look into lift sharing with colleagues or neighbours.
- Try to limit those takeaways to a couple of times a month only, and perhaps get into the routine of preparing your meals the day before so that you’re less tempted to take the easier option when you’re tired or running late.
- Don’t leave electrical appliances plugged in on standby when not in use, as this uses a surprising amount of power over time.
- Consider switching to cheaper brands at the supermarket, and always check out the “reduced” section for meal ideas and last-minute bargains.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous new year!