In 2018 I hit a biggg money goal and bought a house! I usually make new year’s resolutions, but weirdly this wasn’t one of them last year. Last December, I actually wrote down “be ready to buy a house in 2019”, so we were ahead of schedule.
I like to be really pragmatic about my new year’s resolutions. It’s totally pointless to set a goal to save £10,000 next year, when this year you ended up with £500. If there’s not a chance you’re going to achieve it, you’re not going to try to. The list below is very broad, and hopefully the ideas can work on any amount of income. Let me know if you choose to add any of them to your list!
People often talk about the importance of emergency funds, and yes, of course it’s a good idea to have one. However, I almost think it’s more important to save up for the things you 100% know are going to happen, rather than a worst case scenario eventuality. Yearly or quarterly bills aren’t emergencies, you know they’re coming, but you can forget about them when your income arrives monthly or weekly.
So here’s a resolution for you: set up a sinking fund for something you know you’re going to have to pay for in 2019.
It could be something fun like birthdays, or Christmas, or it could be something practical, like paying for your car insurance annually instead of monthly. Work out how much it’s likely to cost you per year, divide it by 12 (or 52, if you get paid weekly, or 26 if fortnightly), and set up a standing order to move that money into a separate account, just after you get paid.
Try something new
I wouldn’t say that you should change your finances just because you can, but it’s always worth trying something out to see if it’d work. I like to master one thing a year, last year I began to receive my very first workplace pension (at age 25), and I set up a SIPP to supplement it. After just a year I now have £2,000 stashed away to help keep me in false teeth and pear drops in 40 years’ time.
For you, could mean opening a Lifetime ISA, or starting a side hustle to make extra money. Personally, I want to start investing in 2019, even if it’s only £10 a month. I have no idea what I’m doing, so it’s going to be a learning curve.
Re-evaluate what you’re doing
New regulations, tax loopholes and types of bank accounts are released every year, so what might have been the best idea for your savings in 2013, could mean you’re missing out on extra income now.
How are you managing your money right now? Would an app based bank be better than what you already have? Are you getting the most interest on your savings? Could you start paying a bill by direct debit to make your life easier?
Something I did last year, was to change my credit card payments to come out on the 1st of the month, instead of half way through. It’s a small change and was easy to set up via my credit card’s online portal, but it’s made my life more simple, and that’s a big plus.
Talk about money more
Look at me, I have this blog now! But even in real life, I’m going to make an effort to be more upfront about my financial situation, and have some positive conversations about it.
You can see how keeping quiet about money, especially when it comes to debt is a real problem. The BBC’s programme Killed by my Debt was a real eye-opener for me last year, it’s genuinely terrifying how two £65 traffic fines were able to spiral like that, all because of the shame surrounding debt.
Break a bad money habit
There are plenty of bad money habits that we’re all guilty of. My boyfriend for example (he’s going to love that I’m sharing this) never checks his online banking. He doesn’t have his bank’s app on his phone and only logs into the website when he absolutely has to. When we applied for our mortgage, we both had to send off a month’s bank statement – which is when I found out he’d been paying TWO PHONE BILLS. He’d been doing that for four years, completely by accident, because he never cancelled the direct debit.
Luckily it was a £7.50 sim only contract, but if you do the maths on that for four years, that’s still his half of our monthly mortgage payment.
The bad money habit I’m planning to break in 2019 is to bring in my own lunch at least once a week. It might not sound like a lot, but I can easily spend £3 or £4 a day in Tesco or Subway when I’m at work. If I cut that down to only four days a week – it’ll save me almost £200 a year.
Do you have any money new year’s resolutions? Would any of mine work for you too? Let me know in the comments…