Three New Year's finance resolutions we should all keep

The New Year is a time for fresh starts. You may be one of the millions who have resolved to make 2018 the year they eat better and get fitter. But it is also a great time to review your finances to see if you can improve them too.

We’ve put together three ideas for easy ways you could make more of your money in 2018.

New Year's finance resolutions image

1 - Review your spending

We know living on a DMP budget isn’t easy. You might already feel you track every penny you spend. But perhaps you’ve picked up a few bad spending habits in the past 12 months.

First up, dig out your last few bank statements and check through them. Are you paying for anything you don’t use? Do you recognise all the transactions?

Next, why not keep a spending diary for a week or two. Just write down everything you spend – you can use a notebook or the notes page on your phone - whether you pay cash or by card. You might be surprised to find where your money goes. Are there any things you could cut out and save the money instead? Building up a small savings pot whilst you are on a DMP makes real sense, it can help you through emergencies, such as the car failing its MOT.

Look at your treats. We all need a treat every now and then, and we certainly aren’t going to be the people to tell you otherwise, but have any of your treats got out of hand? Perhaps your monthly takeaway has slipped to weekly? Could you save some of the money instead? Or even put a bit more towards what you owe to help get debt-free that bit sooner.

2 - Switch and save

Shopping around for better deals on utility providers, such as gas, electricity, broadband, insurance, or entertainment packages, could save you hundreds of pounds a year. Yes – we know its dull, but the occasional hour invested on comparison sites such as uSwitch, CompareTheMarket, and Energyhelpline could pay off big time.

Even if you don’t switch, don’t be afraid to haggle for a better deal. TV providers like Sky, and even your mobile phone provider will often offer better prices if you tell them you are taking your business elsewhere.

Using cashback websites is another way to bring in some extra money. This is how it works: cashback sites offer cash rewards for if you click through, and purchase, from promoted online retailers.

You’re given a cash reward on top of the amount you’ve paid for an item. Do be aware these sites can have pitfalls, but if you approach cashback sensibly with sites such as Quidco or TopCashBack you could add more to your yearly budget.

Also, if you’re a blogger, you could try affiliate marketing. This is how it works - you can sign up to an affiliate program and advertise a product on your blog. You’ll receive a small payment every time someone clicks on the advert and buys the product you’re advertising. Services like WordPress provide a free blogging platform, if you’re interested.

3 - Check your pension options

Time to revisit your pension? If you’re working, your company should offer you a pension scheme – if you pay 1% into this, they’ll add the same amount to your pension pot. The good news is, in April this year, the amount your company has to contribute is increasing. From then, if you put 3% of your wages in your employer will have to top it up with a further 2%.

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