If your 2023 New Year’s resolutions include sorting out your finances – but the thought of where to start makes the task seem daunting, check out our seasonal guide.
Splitting the task into smaller goals, and spreading the work throughout the year makes it more manageable and achievable.
Make sure you either record the exact amount you spend on things, or round-up to the nearest pound. Never round down the way – even if it’s only pennies of a difference – it’s a sure-fire way to underestimate your spending. The Government’s Money and Pensions Service website, MoneyHelper has a great free budget planner tool to help you record and analyse your income and expenditure.
Now you’ve got an accurate picture of how much money you have coming in, and where you’re spending it, look for ways to help you save money. Review your utility deals (gas, electric, phone and broadband) and switch if there’s a cheaper, suitable tariff available. Have a good look at all your lifestyle Direct Debit payments – things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, gym membership, magazine or food subscription services. Are you paying for something you aren’t using? If you are, now is the time to cancel it.
The saying goes ‘One person’s junk is another person’s treasure’, and sites like eBay, Vinted, Shpock and Music Magpie make it’s easy to cash in on this trend. Watch out for seller fees, and make sure you factor in postage costs to maximise your profit.
Take the time to have another review of your bank account. If you’ve been able to save any extra cash through cancelling unused subscriptions or services, or if your de-cluttering is bringing in big bucks, it’s time to move this money into a dedicated savings account – where there’s less chance of it getting spent on a Saturday night! Most banking apps have the facility to open separate savings accounts and remember you can pay in up to £500 per month to your credit union savings account.
Ditch the expensive indoor exercise classes for some fresh-air fitness. Running, hill walking and wild swimming can help you burn the calories but won’t burn through your cash. Or how about using the free outdoor fitness equipment available in many Glasgow parks?
With Covid still prevalent, it makes sense to socialise with friends outdoors, but it can also save you money. A picnic in the park will be cheaper than a sit-down meal at a restaurant, or you could host a BBQ and tell each friend to bring a different type of food or drink. For more summer savings tips, check out our handy guide.
Schedule a no-spend weekend, once a month. Get the family involved to figure out fun ways to enjoy the weekend without spending any money. It might be inventing and cooking new meals only using the food you’ve already got in the house, planning trips to free attractions that are close to home or organising a film night to re-watch everybody’s old favourite movies.
With the festive season just round the corner, autumn is a great time to start planning your festive spending. Start early by setting yourself a budget and then making a list of who you need to buy for and what you’d like to get them. Check the prices of potential presents well before you start shopping. This way you can work out if you can afford to buy for everyone, and you’ll also be able to spot a real bargain if something appears in a Black Friday sale.
We’re committed to working with members, local organisations,
and employers to increase financial awareness in the wider community.
For more hints and tips check out our Financial Wellbeing Hub,
which includes articles and guides covering everything from budgeting to getting onto the property ladder.
If you have any questions or would like help with any of our services, please contact us on 0141 274 9933.