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2017 planning: how to keep on top of your finances

13th December 2016 Print

When many of us decide on our New Year resolutions, managing our money better is often a major focus – and why shouldn’t it be? After all, the better your financial situation, the better the position that you will be in to realise many of your most treasured life goals. Good financial planning will also help to minimise the stress that you feel on a day-to-day basis. 

Here are some of the best and most proven tips for reducing your money worries in the year ahead. 

Set a budget 

This is the most important thing that you can do to manage your money more successfully. More than half of UK households keep a regular budget, according to the Money Advice Service, with most of them doing so claiming that it gives them greater peace of mind about their expenditure and makes them feel more positive about life in general. 

Take another look at your mortgage 

A mortgage is one of the biggest regular expenses that many of us have to deal with, and simply by getting a better deal on yours, you could slash hundreds of pounds off your weekly bills. If your mortgage agreement is already as good value as it’s realistically likely to get, why not increase your monthly repayments so that you can look forward to becoming mortgage-free many years earlier? 

Build an emergency fund 

Many people end up in debt not because they are reckless with money, but because they don’t have any savings – so if they suddenly find themselves in an emergency, such as being unable to work due to illness or injury, they have nowhere to go other than into the red. You should ideally aim to have enough ‘emergency’ money to last you for between three and six months. 

Make the most of money-making opportunities 

Effective financial management is simple it’s about making more money than you spend, and if you’re eagle-eyed, there are certainly opportunities out there to boost your income. You might take on a part-time job in a shop or bar, for example, or make money online by selling those unwanted Christmas presents on eBay, trading in your old books or DVDs or placing matched bets through a site like Profit Accumulator.  

Open a regular savings account 

There are few better ways of making those good savings habits pay than by opening a regular savings account. These accounts give you a higher rate of interest than a standard bank account, with Citizens Advice stating that paying in between £10 and £500 a month will usually give you the best rates. Saving every month is likely to give you a small additional bonus, but you may lose some of the interest you have earned if you take your money out early or miss payments. 

The basic principles of effective money management are exactly that – basic – but by following the above tips, you’ll likely enjoy a much happier and wealthier 2017 than if you had continued with all of your bad spending habits from 2016. Good luck!

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