Grainne McGuinness has some great tips to help you get your financial house in order this year.
Many of us are busy making plans to get in shape now that the New Year has arrived so why not also decide that 2016 is the year to get your financial house in order?
Whether it’s breaking the habit of over-reliance on your credit card or finally getting around to starting a pension, make a commitment to stop putting off what you know you should do.
Just as those determined to get fit and lose weight are warned not to make too many changes at once, you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with an endless litany of financial improvements.
There is no point telling yourself you’re going to straighten out your debt, start saving, review all your insurances and make a tax refund this month. A to-do list like that is so off-putting chances are you end up doing nothing.
Instead pick the most pressing thing you want to change; the bill that annoys you every time you see it on your bank statement or the one debt you know you are paying way too much interest on.
Give yourself a reasonable timeframe, a month or six weeks, to make a change. Only after you have addressed your first concern should you move on to the next thing.
Hopefully the satisfaction from sorting one issue will drive your momentum and you will find yourself powering through that to-do list over the next few months.
There is just as much potential to save money in our day-to-day spending habits.
As January is often a tight month anyway with Christmas bills to be paid, why not take the next few weeks to track where your money is going on a daily basis?
Rather than use your card, take out cash at the start of each week and see exactly where it goes. Keep a spending diary for a month; there are plenty of free tracker apps available for smartphones or keep a small notebook with you.
It won’t take long to identify areas that could be improved, be it planning ahead to bring lunch to work or doing a big shop weekly rather than paying more for groceries at convenience stores several times a week.
Another tip when it comes to food shopping is to plan your meals around the weekly special offers in the supermarkets.
Irish food blogger Caitriona Redmond does a very helpful weekly round-up of the specials in Aldi, Dunnes, Lidl, Super Valu, and Tesco on her website www.wholesomeireland.com.
If you are trying to cut spending for the next you should also consider doing a cull of your email subscriptions. From Amazon daily deals to loyalty cards and voucher sites like Groupon and pigsback.com, most of us are inundated on a daily basis.
It is too easy to read a tempting offer in your inbox and decide to stick it on your credit card. Unsubscribe and get on with your life, blissfully unaware of all those cut-price deals you’re missing out on.
If you do actually need to get something, the sites and offers are all still there, but you’ll probably find you manage perfectly well without them.
Reasonably enough, when we think about ways to improve our finances we tend to focus on out outgoings, in order to save more.
But we shouldn’t forget about the credit side when balancing the books; you should also review money coming in.
Are you in a position where you could ask for a raise at work? One negotiation with your boss could be worth as much as a dozen cost-saving measures elsewhere in your life.
If a raise isn’t on the cards, could you take on an extra role or overtime to up your income?
More and more people are also using the online world as a way to make extra cash. Be it AirBnB, turning a crafty hobby into a money-making sideline or selling unwanted items on sites like Done Deal, our incomes are not restricted solely to what we can earn in our main work.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous new year.
If you’re not sure how to begin money-saving in 2016, why not start by eliminating fees on your current account?
According to the trusty comparison tool at www.bonkers.ie, the best deal currently for personal current accounts is from Permanent TSB.
They are offering fee- free banking if you lodge €1,500 every month, and there is no minimum balance required.
This compares well to offerings from the other banks.
KBC want you to lodge at least €2,500 per month before they will drop their fees and AIB and Ulster Bank set the bar even higher, asking that you maintain a constant balance of €2,500 and €3,000 respectively.
Permanent TSB also offering 1% Credit Interest Rate on balances up to €1,500, although to receive interest, you must request that interest be credited to your account through their website.
The account offers the usual features of Mobile and Internet banking and an overdraft facility is available.
Go to www.permanenttsb.ie for information on how to switch.
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