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Resolutions for the new year can be easy to make but much harder to keep – and that includes sticking to efforts to be better at handling money.
In fact, one in 10 people who didn’t reach their savings goals in 2018 admit they’d already failed by the end of January, according to a survey by Leeds Building Society.
Being unable to put anything aside, other priorities taking over, and unexpected life events were cited as common reasons for missing targets.
The survey suggests that the majority of us will have started 2019 with a new list of savings resolutions, with 55% looking to build their nest egg, 14% looking to save for a big life event such as a wedding, and a further 14% increasing savings by investing in stocks and shares.
Meanwhile, separate research from Ford Money found that of those who made financial resolutions last year, on average, they were kept for just 10 weeks. The poll found that, after resolutions relating to health and wellbeing, saving money was the second most popular resolution made in the UK in 2018.
Suzanne Lewsley, chief deposits officer at Ford Money, says: “Ford Money research found that only 22% of people stuck to their new year’s resolutions in 2018. While it’s not surprising, with a little guidance, we want to make 2019 the year that more people are able to keep them.”
Here are Lewsley’s top tips for making sure those financial resolutions stick…
1. Keep a money diary
Keeping track of money coming in and all of your outgoings can help you better identify the areas in your life that you can save cash. It’s often easy to make small adjustments that have big impacts on your finances – for example, cutting down on buying lunch, or cycling to work instead of paying for transport or petrol.
Review your money diary on a weekly basis to track how close you are to meeting your resolution, and the changes you need to make to do so. Giving your finances this extra attention to detail can be something of an eye-opener, but it will often motivate you to make the changes necessary to meet your goal.
2. Find a ‘money mate’
We’re often more likely to keep a promise when we make it public. This also applies to new year’s resolutions. Try speaking to a friend. Find a ‘money mate’ and decide on a resolution together – by setting out a goal together and checking in with each other every month, you can motivate each other to stick it out.
3. Be realistic and don’t aim too high
Make sure the goal you set is realistic – and that the approach you take is too. You risk feeling disheartened if you aim too high from the off, and this could increase the likelihood of you giving up, if you have to lower your goal or feel like you’re just failing. Perhaps start by saving £50 a month and review your progress monthly – if you have more money to spare at the end of the month, then put it towards your goal and up your monthly target. Saving £50 is better than zero and it will soon add up each month.
4. Shop around for products and partners that suit your goals
Ford Money’s research found that 57% of savers say they are overwhelmed by the number of savings products available and find savings products too complex. There are many providers out there and a variety of different savings accounts offering different rates – but it is important to find the right one that suits your needs and goals.
For example, there are Isas, short-term and long-term savings products that might suit you better depending on your resolution and can make your savings work harder. Dedicate an evening to research and understanding different products so you make the right choice for you.
5. Go 50-50 with any extra money you receive
We all like to treat ourselves when we receive an unexpected burst of cash, whether that’s a gift, a bonus at work or a pay rise. Try going against the instinct to splurge and splitting it 50-50 between spending and saving. For example, try putting half (or more) into your Isa or other type of savings account, and use the money left over to treat yourself. By giving yourself a small reward too, you will be less likely to break your resolution in the longer term.
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