In January, while many people are joining a new gym, trying to lose weight, eating better, there are some who might want to be better off. The New Year is a great time to consider how you can save money and begin reviewing your finances. If you start early on, the benefits could last throughout the year.
Draw up a budget plan. Start by working out all the money coming in each month, such as your salary, and then work out your everyday spending on bills.
Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do to for the New Year. Once you establish a realistic budget, try to keep to it. For example, shopping around to get cheaper insurance or cutting back on more expensive groceries can help you reduce your monthly outgoings.
There are many budgeting apps and tools that you can register for. TSB has a
money planner service
that can help you budget better, meaning you can save up for those big purchases. It groups your monthly purchases such as entertainment, food and travel and displays the results in easy to read pie charts. You will need to have a personal current account or credit card with TSB in order to register for Internet Banking and use Money Planner.
Get into saving
Are you saving for a new house, that new pair of shoes that you have your eye on, or just want to have some spare money at the end of the month? Now is a good time to set a savings goal and start building your savings.
You could grow your savings faster with a
tax-free Cash ISA
. If you haven't already taken advantage of your full allowance, you have until 5 April 2016 to either open a new account or put money into an existing ISA and take advantage of any tax-free interest on your savings. For 2015/2016,your allowance is £15,240. The tax advantages depend on your individual circumstances and may change in the future.
Would you like to be rewarded every time you shop for everyday things? Cashback credit cards pay you each time you spend on them. But remember to set up a direct debit to repay them in full each month so that extra money you've earned doesn't go on interest.
If you're shopping, there are cashback websites that you can join to get money back on your purchases.
Save money on bills
Every time you renew a contract, whether it's home insurance, car insurance or broadband, you could be paying too much.
The best deals are often reserved for new customers but you can ring up your existing provider to see they can offer you a better deal or see if they can match a new offer from another provider. There's no harm in asking and if it's a no use the wide range of comparison sites to shop around.
If you haven't changed energy suppliers recently and you're not tied in to a contract, you may save money by switching. You can get an idea of how much you could save by using independent comparison websites.
Home phone, broadband and digital TV
Check to see if you're getting the best deal for your home phone, broadband and digital TV. New deals are always being advertised to entice new customers.
Before you move elsewhere, you should review your current package and call your provider to see if there are changes they can make to reduce the cost. For instance, you could be paying for TV channels you never watch or paying more for package new customers get for less.
January is a time many people start to think about a new fitness regime, usually involving joining a gym. Before you commit to sign an expensive year contract, think about the following.
Many chains offer free taster days, to try out the facilities before you sign up to a long-term contract.
If you are not convinced that you will be still be going to the gym in June, why not consider pay as you go? There are also no-frills gyms or local leisure centres which may be more cost effective.
Save money for next Christmas
You have just finished buying your presents for this year so the last thing you want to think about is next Christmas. If you make the most of the January sales you can potentially save a fortune come next Christmas.
Pick up wrapping paper and cards cheap in the sales. Some could be used for birthday wrapping paper as well. The shops often slash prices on Christmas decorations so this is the perfect time to stock up.