Around this time of year, maybe you’re thinking about making some resolutions for the coming year? Money often looms large when you start to think about the changes you want to make for a new year, whether it’s finding ways to make or save some extra cash. Resolving to finesse your finances in the coming year can seem daunting so how realistic is it to give your finances a makeover in 2017?
Well, we’ve challenged three money bloggers from the UK Money Blogger community to tackle one of three different areas of expenditure and report back on the savings they managed to make in a month.
Our three bloggers will be reporting back throughout January on the savings they made in everyday spend, lifestyle spend and household expenditure in December. Here’s how they plan to make it work.
Emma Bradley blogs at mumssavvysavings.com
I’m undertaking the everyday spend part of the resolutions challenge. We’ve recently upgraded our TV and broadband and got a great deal which has saved us some money, so I’m in the perfect frame of mind to look at other areas of my everyday spend.
Everyday spend can cover anything from that (unnecessary!) morning coffee to cashback on my shopping or rewards from my current account. A big spend I’m looking to reduce is insurance. We have three cars to insure and currently they are all on separate policies costing us over £500 with one car not insured as it is off the road. Secondly we have an annual holiday cover that costs £87 and breakdown cover which is another £140 annually.
I consider myself very good at getting a shopping bargain but I have avoided looking at some of the bigger issues like switching bank accounts for the best rewards. It always feels like it’ll be a rather boring, time consuming task but I recognise that this attitude is probably losing me money.
Emma Drew blogs at emmadrew.info
My New Years saving resolution is to look at reducing what I spend on household expenditure. Running a house can end up feeling like having a second mortgage between mounting heating, gas and electric costs.
Both my husband and I work from home, meaning that our energy bills are higher than I would like them to be. At the moment we spend £115 a month on gas, electricity and water (£87 a month is for gas and electricity and £28 a month for water). I’ll be looking to save money on all of our utilities as part of the resolution challenge although I'm not yet eligible for a smart meter in my area.
I’ll be investigating all those money saving tips I keep seeing but never actually get around to doing! From finding out if switching energy providers is worth the hassle, whether I can get and benefit from a smart meter and whether I’m eligible for any local council schemes for insulation. I also want to find clever ways to use less gas, electricity and water to help me to save money on my utility bills.
FrancescaMason blogs at frompenniestopounds.com
I’ve been challenged to cut my lifestyle spend as much as possible, I’m really keen to take up this element! As a personal finance blogger, I’m usually pretty good at being super frugal, but when it comes to other spending, I am fighting a very stubborn husband.
I’ll be looking at my direct debits, subscriptions and other spending to see if there are areas I can cut back on without feeling like I’m losing out on my lifestyle perks. There are some obvious areas I think I can target. The biggest is my TV, internet, phone bundle - it’s just gone up to £100! I spend £35 on my mobile phone too, so I’m hoping I can make big savings there.
There are several non-essential luxuries like petrol running to approximately £100 a month and kids clubs add up to another £45 per month. There’s also hockey - my hobby – which is £6 per match. The later are all 'non-essential' luxuries but I couldn’t cut them out. I’ll need to find ways to reduce the costs of these wants. I'll also be looking at whether I can get any benefits from various memberships.
In the theme of the new year, new start, I’ll be decluttering at home and selling items around my house that I don't need in order to add some additional savings to my lifestyle spend.
CJ Montague, our deputy editor, is due to get a smart meter fitted so she’ll be sharing her savings later in the month also.
Check back throughout January to find out how much Emma, Francesca, Emma and CJ saved with small, realistic financial changes.