Did you welcome in the New Year with a raft of resolutions to be better in 2016? If you did, you're in good company as research from TSB shows that nearly half of Brits want to make positive changes this year.
One of the most important changes, in addition to the usual losing weight and getting fit, is making sure that they get their personal finances in better shape. Nearly 40% want to save more cash, whilst one in five say that reducing their household debt and taking control of their finances is a priority.
New Year, new regime
The New Year is always a great time to reassess the health of your finances. It's a great opportunity to make sure you are on top of your borrowing, and to take a fresh look at your spending to identify opportunities to cut out unnecessary expense.
Our research found that more than 50% of people felt it would be too difficult to make significant changes because they're too set in their ways. But, even small changes can bring big wins for your wallet. Many of us spend a fortune on coffee so even just swapping your morning high street coffee for a flask and a home-made brew, could make you up to £620 a year richer.*
If you regularly grab a sandwich or snacks when you're out and about, or for your lunch at work every day, the savings could be even bigger. A study last year found that worker were spending an average of £1,800 on grabbing lunch.* So, add a packed lunch to your flask, and you could add another impressive lump sum to your savings.
Top tips for change
With a bit of effort it's not difficult to do things differently. Professor Richard Wiseman, Professor of Public Understanding at the University of Hertfordshire, who conducted our research offers five top tips to help you change it up.
1. Believe that you can change. Thinking that your personality and habits are fixed in stone is the biggest barrier to change. If you can shift your thinking, you can change what you do.
2. Prepare. Try to deal with an issue before it becomes a problem. If you regularly run out of month leaving you strapped for cash, think about setting spending limits, or putting a weekly budget in place. Avoiding a bad habit or situation before it starts is much easier, and if it's a big decision, particularly financial, do your homework!
3. Be resilient. It's February and you haven't even thought about your financial resolutions, but don't be too hard on yourself. Don't see failure as evidence that you cannot change but rather as a signal to try again.
4. Don't run with the crowd. Don't buy lunch out every day just because your colleagues do, or stick with your mortgage lender just because it's easier or your friends do. Look at your own circumstances and decide what is best for you.
5. Break your goal into a series of steps. Focus on creating goals and mini goals that are concrete, measurable and give yourself a deadline to meet them.
We continually feature lots of helpful advice on our Straightforward Money blog on how to make positive financial changes, such as tips for saving, getting a better deal on your bills or earning cashback on your spending.