The festive period can easily take a toll on both your waistline and your bank balance, expanding the former and shrinking the latter. The good news is that both of these issues can be addressed and the sooner you get started dealing with the issues, the sooner you’ll see results.
With that in mind, here are 6 money tips for the new year:-
- If you need to file a self assessed tax return, make sure you have your return filed and your bill paid by midnight on the 31st of January. That will save you substantial penalties for late filing and/or late payment.
- If you are carrying credit card debt, which you are unable to pay off in full right now, then make dealing with this debt a priority, even if it means cutting back on non-essentials. Banks are now suggesting “personalised payment amounts” to people who are considered to be in “persistent debt”, essentially people who have been paying more in fees and interest payments than they have in capital repayments for a period of 18 months or more. Basically, these suggested amounts are more than the minimum payment and are intended to help people to get people out of persistent debt and on track to clearing off their balances as quickly as possible. While these extra payments are optional (only the minimum payment is mandatory) it is often a very good idea to pay the additional sum if you can (or even to pay more) as credit card debt is extremely high interest, for which read expensive, and hence getting to grips with it quickly can really help to save you money over the longer term.
- Make sure you have appropriate insurance. While checking that you have sufficient but not excessive cover for anything which matters to you may not seem like the most glamorous of starts to the New Year, it’s likely to be a whole lot less hassle than having to deal with one of life’s setbacks without the benefit of an insurance policy to help you out.
- Contribute as much as you can to your retirement fund. There are more ways to save for retirement than through a pension and if you’re self-employed or a home-maker, it may well be worth looking into them, in fact, even if you’re in employment, it may also be worth looking into them. Those in employment, however, should definitely find out if they are entitled to join a workplace pension scheme and, if so, give serious consideration to joining it and making maximum contributions as it is a very tax-efficient means of saving for retirement and can benefit from employer contributions.
- Have a good declutter and organisation session (or sessions) and see if you can turn any of your unwanted stuff into cash. It may sound like a cliche (in fact it probably is) but New Year really is the perfect time to declutter and sometimes you really can turn stuff you won’t miss into money you can put to good use. Even if you can’t, you can still reclaim some space in your home and, importantly, take stock of what you do have, literally, so you don’t find yourself inadvertently spending money on something you’ve forgotten you have (or something you know you have but can’t actually find).
- Set yourself life goals for 2019 and beyond. Once you are clear about what you want to do in the short-, medium- and long-term future, and, crucially, how much it is likely to cost, you will be in a much better position to take informed decisions about the level of savings you need to make in the present to finance your future life.