Is 2016 the year you finally start saving?
With Christmas out of the way and most of our finances in recovery mode, many of us may have made a resolution to cut back on spending this year. And whether you’re saving for that big summer holiday or simply putting some money aside for emergencies, every little helps when it comes to taking control of your outgoings.
To help you keep calm and protect the purse strings, here are some of our top money saving tips for 2016:
Sort out your salary
First thing’s first: Are you earning enough?
If you’re currently in employment and you’ve been stuck on the same salary for some time, 2016 could be the year you finally push for a pay rise. And while asking for more money can seem daunting, you’ll be surprised what the right preparation and a positive mindset can do.
Find out what your colleagues are on and what you’re really worth by using our average salary checker to find out the average pay for your position and location. Think about what you’ve accomplished since being with the company, and whether your responsibilities have surpassed those in your job description.
If the answer to this question is yes, it may be time to ask for a pay rise. And if your employer doesn’t see it that way, 2016 could be the year you start looking for something new.
Build your budget
No matter how hard they try, some people just aren’t good at budgeting.
However, when the bills start building up, a well-documented list of everything you spend will mean that no monthly payment or extra outgoing will go unnoticed.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, a spending diary is a great way to avoid going into the red. By monitoring each and every outgoing, you can fast identify those unnecessary purchases and quickly cut them from your spending.
The budget planner on the Money Advice Service website is our personal favourite, and will allow you to compile an accurate budget in just 10 minutes which you can export to a spreadsheet, or print off to keep track at home. That way you can stick it on the fridge, giving you extra impetus to keep your money on track.
Save a penny for a rainy day
Ok, it might take slightly more than a penny, but you get the idea.
In fact, if you saved just £3 every day for a year, by the time Christmas 2016 rolls around you’ll have over £1000 in extra cash. Saving in short bursts like this is more than manageable, and is far less demoralising than squirreling away as much as you can when your salary comes in.
What’s more, this extra money could make all the difference should any emergency situations arise this year (N.B. Emergency situations do not include impromptu visits to the pub).
After all, a penny saved is a penny earned. We’ll stop talking about pennies now…
Embrace the thriftiness
Without the proper precautions in place, your best laid budgeting plans can fall apart. Unfortunately, that only means one thing. It’s time to make the most of what you’ve got.
So with that in mind, it’s time to trade in your traditional breakfast bagel from that trendy place on the corner and bring your own breakfast every day. Drinks after work every weekend? Why not make it a monthly thing? And let’s face it, you’ve been going to the same barista for three years and they still can’t get your order right. At least at home everyone knows your name.
Almost everything you can imagine can be brought into your new DIY* ethos (see: pinterest). Couple this with a good old-fashioned new year’s clear out (see: eBay), and you’ll be laughing your newly-knitted socks off all the way to the bank. Probably…
If all else fails… Techno, techno, techno
If you’re still baffled by building a budget and can’t bear to part with any of your unwanted Christmas leftovers, help is at hand. Well, in your hands.
There’s a wide range of apps out there designed to do the hard work for you. So whether you want to save money online shopping, get cheaper car insurance or get cashback while you work, there’s something out there for everyone.
You may have to spend a few hundred pounds to get the smartphone or tablet to do it with, but otherwise, it’s a full proof plan.
Still not sure you’re saving enough? Check out our money saving questions to ask yourself in the New Year.
* Almost everything. Clothes, make-up and medicine should always be left to professionals.
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