So, how are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? Did you make any financial ones?
Well, I always do, and here are my top 5 money resolutions for 2024, or any year for that matter.
1. Check Your Savings Interest Rate
Interest rates are starting to come down again, at last, and there are some good, competitive rates of interest available out there. Shop around for the best rates.
If you’re saving for something specific, a long way off, you may get better rates locking it away for a fixed period. Or you may find that regular saver accounts up to a finite limit can offer you higher rates with added flexibility.
Do look around, most financial comparison sites will list your options. As long as the bank or institution you put your savings into are FCA Registered, it should be safe.
Lastly, don’t just think of savings as being for those big purchases. It’s always a good idea to have a rainy day fund, for emergencies. No matter how small, if you can keep a reserve, the new set of tyres, or emergency plumber callouts won’t be as painful.
2. Invest in Future You
Your pension plan is designed to be a tax-efficient way to do save for your long-term future. With the tax relief you get on your payments, it’ll cost less than you might realise to accelerate your pension plan.
In addition, if you have a workplace pension, your employer should contribute as well. Some will even offer matching schemes where they’ll match your payments up to a certain percentage. So, it’s worth making sure you’re getting all of the benefits you’re able to.
Check your existing plans are growing in the way you want them to. If in doubt, or if you want to make some changes, talk to your financial adviser. Contact me any time for help or advice.
3. Investigate Cashback Credit Cards
Especially if you aim to pay off your credit cards at the end of each month, cashback cards can be a good idea. In short, they refund the cardholder a small percentage of the amount spent on each purchase above a certain threshold.
If you’re one those people who reliably pays off your monthly balance, and plan to use your credit card a lot, a cashback credit card may be right for you. But if you tend to keep a balance, you might end up paying more in interest charges and fees than you save with the cashback. So, check the interest rates carefully, use a comparison site for this.
4. Chip Away at Debt
Paying off your debt is usually a good money goal to have – particularly when interest rates are high, like they are now.
Use the budget you’ve created to understand how much you can afford to put towards any debts. Or think about consolidating your debts if it means you could potentially get a lower interest rate.
If you’re finding debt hard to manage just now, there are places you can turn to for help. Try Citizens Advice for free advice.
5. Shop Around for Cheaper Insurance Policies
Most insurance policies last for a year, so it’s always a good idea to check before ‘rolling over’ into another year. Premiums have been sky-rocketing for many types of insurance lately, so a little bit of shopping around will do you no harm.
Be careful to ensure you get the right level of cover for your needs, then hit the comparison sites. A few hours of looking around on a wet weekend can save you a lot in premium costs.
Don’t wait until the last minute to try and find a new insurer though, try to give yourself a little time, say a month or so in advance, for better rates.
So, in summary, although I could come up with a great long list of financial tips, I think it’s better to keep the list of money resolutions short and achievable. Cut your outgoings by reducing costs where you can, such as reducing debt and changing your insurance policies. Then look to get a little back with cashback cards, before investing wisely in competitive savings rates and pension planning.