We all know how difficult it is to keep New Year resolutions, especially if they involve giving up chocolate, but some are well worth keeping. If you can stick to these 12 financial resolutions, you should end 2017 healthier, wealthier and maybe even a little wiser.
1. Start digging
Start the year by rounding up the paperwork for all your old savings accounts, investments, pensions and insurance policies to find out exactly where you stand, and trace any lost or forgotten accounts.
Read more: Detox your desk for the New Year
2. Draw up a budget
Work out exactly how much income you have each month after tax and where it is going. This will show whether you are overspending, and help you identify ways to cut back
3. Get saving
Everybody should have a pot of cash on instant access to tide them over for three to six months in an emergency, so start building yours now.
Set up a regular monthly payment and you won’t even notice the money leaving your account.
Read more: 5 Reasons why savings are still important
4. Dump unwanted direct debits
Have you set up direct debits or standing orders for services you no longer use, such as a gym subscription? Now is the time to cancel them.
5. Shop around
Do you simply auto-renew your motor and home insurance every year, and stick with the same utility supplier?
You could save hundreds of pounds a year by shopping around for a cheaper deal.
Read more: Car insurance tips for over 50s
6. Sweat the small stuff
Small savings such as drinking a little less, quitting smoking, taking a packed lunch to work or on days out, walking instead of driving, planning your weekly food budget and cashing in loyalty points or discount vouchers can really add up over the year.
7. Pay down your debts
Paying interest on your debts is throwing money away. Start by clearing those with the highest interest rates, whether an overdraft, credit or store card, then move onto the others. Consider shifting credit card debts to a balance transfer card, the best are now interest-free for more than 40 months.
Read more: How to clear your credit card debt quickly
8. Shrink your mortgage
If you still have a mortgage, take advantage of record low-interest rates to clear your debt before rates rise again. Or shop around for a cheaper deal as you could save thousands (but beware early redemption charges).
Read more: What your mortgage provider won't tell you
9. Get protection
How would your family cope financially if the main breadwinner fell seriously or died? If you don't know the answer, consider protecting them with life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover.
Read more: What happens to debt when someone dies?
10. Cut your tax bill
Make full use of your tax allowances, including tax relief on pension contributions and your individual savings account (Isa) allowance, which rises to £20,000 from 6 April. If inheritance tax is a concern, plan ahead.
11. Help your children
Young people need all the help they can get to survive student debt and get on the property ladder, so start saving on their behalf, and teach them how to manage their money carefully, rather than just living on credit.
12. Write your will
Too many adults do not have an updated will. If you're one of them, write it now.
Read more: Who should write your will?
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