Though most of us are busy buying presents, planning family visits and picking out our best festive outfit for the office party, it is really important to find the time during December to take stock of your finances.
The last month of the year is the ideal time to really go through your financial situation with a fine tooth comb and ensure you head into the next year with a clear head and a healthy balance. Things to look out and plan for include the end of interest-free deals on credit cards, store card balances and rises in travel costs, particularly if you get the train or public transport to work – prices often rise in January.
With so much to think about, we thought we would call on the experts and asked our favourite finance bloggers their top tip for healthier finances in 2017.
Charlotte at Lotty Earns
In January, give yourself a big financial shake-up. What worked in 2016, may not be best in 2017. What have you got coming in? Outgoing? Any holidays? Big purchases? Sit down – figure out how you can start saving for. Download banking/saving/budgeting apps and get a simple tangible plan to achieve what you want to achieve by the end of the year.
Lynn at Mrs Mummypenny
My top tip is to get in control of your finances, face the truth and work out your financial situation. Work out your debts versus your savings and go through your bank and credit card statements to work out what you are spending your money on. From this you can:
1) Create a budget
2) Cancel any non-essential payments
3) Reduce costs of regular expenses through switching. Facing the truth is the first step to getting in control.
Francesca at From Pennies To Pounds
From Pennies To Pounds
I would say that my top tip for a financially healthier 2017 is to get all of your money in order. Set up a budget, cancel any direct debits that you don’t need, make sure that you save money every month and get your financial goals aligned with this.
Carl at Wiser Wealthier
Because you’re reading this before/during (delete as appropriate) ‘New Years resolution’ season, my top financial tip for 2017 is: Don’t bother making money resolutions! In fact, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions at all but I’m especially against those that involve money.
If you want to get better with money the best time to start is NOW. Not tomorrow, not in the new year, RIGHT NOW.
-Next time you go shopping, switch one branded item for the own label version.
-Find one (yes, just one) thing to put on eBay tonight.
-Prepare one big bulk meal next time you cook.
These small changes will make you realise just how easy it is to be better with money, plus you won’t feel any pressure because they are such simple things to do!
It’s amazing how doing things like this changes your perception of saving money and increasing your income and I guarantee you’ll soon be doing much more!
Sara at Debt Camel
Want to save some rainy day money but it all seems so hard? Why not open a new account in January, set up a £20 a month standing order for when you get paid. Many people don’t pay council tax in February and March – adding that money in as well would really give a big kick start.
Iona at Young Money Blog
Plan for the long-term. Don’t think about short-term noise surrounding the economy and the fall-out from Brexit/Donald Trump. Stashing your cash under the mattress or in a paltry bank account will do nothing for your long-term prosperity if inflation continues to grow. Make sure you have an emergency savings fund topped up and if you have capital that you don’t require in the short-term, consider investing over a five to ten-year horizon where you have a real chance of at least conserving your capital if not decently growing it (although nothing is guaranteed). There are lots of options out there but execution-only websites have meant it’s never been easier or cheaper to build a portfolio of funds. Diversify across different sectors, regions, and types of company. Above all, hold your nerve.