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5 money-saving resolutions for 2016

Season’s Greetings to you all, and we hope you’re enjoying the most wonderful time of the year! The prospects of a White Christmas perhaps aren’t as good as the romantics may have hoped, but after an interesting year – particularly in the world of finance – we certainly hope that the feet are firmly up, the food and drink stocks are abundant, the Christmas shopping is done and dusted, and that you’re well and truly ready for all the fun and merriment that come with the festive period.

Of course, it’s also the time to start making those difficult-to-keep resolutions for the New Year. But rather than committing to gruelling undertakings such as learning how to speak French, or playing the guitar, we thought we’d offer you five more attainable resolutions that could really help you get a head start in 2016…

 

1)      Consolidate any credit card debts

Yep, we know. For all the excitement and mirth, there is no doubting that December can get a bit heavy on the wallet. Presents, relentless social engagements, and a general “Oh well, it’s Christmas” mentality can leave you turning to the plastic more often than you ought to. But rather than succumbing to the proverbial January skint-ness, use it as a time to take control of your debts. The UK Credit Cards Association recently stated in its Q4 Report that the average representative APR is a whopping 17.8%, which means you could be left facing an arduous repayment plan. Why not undercut this instead with a quick and easy debt consolidation loan, so that you can save a small fortune in interest?

2)      Open separate accounts for savings – and fill them!

What are you looking to save for in 2016? A new car? A holiday? Your first house? A rainy day? Or perhaps many things? Putting pen to paper on your savings goals always helps to keep you accountable. But opening multiple accounts is a brilliant way to ring fence the money you want to protect from day-to-day spending. So don’t be shy to open two, three or even four separate accounts, and squirrel away as much as you can into each.

3)      Keep a diary of your spending

Those £2 coffees from Costa, lunchtime meals from Pret and quick drinks after work can add up like you wouldn’t believe. But rather than being the fun patrol and telling you to cut it all out completely, we’d suggest simply keeping track of all your outgoings for a month, and what you spend each day. Then, perhaps after January, you can do a quick review and decide if the purse strings could do with some tightening or not.

4)      Diversify, diversify, diversify

If 2015 has taught us anything, it’s the need to steer clear of having all your eggs in one basket. The economic slowdown in China shook global markets to their very core, and many experts fear the worst could be yet to come. However safe you think your investments are, make them safer and spread yourself as far and wide as you can. Consider different types of investing – perhaps even peer-to-peer lending – and, within that, different platforms too. It will all help to avoid sleepless nights in 2016 should there be any market turmoil ahead.

5)      Don’t be too hard on yourself

Oh, go on… We’ve all had those silly nights out where we've spent too much, or gone on an unsanctioned shopping spree that leaves you with a hole in your wallet and a lot of stuff you later realise you don’t actually need. But don’t beat yourself up. Remember that while money may make the world go around, there are many more important things in life – like the friends and family who will be sitting around the dinner table with you this Christmas. So if you’re ever responsible for a splurge that gets out of hand, fear not! The sun will come up the next day (probably in another country!), and you’ll make it right.

 

So there you have it. Pretty easy stuff, huh? You’ll be amazed what a difference such basic steps can make though, and if you carry even just a couple of these resolutions with you, then you may just be giving yourself a pat on the back in a year’s time.

Right, so with the serious stuff out of the way, and a bulletproof plan in place for 2016, we’d just like to take this opportunity to wish you a magnificent Chrimbo with all the special ones in your life. Remember to fill your boots, and your tummy – because it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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Michael Todt

Mike joined Lending Works in early 2015 with a background in marketing and journalism. Having long held a passion for economics, he is now the chief contributor to the Lending Works blog, and regularly writes about all things peer-to-peer lending, fintech and personal finance.