Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every time January rolls around. For most, these are based around working out more and eating junk food less.
However, a lot of New Year’s resolutions end up failing before January is done. So, this year, why not make a different kind of resolution? Working on your financial health instead can be a really positive alternative (and may even be one that’s much easier to stick to!).
In a cost-of-living crisis, it helps to have more money and manage the money we already have better. This way, we can live comfortably, save and do more of the things we love, whether it’s date nights, girls’ brunches or travel trips. But knowing where to begin can be a challenge.
Here are some ways to take control of your finances in 2024 and make significant improvements. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Assess Your Accounts
Ways to take control of your finances 101: assess your bank accounts (this may be less scary than it sounds).
Take a look through your statements for any recurrent payments. This will help you spot those unexpected sums that you’re spending regularly. These could be:
- Direct debits that you no longer need
- A magazine subscription that you no longer read
- Or an old gym membership that you haven’t cancelled
Checking that you can cancel these without a penalty and then doing this could save you money from the start.
2. Create a Budget
Tracking all sources of income and expenses will help to build a realistic budget you can stick to monthly, weekly and daily.
Group expenses into categories such as housing, utilities, food, entertainment and gifts to identify spending patterns and what you need to allocate to these categories. You may be able to pinpoint a category where you can reduce your spending to save more money every month.
3. Reduce Debt
Take steps to improve your credit score by making timely payments and reducing outstanding debt. You can get free annual credit checks to monitor errors or fraudulent activity.
If you have any debts, make a list and prioritise those with the highest interest rates. Then come up with a repayment plan to pay off debts by allocating extra funds.
4. Automate Savings
It can be so difficult to save due to current inflation rates — I get it. One of the key ways to take control of your finances is by setting up an automatic transfer from your current account to your savings account. This could be anything you can spare, even if it’s only a small amount per month.
It’s important to have an emergency fund just in case the worst happens and you need access to money fast. Calculate your living expenses so you can determine how much you can contribute to your emergency fund. Then keep up these contributions until they reach the amount you’re aiming for.
5. Consider Your Future Finances
Understanding your current finances is vital. But, considering your future money situation is so important. What are you saving for?
Define your financial goals clearly, from short-term (a holiday) to long-term (retirement). Ask yourself which goals are most important and allocate your resources accordingly.
6. Invest Wisely
Looking at different investment options is one of the great ways to take control of your finances in 2024. Getting some sound, professional financial advice is well worth it before you invest. After all, you want to minimise risk and protect your cash as best you can.
Property investment is often the investment of choice. The reason? You get a tangible asset to keep. There’s something really appealing about owning bricks and mortar. Of course, the extra income and healthy nest egg are also a big part of the appeal.
Rent out your property and earn a monthly income that way. Alternatively, you could buy a property in need of some TLC. Taking on a property renovation project can be extremely lucrative if you have the level of knowledge required.
7. Review and Negotiate
Lastly, the ways to take control of your finances are ongoing. You can have regular reviews of your budget and financial goals to check everything is in order.
Things can change pretty quickly in life so make adjustments to your budget, income, expenses and financial goals as and when you need to. You may find it helpful to do a monthly or quarterly check-in.
Check out competitor rates when it comes to bills and switch over if you can save considerable money. Or, you can always try to negotiate better terms and prices with your current providers.
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Final Thoughts on Ways to Control Your Finances Beyond 2024
Taking control of your money requires a combination of budgeting, saving and making informed financial decisions. Once you’ve established your current financial position and got a plan for going forward, you may be wondering: what next?
Staying on track with your good financial habits is essential to see results. Continually monitoring your money will keep you firmly in control for now and the future.