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Shoestring Jane explores ten easy money-saving resolutions for 2024, including budgeting, tackling debt, saving, decluttering, and shopping wisely.
There’s nothing like Christmas to sap your bank balance. By the time they have paid for presents, parties, food and travel, most people feel the pinch once January comes around.
If that is you, and you are determined to be better organised with your finances during 2024, here are some easy money-saving resolutions for the New Year.
1. Start budgeting
Budgeting is simple. Work out your income after tax. Then look at your fixed outgoings, such as energy bills, rent or mortgage, insurance, etc. Don’t forget to include anything you choose to pay annually, such as car breakdown cover.
Review the last few months’ bank statements to work out other spending categories and your average costs in each category, such as groceries, travel fares, petrol and entertainment.
Then, use a spreadsheet, pen and paper or a budgeting app to set up your budget. This is the perfect opportunity to review your spending habits and see what can be cut going forward.
2. Tackle debt
When you have debt, the New Year offers you the opportunity to make fresh plans to tackle it. If you spent a lot on your credit card over Christmas, check the interest rate and see if you can find a 0% deal to transfer to, then incorporate regular repayments into your budget.
Problem debts may need a longer-term plan. Don’t be put off tackling large debts because the task appears too daunting.
Make 2024 the year you face debt head-on. Write down everything you owe and the interest rate you pay on each debt. Higher interest loans should be given priority. Understanding the extent of what you owe is essential to formulating a pay-back plan.
Read this article from Citizen’s Advice to help you create your plan and make an appointment with a debt advisor if necessary.
3. Start saving
Work out what your savings goals are. How about saving for next Christmas rather than using your credit card? Are you planning a family holiday? Do you want to start saving a home deposit? Do you need to top up your emergency fund?
Unless you have problem debt, which should be your focus initially, add regular savings to your budget plan and automate this in some way so it becomes effortless. Having a goal to work towards can be very motivating.
4. Sell your old clutter
The New Year is the perfect time for a declutter and could provide the opportunity to make some money selling your old stuff.
Vinted, eBay or Gumtree are worth exploring, or you could look at Facebook selling groups. If you have a lot of unwanted items to shift, how about a car boot sale in the spring or a garage sale?
5. Exchange unwanted gifts
It may seem ungrateful, but there is little point in hanging onto items you received that you will never use. If possible, exchange them with the retailer or sell them online. You could also put an unwanted present aside to regift to someone who will appreciate it, and save yourself some money later.
6. Only buy in the sales if you need something
The post-Christmas sales can offer opportunities for large discounts. However, it is easy to get drawn into spending more than you can afford.
Make sure your budget can take the hit and that you actually need what you are tempted to purchase. If not, avoid the shops and your favourite retailers online. Unsubscribe from marketing newsletters that will do their best to pull you in.
7. Give up smoking
This one may appear on your list of resolutions from a health perspective, but consider quitting smoking as one of your money-saving resolutions for the New Year.
I know this shouldn’t really appear as one of my ten easy resolutions, as smoking is clearly a difficult habit to break. However, it will save you a ton of money. There are quite a few apps available to help you. A friend used the Quit Smoking NHS app and saved £1400 in 2023!
8. Haggle down your bills
See if you can get some of your bills down by shopping around and threatening to change suppliers.
Broadband, phone contracts, insurance policies, car breakdown cover and TV packages should all be reviewed as they come up for renewal. Never lazily auto-renew as they will surely increase.
9. Start a side hustle
Resolve to increase your income in 2024. If you can’t persuade your employer to increase your salary (and it often pays to ask), consider starting a side hustle.
Think about your skills and talents and how they might be monetised. This post offers some ideas for unusual side jobs you might not have considered.
10. Always shop around and look for deals
When you want to buy something, it pays to research current prices to find the best deal.
Search out discount codes (sometimes an internet search can come up trumps) and make sure you sign up to a cashback site like Top Cashback or Quidco as it is possible to get £100s back each year on purchases.
With just a little time and effort, these ten easy money-saving resolutions for the new year could help reset and refresh your finances for 2024.
Photo credits: Pexels
Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.