Financial Resolutions for the New Year with Squirrel

With 2018 swooping down on us, I’ve had a chance to think about my financial resolutions for the New Year.

The last year has been really hard for me and Jay. We took on a new house that needed a much bigger level of renovation than we originally thought. We’re also planning a wedding in the same year we both moved jobs.

He moved to a new job at the beginning of April and I moved in the middle. We were mid house renovation at the time, and ended up using credit cards to complete the renovation.

We had planned to move in to the house about March 2017, having bought the house in January. But we were renovating it for six months, up until June. This meant, when we moved in, we had ten months to start saving for our wedding, as well as trying to pay off credit card debts.

It’s been an incredible year: the year we bought our house, the year I figured out what I actually wanted to do with my life. It’s been an expensive one too.

The wedding has EXPLODED (no one else to blame other than myself) and it’s becoming bigger and bigger every month. We’re now at 90 day guests and 140 evening guests. It’s been seriously tough, saving £650 per month for the last 6 months, and we’ll be continuing to do so until the month of the wedding (April).

 

New Year Resolutions

That’s why I’m thinking about financial resolutions for the new year. We want to get some debt paid off, save everything we need to for our wedding without stretching ourselves too thin, and be able to take a trip. We haven’t been on holiday since September 2016, and probably won’t go abroad now until our honeymoon in December 2018.

By the time mortgage, bills, food, petrol money, car insurance, credit card payments, and wedding savings come out, I’m not left with very much. I find it difficult to manage which account to transfer money to and from (I have multiple bank accounts for different things).

 

How Squirrel Could Help

If this sounds like you as well, an app like Squirrel might help. It makes saving in the new year much easier and manages all your finances for you.

You can select the amounts of your monthly expenses and direct debits, then how much money you want to save each month. The app keeps your savings safe and automatically puts the money for your bills into your account the day before they’re due to come out.

Money that you’re ‘allowed’ to spend on fun things can be put into your account all at once for the month, or can be broken down into weekly amounts.

If you’re the sort of person who spends bill money accidentally, this might be a wonderful solution for you. I love being able to see how much I can spend safely every month without going into an overdraft.

Do you think you could benefit from an app like Squirrel? There’s a free 3-month trial if you want to use it to help keep your financial resolutions in the New Year!

 

 

 

*Collaborative post

Avoid Overspending at Christmas – and Still Eat all the Mince Pies

Christmas is notoriously an expensive time of year, and whilst you might find yourself spending more than you normally would with gifts, food and decorations, it doesn’t mean that you have to enter 2018 with nothing but Selection Boxes and rejected Miniature Heroes to eat.

Here are a few thrifty tips to ensure you avoid overspending at Christmas, and proof that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a good time.

Keep Track of your Spending

It is all too easy to lose track when you’re buying bits ‘here and there’ for Christmas. The easiest way to keep track is to do a big online shop, or plan a day when you’re going to do all of your Christmas shopping and keep hold of the receipts. That way, you’re aware of exactly how much you’ve spent and can keep within your budget.

The best way to ensure you don’t spend more than your means is by setting a maximum budget. Of course, you might find yourself creeping over it slightly (with that office Secret Santa you dread every year) but if you have a figure in your head, you’ll know what you can and can’t buy.

No budget tends to mean that you’ll not only overspend but also buy stuff that you don’t really need. Whilst it’s important to treat yourself and loved ones at Christmas, do you honestly need and use everything you buy during the festive period?!

laptop on desk with coffee and paper. Avoid overspending at Christmas with budget trackers

Get on Top of the Retail Tricks

Avoid overspending at Christmas by leaving your shopping til last minute. Really! If you haven’t noticed already, high streets tend to put their sales on a couple days before Christmas – usually after everyone has sorted their Christmas shopping. It means that whatever you have sitting wrapped up under your tree, you could have bought a bit later, for a fraction of the price.

People might joke that you’re playing a dangerous game leaving all of your shopping until the last minute, but if you plan a big shopping day a few days before Christmas then you’ll be able to get everything you need and save yourself a bit of money.

Alternatively, if the thought of shopping at the last minute really makes you uncomfortable, try and buy your presents in the Black Friday sales that often run for the entire weekend.

present in brown paper with red bow

Cut Down on Costs Elsewhere

Anticipating a little overindulgence at Christmas is totally normal. A great way of getting around it is to cut down costs elsewhere in your day-to-day life to save you that bit of extra cash that Christmas requires. Energy bills costs us thousands each year, but have you had a look at how you can cut yours down?

One way people are sometimes unaware of is making the switch from regular Halogen light bulbs to LED alternatives. LED bulbs are just as powerful and shine just as brightly but use a lot less energy, meaning they are friendlier towards both the environment and your bank account.

There are plenty of colour and design choices, so you can’t really go wrong with having them installed. If you haven’t assessed your energy bills in a while, it is definitely worth taking an afternoon to look over them all – chances are you are paying more than you need to be!

Have a ‘Potluck’ Christmas Meal

christmas dinner table decoration

Your turn to host Christmas dinner this year? Don’t panic, you don’t have to pay for everything on your own. Hosting Christmas can be a lovely feeling and there’s nothing better than having the family altogether, however, cooking and paying for everything can be a worry.

Why not announce a ‘Potluck’ themed Christmas dinner, assigning a dish per family member. This way, you can bring together an absolute feast and have fun trying everyone’s different dishes. There is nothing better than a table full of home cooked goodness and encouraging everyone to muck in makes the feast that little bit more rewarding!