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New Year Financial MOT
The new year is a time for change, for taking stock of our surroundings and setting goals to pursue. All of which make it the perfect time to do an MOT of your finances and have a look at what is working and what perhaps doesn’t work so well. From there you can set yourself some savings goals for the year and watch as your money starts to grow.

Budget

Budgeting is a great place to start and will play a key part in making sure that you can hit your financial goals for the year, as well as ensuring that you live within your means. Based on your income, expenses, savings, and any debt you may have, try and work up a budget that feels realistic to adhere to. There are many helpful online tools to help you manage your money, such as The Budget Planner from Money Saving Expert.

There are also several social media groups and other platforms where savvy savers can publicly share budgeting tips and tricks that have worked for them. Money Helper has set up a monitored Facebook group for anyone looking to improve their budgeting skills.

Set a savings goal

Setting yourself both short-term and long-term goals allows you to be more flexible – and means you’re less likely to dip into your long-term savings on a rainy day! Short-term goals might look like spending money for your holidays and long-term might be something like saving for a wedding or a house.

We offer a range of saving products to give you the freedom to save towards what you want in life. Our 95-Day Notice Account is a good place to start, meaning you can begin to tuck money away little by little, whilst safe in the knowledge that it is growing well in advance of your savings goal. For example, if you started saving in January for your summer holiday in July, then you would be able to withdraw your funds in April.

Track your expenses

Whilst not the most entertaining of tasks, taking stock of what you’ve been spending is crucial to helping work out where your main areas of expenditure are and what you could possibly trim back. This can also help to identify your spending patterns and compare them against your budget. You can record this yourself or if you find it easier, check out online budget planners such as, Money Advice Service. There are plenty of resources out there!

Cut your losses

Owning up to where you’ve overspent can be difficult, but it’s important to be honest with yourself when taking stock of your situation. It’s ok to treat yourself once in a while, but before you make an impulse purchase, consider your savings goals and think “do I really need this”? Similarly, have a look at any unnecessary subscriptions or direct debits that you might unknowingly be forking out for, and be ruthless with your cancellation of these.

Check your pensions

Use a free online pension calculator tool to work out your total projected income for retirement, using your personal pension forecasts, and any other savings that you'll have. You can also get a state pension forecast which will tell you how much state pension you could get, from what age, and how you might be able to increase it – just visit Gov.uk/check-state-pension. You may also want to consolidate smaller pension pots if you’ve had multiple jobs, meaning you have one login and can see clearly how much is saved.

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