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Money experts reveal their financial resolutions

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31/12/2018
The New Year is traditionally the time to detox and set some resolutions such as drinking less, eating healthier and exercising more. But what about your finances?

Is 2019 the year you’re planning to get them in order? If it is, here are some money management tips from some of the UK’s top money commentators to give you a bit of inspiration.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell

Cancel those pricey subscriptions – People spend on average £640 a year on subscriptions that they don’t want, according to Citizen’s Advice. Check your bank account and cancel anything you’re not using or getting value from – it might be time to admit you’re not using that gym membership, or you can get your TV package cheaper elsewhere. Some companies deliberately make it hard to cancel, in the hope that you’ll give up – but persevere.

Tackle boring life admin one month at a time – Boring, often time-consuming, tasks like switching bank account, checking on your pension or getting a cheaper energy contract are easy to push to the bottom of the to-do list. But if you aim to do just one thing a month it will seem less of a chore. Write a list for the year of all the things you’ve been putting off sorting out and tick one off a month.

Do the 1p savings challenge – A more fun one to build up a rainy day pot, starting saving 1p and adding 1p each day. On the first day you save 1p, the next you save 2p, the next 3p, and so on. By the end of the year you’ll have almost £700

Claire Walsh, personal finance director at Schroders

Tidy up your finances – over time it is easy to accumulate lots of savings accounts and credit cards – perhaps you took them out to take advantage of a good interest rate or save for a particular purpose, or you might have lots of different investments and pensions. Not only does this often result in lots of post and admin, it could leave you more vulnerable to fraud, if you don’t keep regular track of these.  Take stock of exactly what you’ve got, work out what you need and what you don’t and for investments and pensions a regulated financial adviser can help you review and identify which are the right arrangements for you.

Aim to keep 3-6 months spending money in cash as an emergency fund is a good guideline, but the level you keep will really depend on your personal circumstances.  If you are self-employed or running your own company and have dependents you will probably want a larger amount than if you are single and in a secure employment.

Are you making the right contribution level to your pension? Many employers offer generous match-funding of contribution levels which is like free additional money from your employer.  If you can afford to do this this is a great way to save as you are doubling your money AND you get tax relief on your contribution.

Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director at Fidelity Personal Investing

Quit the frittering – As we contemplate saving more money we see our holidays, new clothes and favourite restaurants disappearing before our eyes – but the truth is you can save with minimum sacrifice just by taking stock of how you’re spending your money, and identifying where you are frittering away money that could be better used elsewhere. Are you still paying for a TV package you don’t watch or a magazine subscription that ends up in the recycling bin? You will be surprised at how much money you could save by cutting unnecessary costs that also require no sacrifice.

Make yourself accountable – Commit yourself to investing or saving a small amount of money on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if it means contributing more towards your pension or investing in an ISA – getting into the habit of proactively channelling some money into investments or savings is a step in the right direction towards reaching your savings and financial goals.

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