10 resolutions to save money in 2019
Please note this blog post was published over 12 months ago and so may not include the most up-to-date information, for example where regulation around investing has changed.
It’s January, which means for most it’s a time to re-evaluate where you are and where you could make some improvements. For many, 2019 will be a chance to get their finances into better shape.
We believe in empowering the public to better manage their finances, so we’ve put together some simple changes to help you save money in 2019.
1. Budget, budget, budget
It’s great you want to get started saving money, but first you need to know exactly how much you have, what you’re spending on, and where. Once you’ve identified where your money is going, which of these are fixed and which areas you may be overspending, you can have a better idea of how to cut back on spending and save money in 2019. Continue to regularly track your expenses, refreshing your budget as you go, this will help you get into a healthier financial habit and more in tune with your finances.
Our Personal Finance tool offers a single view of all your bank accounts, credit cards and savings in one convenient location. We’ll then automatically track and categorise your spending, giving you a better idea of where you could improve your spending habits.
Log in or set up an account to start using Personal Finance.
2. Set up an emergency fund
Before you get started on saving for a goal, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re working towards an emergency fund. Create a savings buffer to prepare yourself for any unexpected emergencies that might pop up – illness, loss of income, family emergencies, car or home repairs, last-minute travel costs – give yourself peace of mind instead of having to dip into savings or turn to loans and credit cards. This can be disheartening and can cause you even more unnecessary stress.
Size will vary from each person, but it’s recommended a minimum of three months expenses should be held in an emergency fund. You don’t need to build this all overnight, start with a small fund between £500 – £1,500 as a first milestone and you can gradually build this up. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You could start your emergency fund in our Stocks & Shares ISA, putting away up to £20,000 tax-free in the current 2018/19 tax year.
3. Set goals
Part of the reason for setting resolutions is to hold ourselves accountable. One of the best ways to ensure you stick to a plan is by making a commitment to the change and it’s even better if it’s something you are motivated by. What is it you are saving for? Whether it’s a house, retirement, a wedding, the more connected to it you are, the more likely you will stick to your savings plan. Your goal might be 5, 10 or 50 years away, but the sooner you get started, the closer to your goal you will be.
Make sure the goal is realistic, and your plan for achieving it is to. To help yourself, set smaller milestones such as “save an extra £50 this month.” You could do this by only having your daily coffee-shop brew as a once a week treat, or instead of eating out for lunch every day, pack your own lunches (it’s likely to be much healthier for you too!)
4. Pay off any loans or credit cards
Pay off any loan or credit card bills on time and as much as you can afford each month. Don’t be tempted by the minimum amounts, they often mean large interest fee charges and the beginning of a vicious cycle of debt.
Focus on paying off any loans or credit cards you have in full, starting with the smallest amount first. These little victories will encourage you to keep paying off each one, until you are debt free.
5. Cut back on your habitual spending
It might surprise you how much you spend each month on impulse spending and your guilty vices. By cancelling a gym membership that you never use, choosing to walk more instead of taking the car, taking the step to quit smoking or cutting back on weekly takeaways, you could start seeing your savings add up.
Even small purchases like your daily Starbucks coffee could be eating into your savings pot. It might only seem like a few pounds, but those little expenses really do add up. By cutting back, you could be saving a substantial amount more each year. For example, if you spend £4 on a cup of coffee, 5 days a week, you could be spending £1,040 over the course of a year.
6. Invest little and often
It’s a common misconception that investing is for the wealthy, but we believe that investing should be accessible to everyone and have found that investing even a little could still be a safeguard for your future finances.
When it comes to investing, the habit is more important than the amount. This year, you could invest an extra £1,378 towards your personal financial goal with our 52-week impulseSave® challenge. The concept is simple, adding a small amount, between £1 and £52 into your investment each week of the year.
Start your ‘little and often’ journey now by taking the 2019 challenge.
7. Budget with cash
Nowadays the convenience of card machines, online shopping and contactless payments can make it quicker to make purchases. Perhaps spending shouldn’t be so easy – especially if you are trying to save money for your future.
Budgeting with cash isn’t about boycotting online banking – leave any fixed expenses, such as your mortgage or rent payments as they are. Decide which of your monthly expenses are best for cash spending (food and drink, clothes shopping etc.) and set a budget for each for the month. You can withdraw enough cash to see you through to the next payday or break it up into one- or two-week periods – whichever works best for you.
Purchasing online and using plastic to pay for items can make it really hard to keep track of what’s going out. Withdrawing, counting out and handing over physical money can be a useful way to see exactly how much you are spending, and think twice about those impulse purchases.
Make sure to keep a note of what you’ve spent your money on. This will help if you want to cut back further on spending habits in the next month.
8. Auto-pilot your finances with technology
Technology can be a great tool to help you look after your financial health. Having access to online banking and investment accounts means you can access your finances 24/7 wherever you go. This awareness of how much you have, and where it’s going every month can be a really empowering way to stick to your savings goal.
You can also start making your savings automatic by setting up a regular direct debit to go straight into your savings or investments at the start of each month, before you have a chance to spend it on clothes, evenings out or impulse buys.
9. Switch to better deals
Switching providers to find the best deals and cutting down on unnecessary bills can often be one of the easiest ways to save £1,000s over the year.
Comparison sites such as moneysupermarket.co.uk and comparethemarket.com can help you find new providers for gas, electricity, phone contracts and even car or home insurance. It might seem like it’s not time to renew, but there’s always an opportunity to switch and save.
Make a resolution to compare your bill providers, look for new deals and haggle for a lower price on a monthly or at least quarterly basis. There are actually several companies that now offer automatic bill switching. For example, Gocompare.com’s WeFlip promises to keep customers on the best deals, automatically switching them to the next best deal whenever those run out.
10. Stay opted in to auto-enrolment
Saving for retirement will help to ensure you have financial stability later in life when you are no longer working. The famous saying ‘pay yourself first’ rings true here – your future self will thank you for it.
Auto enrolment is one way to get into the habit of regularly putting money away for your retirement. For every 2.4% of your salary you pay in, you also benefit from a 2% employer contribution and 0.6% from the Government. This will increase from April 2019, with employees adding 4% of their salary, a 3% contribution from employers and 1% from the Government, which adds up to 8% of your salary contributed towards your future retirement each month.
If you choose to opt out of your workplace pension, you will be missing out on the added pension contributions from your employer, and tax relief from the Government, which doubles the value of the money you, as an employee, put in alone. To put it another way, opting out is like saying no to a 4% pay rise from your employer. These are contributions, you wouldn’t have access to elsewhere and won’t get to claim back later.
By following some (or all) of these tips, you could develop healthy financial habits that not only save you money this year but continue saving money in years to come. Remember to be patient, getting into better financial habits and saving money takes time – little consistent changes over the long-term are the best way to see positive results.