Financially, January is a lean month for most as we curb the excesses of Christmas and settle back into our normal routine. January is also the month where we recover financially from all that holiday time we took at Christmas and from the fact that December tends to be a slow month for businesses everywhere as people wind down in the weeks running up to Christmas. Read on for a few tips on how to get your finances in shape this January. Cut bills
Shopping around for better deals on household bills from electricity to your mobile phone contract, even shaving a few pounds off here and there across multiple monthly bills adds up to significant annual savings. We recommend you check out Mobi-data.co.uk (Ad) for example as it’s the lowest costing data sim card we’ve found in 2014. In these scenarios you will often find that going to a specialist niche provider (as in the example above that caters exclusively to mobile internet) you will find better prices than a service or provider trying to offer you multiple services under one roof. Always do your shopping around to get a good idea of the current market prices!
Aiming to spend less than you earn
The only effective way to save money is to spend less than you earn. This means introducing accountability and transparency into your budgeting plan and being honest with yourself about what you spend, what you save and what you can afford. Spending less than you earn is also about dealing with the ‘here and now’. Some people have a tendency to overspend based on what they expect to earn in the coming months based on an optimistic outlook of what income will be in the bank in the next few months. This is a dangerous habit and if you want to spend less than you earn you need to get out of the habit of spending based on expected income. A good tip is to look through your bank statements, or whatever records you have and firmly stick to a plan based on what has come into the bank over the last three months. You can review your finances every few months and take account of increases in income then, but it is much wiser to live in the here and now financially. This will help you spend less than you earn.
Maximising your income
Maximising your income is something we can all do better, and if you maximise your income you will find your finances get into shape a lot quicker. If you are self – employed, you can maximise your income by planning your self – employed schedule and being disciplined about what work you should be doing in the working week. Try to get into routines (Ad) as a self-employed person and then you will find you are able to get a lot more work done in the working week. When you devise and stick to routines you can ensure regular income streams are being earned and this is a great way to maximise your income. If you are employed there are many ways to maximise your income. The first is to make sure you are getting paid a reasonable salary, based on what you could earn if you moved jobs. Always keep an eye on the job market as an employed person and consider how switching jobs could bring you more income. Even if you don’t actually switch jobs, this information is useful when you are negotiating a pay rise from your employer.
Saving is a great habit and one you should get into this January. Saving is often neglected by people who tell themselves that they will start saving next year or next month. Make a commitment to save even just a small amount of cash each month and set up a direct debit for your savings. As such you should treat your savings like any other bill, and make sure it is paid at the end of the month. This will establish saving as a habit which will benefit you enormously from a financial point of view.