If you’re feeling the financial pinch after Christmas, then the new year is the perfect time to take charge of your spending especially with inflation set to rise from 3.1% to an average of 4%*.
According to economic think tank, ‘The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS,) millions of people are likely to be worse off this year due to inflation, higher taxes and minimal wage increases. amid spiralling costs and tax rises.
Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we’ve put together a list of our top tips to help getting you finances back on track after Christmas.
*stats correct as of 28/10/2021, Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR)
Refresh your budget
With the very real possibility of the cost of living increasing at the fastest rate for 30 years, updating last year’s budget to reflect these changes is important to keep your spending on track.
That extra £10 a month on your utilities bills or price increase on gym membership may not seem like much individually, but it all adds up and needs accounting for.
Keeping your budget in-check will leave you with a more accurate idea of what disposal income you have each month and highlight the areas where you can reduce overspending.
Compare the market
While you’re in the process of updating your budget, take this opportunity to audit your outgoings to see where you can get a better deal and save money.
Shopping around and using comparison sites to check out what deals you can get on your utility bills, insurance polies and tv/internet/phone subscriptions often result in significant savings.
It’s best to get these sorted as soon as you can to ensure your finances are in the best position for the year ahead.
From duplicate or unwanted Christmas presents to old and worn-out items hiding at the back of wardrobes, we all end up with things we don’t necessarily want or need taking up precious space in our homes.
But before you reach for the bin bags, consider selling your unwanted items to earn a bit of extra cash. Online platforms such as eBay, Vinted and Facebook marketplace are a great place to start with low to no listing or selling fees meaning you get to keep most of the profits.
Organise your repayments
Existing debts can quickly drain your budget if they're not dealt with head on.
Credit card debt should always be a priority, especially if you don’t have any 0% offers. With the average APR being around 20%*, even the most modest balance could still cost you more in the long run.
Writing down all your existing debts along with their respective interest rate and term length will allow you to prioritise the ones in need your immediate attention (the one with this highest APR) and see which ones can wait.
Sometimes, using a personal loan to consolidate your debts can help clear them quicker however always be sure that you can afford the repayments before applying. And if you have a good credit report, you’re likely to get a competitive rate.
Go dry for January
Dry January is the UK's annual one-month alcohol-free challenge set up by Alcohol Change UK in 2013.
Every year they encourage the nation to get health, fitness, and finances back on track getting you to take on the task of giving up booze for the entirety for the whole month.
Getting friends and family to join in on the challenge will help keep everyone on track with a higher chance of success.
If cutting out that glass of wine isn’t for you, or you’re just not a big drinker, consider swapping it out for something else that you do spend on, such as meals out or Saturday shopping sprees.
Start saving for next year
It may seem too early to be thinking about next year when this one has only just begun, but it’s never too soon to start planning.
January is a great time to get your savings plan in place for the year ahead, and you’ll be glad you did when you don’t have to suffer the festive hangover this time next year.
Factor your savings plan into your budget and keep a regular check on it throughout the year to make sure it’s feasible and on track.
Low cost personal loans from Hitachi Personal Finance
Whether you’re looking to buy a new car, sprucing up your home or just tidying up your finances, our low-cost personal loans can help which from as low as 3.1% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000