7 New Year’s resolutions to save money
Detox your finances with our money makeover – guaranteed to shave inches off your waste line!Credit: Alan Cleaver – Flickr (edited)
Ah, Christmas: there’s nothing quite like it for rinsing your finances – once you’ve factored in travel home, presents and New Year shenanigans, you're less flush than a festival portaloo.
Never fear: we’ve narrowed your rescue remedy down to just seven essentials to get you back on track in next to no time.
The money makeover
Be ruthless about unwanted presents
Seriously, there’s only so many hideous jumpers a person needs. If you got gifted things you won’t use or appreciate, don’t let them get dusty – get rid.
Shops don’t have to take back presents if they’re not faulty, but if you’ve got a receipt (or the nerve to ask for one!), they’ll probably cut you some slack. Check the returns policy first – you may end up with gift vouchers, which are only useful if you’ll want to shop there again.
Otherwise, sell it online or through your local paper.
Top tip: while you’re at it, consider listing anything else you haven’t worn, used or looked at for 6 months or more – same deal if you’ve traded-up on old phones and other high-end goods.
Don’t insure … until you’ve read this
If Santa left top-end gizmos under your tree, make sure you keep hold of them: check what your contents insurance covers and, crucially, when it won’t pay out.
If your new toys aren’t covered for loss, theft or accidental damage (in and out of the house), you may need extra protection – but take phone shop insurance with a pinch of salt.
Use the sales to blag cheaper bills
It’s not just retailers who cut prices at the start of the year: now’s prime time to shop around for better bills.
Broadband’s an obvious one for slashed prices right now: even if you’re not up for renewal, it can be worth asking providers with cheap deals if they’ll buy out your existing contract.
For everything else, take a peep at the latest deals and switch to save big.
Top tip: if you’re up for renewal – at any time of the year – you could secure savings just by threatening to leave.
With Student Finance payments landing around now, get on the case to make it last.
If you’ve other income to get by on, stash your Loan in a high-interest savings account or ISA to earn extra in interest. Nationwide customers can get a bank-busting 5% right now so, even if you only manage to plonk £500 in it for the year, you’d make £25 for nowt.
The longer you can leave your money untouched, the more you can earn – so do it now to kickstart your holiday fund.
Top tip: you can capitalise on any spare cash you get, not just your Student Finance. If you turn a profit from unwanted pressies, use that to boost your savings fund. Or, if you can’t stretch to putting your Loan away, a budget can help you eke it out.
Start planning your holidays
The Back-to-School Blues can bite hard: you need something to look forward to! Whether it’s hols abroad or festival frolicks, start saving now, but consistently, and you can get away with squirrelling away less cash, too – so you won’t miss it as much: here’s how to work it.
It’s not too soon to start scouring for cheap deals, either: the best ones go first!
Top tip: no holiday for you? Save the cash anyway and it can pay for any number of things, including less frivolous but very necessary work experience gigs. Having the extra funds to fall back on could help you look further afield for any opps going.
Book ahead for travel
Conveniently – for your wallet – Easter vacation is well-timed for the cheapest rail and coach fares if you book now.
Scout around for other income
If the term ahead is looking particularly bleak, there’s extra cash out there – if you know where to look! Firstly, you’ll want to check in with your uni’s student money adviser, to find out what cash is going locally.
It’s also worth having a look at turn2us.org to see if there are any benefits or charity grants you’re entitled to.
Lastly, scope out any scholarships or niche funds going.
Top tip: check 'em out even if you don’t need the cash right now – knowing where they are, and how to get them, can get you out of a pickle later on.
Are you in the mood for more? We have an amazing list of money saving tips here.
And there you have it – the essential money-savers that can help you get back on track and make the new term a bit easier to stomach. Tackle one a day and you can have this thing dusted in a week. Let us know how you get on!