Along with a sense that we should be eating healthier, drinking less, exercising more and spring cleaning our homes, the pressure to take better care of our finances tends to rear its head around the beginning of the year.
With tax due at the end of January, and a nail-biting five week wait for the first pay packet since Christmas, it's only natural to want to tighten the shoe strings – and it really needn't be all that difficult to cut back.
Ricky Williams, the thrifty dad blogger behind skintdad.co.uk has some handy tips on getting your finances on track for the new year.
Ricky advises checking out apps like Chip and Money Dashboard*, which are 'great for prompting you to save where you can. Simply download it, link one up to your current account and get a brilliant overview of how and where you spend your income so you can see where you can afford to cut back'.
If you're planning a holiday or just travelling abroad, consider signing up with alternative banks like Monzo or Revolut. A Monzo bank card can be topped up super-fast via an app, and any transactions made abroad will be fee-less (so gone are the days or carrying around a wad of local currency). You'll receive an alert every time you use the card, as well as a monthly breakdown of what you've spent.
If you're serious about spending less, why not top up the card with a weekly fixed budget? It may be the thing to deter you from grabbing that pricey coffee on your way into work.
Save on a 'big shop'
When you hear about how much food is wasted in the UK each year, you have to question whether you're guilty of chucking the odd out-of-date product, too. You wouldn't throw a five pound note in the bin, so consider that the next time you let loose in the supermarket. The best (albeit obvious) way to keep things under control? Write out a list – what you will use that week, what you can freeze, cupboard ingredients you're running low on.
Ricky advocates going online: 'Reduce the cost of your grocery shop and shop online with Asda.com instead. It will help you keep better track of your spending as you go. Or, if you’re a regular online shopper, it might be worth investing in an Asda Delivery Pass. The pass allows you to pay a fixed £5 a month for your deliveries, rather than pay as you go, saving you approx £101 per year. Plus, Asda will let you trial the pass for a month for free to see if it suits you'*. Interesting.
Save, save, save
Had a rocky few weeks since the end of December? Try and make next January as stress-free as possible. You might roll your eyes at the idea of saving for next Christmas, but where's the harm? A tiny amount put aside each month will make your life infinitely easier when you've got serious shopping to do.
Ricky suggests picking up a Christmas Savings Card in your local Asda store and start topping it up little and often, as and when you shop.
*Both apps are available on Andriod and IOS. Both are free
**Weekly pay as you go deliveries can cost £156 per year – based on one shop per week at an average delivery cost of £3.