With 2020 just around the corner, the chances are that you’re thinking about how on Earth you’re going to manage to pay for all of your Christmas presents and every night out you’ve got planned.
You may even be thinking about sticking some of your expenses onto a credit card and plan to pay it off next year, like the 28% of us who get into debt every Christmas.
However, if you’re sick of always being skint and want to change the relationship you have with money, the New Year represents an opportunity for a fresh start. Make some small changes to your finances and you’ll be better off in the long-run. Start with these ideas…
It can take a long time to form a good habit, so start by saving a small amount every month so you can build up an “emergency fund” should something go wrong (or your favourite band announce a new album and tour!). Set a realistic goal and start small - save what you can afford and review whether it’s sustainable after a few months. Even £50 in a savings account is better than nothing, and by the end of the year, you’ll have £600 to your name. Impressive!
Nowadays, most of us don’t even think about taking a purse or wallet out with us when we go shopping - we rely on our contactless cards and Apple Pay. And whilst that’s convenient and hassle-free, it makes spending too easy. Set yourself a food budget and withdraw that amount from a cash point before you go grocery shopping - you’ll be less likely to add snacks and treats to your basket if you know that you could be short when you get to the till.
Do you really need Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and Now TV? No. Choose one of the streaming platforms and watch everything you can on it before making the switch. We’ve got more tips on learning to unsubscribe from subscription services (including those beauty and snack boxes that are oh-so-addictive but oh-so-expensive) in a separate blog post here.
Whether you’re a student or you’re living in a house with friends, the chances are that space isn’t on your side. Spend an hour or two decluttering your wardrobe and putting some of your unwanted pieces up for sale. Whether you go the eBay route, use Facebook Marketplace, or head to a car boot sale, decluttering is a great way to minimalise and earn some money.
2020 is set to be a big year for the smartphone industry. Apple will release four new iPhones in September with 5G capability, and all of the big networks will switch on 5G across the UK. So rather than upgrading your phone contract and locking yourself into another two-year £60-per-month plan, keep your old phone and choose a SIM-only deal with unlimited data. Three and Voxi offer plans for less than £20 and you can hold out for the next big thing.
It’s so easy to opt for a Cheeky Nando’s or pick up a McDonald’s on the way home from a busy day at the office, but those meals out can quickly add up. The average Brit spends £700 a year eating out, though students and millennials often double or triple this. Instead, make an effort to cook at home; not only is it cheaper, but your waistline will be grateful!
If you must treat yourself to a takeaway, download the apps and subscribe to newsletters beforehand. Companies like Domino’s and KFC regularly offer freebies or discounts for their loyal customers, whilst the Greggs app can score you a free doughnut and a hot drink.
We know. When your student loan payment comes through and there’s an extra £2,000 in your account waiting to be touched, those new shoes seem pretty tempting. Instead, put all (or at least some of) your loan into an ISA or flexible high-interest savings account to reduce the temptation and earn interest. You can then break into it whenever you need to pay bills.
If you know you’re going to be travelling home to see friends and family, book your trains and coaches in advance. Companies offer the best rates when booked in advance, as it gives them an indication of how popular a particular service will be, so set aside an afternoon and plan out your next three months of travel. Oh, and take advantage of student discounts and travel cards like the 16-25 railcard if you travel regularly to save yourself some more money.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fresher or you’re a graduate with a job - your credit score will be incredibly important in the years ahead. It’ll determine which credit cards, loans, and mortgages you’ll be eligible for, so check it using a free site like Clearscore and start making changes to improve it. Pay your bills on time, check you’re on the Electoral Roll and update your address on any bank accounts or credit services you have, including your phone.
There you have it - 10 New Year’s Resolutions you should stick to if you want to save money in 2020. And if you want to make life that little bit easier, why not let Billing Better manage your bills? The best part is that you’ll get Amazon Prime for FREE, alongside a whole host of benefits including discounts on your groceries and meals out, and 50% off cinema tickets!