New Year financial goals: 5 tips for making and keeping them

The monthly financesNow is a good a time as any to clear out your financial clutter, especially with – for many – January’s salary feeling a long way off after the festive blowout.

So to get 2017 off to a bright new start and set yourself some achievable financial goals, we’ve got 5 simple tips.

1.    Check out your ins and outs  Even small changes can help you balancing your income against your outgoings, which can often help you feel more in control of your finances.

It can help you work out when to allow room for certain annual essentials, for example direct debits like a TV licence, one-off annual charges like home or car insurance, or things like birthdays or special events – as well as stopping outgoings you may no longer need or use, like a gym membership you forgot you had.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got enough held by to be able to cope with these obligations when the time arrives to pay them. And keeping up to date with when your credit bills are due can help you avoid the risk of missing payments, which could affect your Experian Credit Score.

2.    Could you get a better deal on your regular bills?  When did you last change your tariff? With highly competitive markets like mobile phone, energy or broadband, once an introductory deal is over many people allow their contracts to roll on to higher rates without even realising it – so they can end up paying more each month for the same thing.

Changing could save you hundreds of pounds, with tariffs changing so often it’s hard to keep up with it, and companies both trying to get customers from their rivals or persuade them to stay loyal to them.  In some cases your current provider will want to keep you as a customer and may be persuaded to match or better deals you find elsewhere.

Likewise, with credit cards and loans you may not be on the deal that best suits you.
Experian CreditMatcher is a free independent service that helps you compare credit cards and personal loans, based on your credit information. We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders.  

3.    Make some simple savings  Think about how you deal with essential buys such as food and fuel and hidden extras, which can build up quickly. Factor in how much you think you’ll need each month. There are also now many ways to save money if you can time your needs with the availability of the right online discounts. Use the train for family trips? There are railcards that could save you money.

Simple things like making your own packed lunch instead of nipping out for a pricey baguette can save a packet over the course of a year. Other simple wins could be to try and ignore the temptation to make impulse buys, and not to shop for food when you’re feeling really hungry!

And even at home you can save money! According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical household could save up to £30 a year just by reaching for the off switch instead of the stand-by button, while using a bowl to do the washing up rather than a running tap could save another £30 a year.

4.    Start as you mean to go on  January is also a good time to make use of some of the resolutions you may have made. If you’re taken on a challenge to save for a holiday, only buy the shopping you need, or make your credit payments on time, then the start of the year is a great time to set achievable targets with clear landmarks ahead.

5.    Getting your credit report in shape  Need a car? A new kitchen? A washing machine? It’s worth keeping your Experian Credit Report in good shape so that you could have the best chance of the credit deals you want.

Your credit report can show you if you’ve missed some payments on cards or loans you have. Doing this could help you be better off in the long term, as when you make an application for a loan, credit card, mortgage or other type of credit, lenders look at your credit report to work out a credit score for you.

Given that late or missed repayments stay on your credit report for at least six years, it’s a good idea to make your repayments on time if you can.  Checking your Experian Credit Score, which is now FREE forever with Experian CreditMatcher, before you apply for new credit can give you a good indication of how lenders see you.

Experian Credit Matcher is a free independent service that helps you compare credit cards and personal loans, based on your credit information. We are a credit broker not a lender, working with selected lenders 

†Experian acts as a credit broker and not a lender in the provision of its credit cards and personal, car finance and guarantor loans matching services, meaning it will show you products offered by lenders and other brokers.

Experian acts independently and although CreditMatcher shows products for a range of lenders and other brokers it does not cover the whole of the market, meaning other products may be available to you. CreditMatcher services are provided free however we will receive commission payments from lenders or brokers we introduce you to.

CreditMatcher is provided by Experian Ltd (Registered number 653331). Experian Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 009743). Experian Ltd is registered in England and Wales with registered office at The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.

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