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Are you stuck in a financial rut and can’t see a way to add to your savings pot or start setting aside funds for the future? Do you want 2023 to be your best financial year to date but you’re not sure how to get started? You’re in the right place!
Our five golden rules will help you boost your savings through achievable, practical measures; a few minor tweaks can make a significant difference to your regular outgoings. So the first step is simply getting started. We’re counting you reading this post as technically ‘getting started’ – so well done you!
1. Prioritise Debt Repayments and Credit Health
The first focus is a no-brainer. You should give full attention to repaying any outstanding debt, particularly short-term debt with high-interest charges, such as credit cards, store cards, overdrafts and loans.
Saving is financially responsible, but it isn’t recommended if you are also accruing interest and management charges on debt – it is better to make as many deposits to pay down your debt as possible and start saving when you are in the clear. Think of this as by far the most cost-efficient form of investment you can do with your money.
Successfully repaying your debts within the agreed schedule can also help to limit any potential damage to your credit score and in fact the opposite is true – repaying credit can actually help to improve a credit score. Although it is advised by online credit providers that you do not rely on this method to improve your score.
2. Be Self-Sufficient
Many of our expenses are formed out of habit. We can immediately cut back on unnecessary outgoings by aiming for greater self-sufficiency if we take an honest, analytical look at our spending habits.
The average monthly grocery bill is getting increasingly expensive and the trend looks set to continue into 2023. That article source is focused on Canadian data points but the same outlook is forecast across much of the world. In spite of these rising costs it is still possible to tangible reduce your grocery bill by planning meals in advance, cooking at home rather than eating out, and strictly avoiding impulse items that aren’t on your ingredients list.
Batch cooking can also be a good option if you have freezer space because you can lower your electricity usage and have nutritious meals available on demand, making it easier to resist the urge to splurge on all too convenient fast food.
3. Prepare a Budget
Budgeting might seem like an unwelcome chore, but it can be extremely valuable in setting out what income you have coming in, the expenses going out, and working out what you have left over if you stick to the basics.
If you have a small contingency, you could use this to make an overpayment on your debt because you will often reduce your overall interest cost on any outstanding borrowing.
Transport accounts for up to 16% of the average household budget, and whether you use public transport or own a vehicle, there is usually space to save.
You might carpool and take it in turns to split fuel costs to work, ride a bike rather than taking the bus, or walk if the distance is feasible.
Insurance providers are normally happy for customers to carpool, provided you’re sharing the costs of a trip rather than using your journey as an informal taxi service in return for a fee.
5. Set Aside Small, Sustainable Amounts
Finally, set aside small amounts often, rather than assuming you need to deposit large chunks of money into your savings for it to add up.
You might pay in the equivalent of a meal out each time you cook at home, pop your spare change in a jar, or empty any loose cash from your wallet – it will accumulate much faster than you think!
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