Easy to make, easy to break – sometimes new year’s resolutions are more about wishful thinking than a real intention to change.
That’s why the best resolutions are the ones that require small, simple changes rather than grand gestures. Those can be embedded into your daily routine, making them easier to keep up with. For the best chance of success, why not consider starting early? By ‘practicing’ your good financial habits now, you’ll already be committed to them by the time new years Day roles around.
Once a day: Check your banking app
Most people can check their account balance and transactions on the go via an app. This isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s something that you should get into the habit of doing daily. Setting your finances laid out for you in this way can really help you to understand exactly where your money is going. More importantly, it can help you to notice auspicious activity and report it to your bank in case of fraud.
Some banks are even starting to incentivise app usage. From next year, anybody with a NatWest rewards account will receive money back as a reward for logging in regularly.
Once a week: Plan your meals
Meal planning can be tedious, but it’s such a good way to save money. If you know what you’re going to be eating throughout the week then you can bulk buy groceries and ensure that you’re using seasonal vegetables. You could even make meals ahead and stick them in the freezer.
All of this helps to stop those last minute trips to the convenience store, which can be expensive. Not to mention avoiding unplanned takeaways or meals out.
Once a month: Reflect on your spending habits
Once you’ve formed your spending habits they become second nature, and as you go about your busy life its easy to forget to take time to consider whether they’re the habits that you want. Take some time every month or so to consider whether you’re happy with the way that you’re spending money. Are you using money to invest in things that matter to you, or are you throwing it away on impulsive purchases that don’t actually improve your life?
On the flip side, you may be living an ultra-frugal life that helps you save the pennies but gives back very little in terms of occasional treats or satisfaction. In that case, you might want to consider whether there are areas in which you can ease of the reigns a little bit. Either way, this isn’t necessarily about changing your habits, but rather about being mindful of them.
Once a year: switch your service providers
Utilities, phone contracts, even bank accounts – so long as you’re not locked into a contract, they can all be switched to get you a better deal. This isn’t something that you need to do regularly, but once a year look at your different suppliers and check in with a comparison tool to see if you could be saving any money. When it comes to banking, look out for offers of cash for switching your main account.