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Author: Greater Bank

Get your finances in order for the New Year

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There’s no better time to aim to get your finances in shape than for the New Year. Take forward lessons you’ve learned about your spending habits over the course of this year and set some clear goals you’d like to achieve over the next 12 months.

Defining goals

Think about what you’d like to achieve with your savings over the course of the next 12 months. Are you saving for an overseas holiday? Do you want to work towards a home deposit? Perhaps you’re buying a new car. There may not be a specific end goal for your savings and you could simply want to build up your capital for future security. Whatever your intention, writing down your aims will help to keep you motivated as you work through a future savings plan.

Open a savings account

Once you’ve set your savings objectives, consider where you’re going to allow your savings to grow. At Greater Bank, we have a selection of savings accounts and can help you to determine which best suits your needs. Choose an account with a competitive interest rate to make your money go further. You can also utilise our handy Savings and Deposit Planner to help you map out your personal finance goals.

Set aside time

Assessing the entire year when it comes to developing a savings plan can be a daunting prospect so dedicate time to sitting down and working out your budgets. Break the year down into quarters and factor in non-standard monthly payments such as vehicle registration and quarterly bills like electricity. You could utilise our online budget planner to help you break down your finances.

Necessity versus discretionary spending

Once you’ve written down a list of all your monthly incomings and outgoings, categorise your outgoings into fixed, necessary spends such as rent and transport costs. Then highlight what items classify as discretionary spends like entertainment and eating out. Once you’ve got two distinct lists, you can identify where you may be able to trim down your optional spending and put this into savings.

Utilise free tools

Nowadays there are so many useful tools available online to help you manage your finances. You can download apps that hook up directly to your bank accounts to help you budget in real time, giving you consistent visibility of your finances from pay check to pay check.

You can also find a number of personal finance blogs that offer tips and hacks to help you save money and pay back your debt. If you want a real education on how to manage your finances there are free courses looking at different aspects of personal finance. This can come in handy if you want to boost your knowledge and awareness of issues such as taxes and debt consolidation.

Set a mid-year check-in

It’s important to review how you’re progressing throughout the year. Set an afternoon aside in June to assess how you’re doing in terms of being on track for your savings goals. This is a good opportunity to identify any unexpected outgoings that have cropped up in the first half of the year and gives you a foundation to put together a rough forecast for the second half of the year. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not 100% on track with your saving goals. That’s why a mid-year review can be beneficial and help you to get back on track. | Greater Bank

Get your balance right

When you’re setting yourself financial goals, try and remember to give yourself a little leeway. You want to set realistic goals that are achievable without denying yourself the life activities that promote happiness, health and well-being.

These may include your gym membership, socialising with friends and a health focussed weekly grocery shop. Account for these when you create your necessity versus discretionary spending list and ensure to put aside a proportion of your income to your down-time.