Financial Resolutions That Are Actually Worth Making in 2019

Millions of Brits start each year off in debt, after splashing out over the festive season. It would seem natural that immediately after the holidays, most of us would want to reduce spending and pay off bills. What better way to start than by making financial New Year's resolutions? Here are some resolutions you can make that will help you save money year-round. 

Stick to a Budget 
Financial planners will tell you that creating a realistic budget is the first step in getting your financial house in order. Just as important is sticking to the budget that you do create. Pay your bills and only purchase new items that you can afford. Post your budget on your refrigerator or on your desk as a reminder that saving more money in 2019 is a top priority. 

Pay off Debts Sooner 
Just because your car loan, mortgage or other loan payment has a set term does not mean you have to pay for the entire term. A longer term means more money paid towards interest. So if you still have half a loan left to pay back to or two years left on a car note, try to pay a little extra or even send in double payments when you can. The extra payments will go towards bringing down the principal, which means lessening the interest payments too. While lenders are always happy to see borrowers pay more interest, they’ll gladly take your early payoff too. 

Save for a Rainy Day 
Your budget needs to include savings. The absolute worst thing that can happen is that you budget without setting aside money for an emergency. Murphy's Law tells us that when you fail to do this you will probably have an emergency. Most people without savings have little choice than to draw on credit or short-term loans. Reducing spending and having a rainy day fund are important. 

Save Towards Retirement 
Long-term financial security is just as important as short-term savings. Does your employer offer a 401K or other retirement plan? If so, how much do you currently contribute? Can you contribute more? A person in the U.S. currently making $50,000 a year, who puts 5% of their salary into a 401K for the next 30 years, may have close to $700,000 waiting for them at retirement time.

Find a Side Gig or Two 
More than a third of all American workers participate in the gig economy, a trend which has spread to the UK and elsewhere. A side gig is work performed as a contractor where you generally set your own schedule and are your own boss. Side gig jobs include things like driving people or packages for delivery in your personal car, writing, selling homemade or drop-shipped products online, computer programming or web development services, or writing. Doing a side gig for just a few days a month can generate extra money that can be used to pay down bills or add to savings. 

Change Your Spending Habits 
Do you really need to have the premium cable TV package when you spend most of your time watching streaming video online? Have you ever read the insert on your electric bill that tells you if you adjust your thermostat by a few degrees you could save hundreds of dollars a year? Take a look at your spending and see what features and changes you can make to help improve finances. 

These and other life hacks will save you money. Best of all, once you make the changes you may realize that you never really needed to spend so much. You will have less stress knowing that you are saving money. By the end of 2019, you may find that you can afford the holidays without extra debt. Now wouldn't that be nice?

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