This year – new start for your finances

The new year marks the beginning for a lot of people and many of us try to get rid of bad habits and start the next 12 months with a clean slate. You may decide to boost your fitness, improve your diet or even sort out your money problems. Here are some things I recommend to give your finances a new start in 2019.

  1. Sort out your cash flow problem

The first thing I do when looking at my finances is get recent statements out and have a thorough look at what accounts and credit cards I have, where my cash is coming from and what I am spending money on. It is important to make a spreadsheet of your cash flow – i.e. your earnings together with regular expenditure. This will show you how much disposable income you have left at the end of the month, and if you don’t have any (which is often the case, unfortunately), it will indicate where you overspend. Cutting down on this would be my first new year’s resolution.

Having a good idea of all the accounts you have is also useful, as I can get persuaded into opening lots and then forget that I have put money in old accounts. If you’re lucky enough to have cash somewhere you’ve forgotten about, move it immediately to your current account.

  1. Organise your accounts

The new year might give you the motivation to open new – and better – accounts (but remember to close your old ones, of course). After having a look at the products you have, you might realise that you don’t have a very good deal at the moment and there are other more profitable credit cards and accounts available.

For instance, I have opened credit cards in the past when the deal was particularly good for the first 12 months, and then have continued to use them even when the promotional offer has come to an end. The beginning of 2013 is the time to close old accounts and credit cards that provide you with no incentives and open new ones that come with a lot of advantages.

New credit cards can offer benefits like zero per cent interest charges for the first few months and cashback on spending. You might also find current accounts at other banks that come with incentives such as free overdraft limits for a certain amount of money.

Think about what you need the most – i.e. if you use your credit card to pay for petrol, you could get cashback on the money you spend on fuel with some new credit cards – and then decide whether you want to move to another financial services provider or not.

  1. Settle your debts

I always try to think of the new year as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, and one of your main new year resolutions could be to get rid of any debt you have. I know this isn’t as easy as it might look, but if you start with this as a goal, you are more likely to be motivated enough to do something about paying back your creditors.

One way you can sort out your debt problems is by seeking advice from debt management companies like Debt Solutions who can provide you with assistance in reimbursing those you owe.

You can get information on ways you can dig yourself out of financial problems, such as by signing up to debt management programmes, which may mean this will be the last New Year’s Day you wake up with huge debts hanging over your head.