Christmas is a wonderful time to over-indulge; but the New Year is always the time to buckle down and start on those resolutions.
One resolution you probably have is to bounce back from all that festive spending and start saving up money for the future, but you’re not sure how.
We've compiled a few tried and tested tricks for saving money while still living life to its fullest. Just take a few of these easy steps each day and watch your money grow!
The most basic way to cut back on spending and boost your savings account is to simply be aware of your money and get your accounts organised. With smartphones and online tools, managing your money has never been easier.
The financial experts at LearnVest.com say one of the "10 Helpful Money Habits to Adopt Today" is the "money minute," and we couldn't agree more. C.E.O and founder of LearnVest, Alexa von Tobel, takes a "money minute" each day and "checks her account balances, recent transactions and progress toward her goals."
Use an online or mobile tool to manage your accounts and track your spending. Take 60 seconds a day to know where you are spending the most and become aware of your spending habits. Once you know your spending habits (good and bad), figure out where can you afford to spend less.
Maybe instead of eating out most nights, stay in with your special someone and cook up a romantic dinner. Rather than your £2 cup of morning coffee, make a pot at home. Simple changes in routine and habits can result in significant money saved. We promise!
Some money management tools even allow you to automatically transfer money into your savings. By taking the time to set this up, you will be able to sit back and watch your savings grow without (mostly) lifting a finger.
If you'd rather not use a tool, make sure to keep track of your spending and receipts. Take time out of your day to catalogue your habits, and remember to put money back in your savings. But, trust us, using a safe mobile tool takes all the hassle out of getting organised.
If you need some help finding the perfect mobile app to track your money and spending habits, check out our roundup of the best budgeting apps.
Have you ever walked into Tesco and come out carrying about four more bags than you meant to buy?
LearnVest says, "the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 70% of shoppers admitted to making an impulse purchase in the last month...and that more than 70% of those buyers regretted it later."
Cut down on your impulse buying this year, and make a plan every time before going to the grocery shop or shopping centre. Make a master list of the things you truly need. Don’t let those dazzling shoes or that extra bag of sweets distract you. Waste not, want not. Pick up only the essentials.
Also, don’t automatically grab the first brand name item you see. Most of the time at the grocery shop, you can find the same quality food at a fraction of the price. Perhaps your go-to grocery is far over-priced. Take that extra ten minutes to go to the small, local grocery. It will have the same foods, and often an even greater selection of produce and natural items.
Don’t be a brand snob; those few pounds you save each week at the grocery can really add up!
Know when to shop
This tip goes out to all the fashionistas and shopaholics. Every shop has sales, but do you ever take the time to schedule your shopping trips around them?
Instead of shopping on a whim, plan your day out when your favourite shop is having a sale. You get the same, awesome style finds and save money at the same time. Some sales, like every one-day-sale ever held, are hard to catch; but make the effort, and put back all the money you save.
Calm down on the credit card
A credit card can make you feel like you have freedom to buy anything, but be cautious. Unless you can pay off those pesky credit card bills on time and in full, your cards can do way more harm than good.
Many people overspend on credit cards and are then stuck with the consequences. Bills and debt pile up, and in turn, your credit score plummets.
Credit cards can be great tools to build up your credit, but take things slow. Don’t splurge on multiple cards. Cut yourself down to one or two credit cards, and only spend the money you know you have in your account.
LearnVest suggests that you put your credit cards on ice, even literally, and instead spend using a debit card, with the money you know you already have in your account.
All ladies love to get pampered. You go to the salon, get your hair, eyebrows, and nails done, and walk out with a massive bill.
We know some great hair colours just cannot be remade in a bottle, but one simple way to cut back on your spending is to spend a night in. Pamper yourself instead of going to the salon, and you could easily cut up to £50 off of your monthly spending.
Take a night to relax with a movie and do your nails. You can buy all the instruments you need, usually for less than you would pay for a whole manicure. You can even invite your girlfriends over and make a party out of it. Be social and frugal; what’s not to love?
You don’t have to be a financial guru to save money. Simply be aware of where your money is going and what you are spending it on.
Some habits, like that coffee habit, can be hard to break, but being aware of your bad spending habits can help you break them.
Spend more time cooking and pampering yourself, instead of eating out and going to the nail salon. Try planning an outing during your favourite shop’s semi-annual sale. Skip the brand name products and try something just as good, if not better, for half the price.
Like the experts at LearnVest say, you deserve more. Sometimes "more" goes beyond the immediacy of a spa treatment or new pair of heels, however. Think about that Caribbean holiday you've always dreamed of.
LearnVest says, "You deserve to be safe if you lose your job, free of bad debt and saving for something big that will truly make you happy."
Remember these few simple tips, and then you'll have money in the bank for that rainy day or holiday you've been dreaming about.
What's your favourite money-saving trick? Tweet us @sofeminineUK.