New Year’s resolutions, well intentioned as they may be, might not last into February. Our hectic lives kick back in after the holidays, and we’re soon back to our old ways.
A common reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is because we’re too ambitious: instead of planning to kick a bad habit over a few weeks, we vow to go cold turkey; rather than promise to walk more or use the stairs, we take out gym memberships and instead of implementing some simple measures to improve our finances, we go for the full-blown budget.
So … for those of you looking to save some money in 2017, we’ve put together some savings measures that don’t require much discipline or ongoing maintenance:
Unless you’ve moved house recently, it has probably been a while since you’ve compared energy deals to make sure you’re on the best plan. Shop around for a better deal, and keep an eye out for energy retailers offering special deals to new clients.
Your phone and internet plan is another place to save. Could you reduce your bill by bundling your phone and internet? Are you paying for data or calls you’re not using?
If you’re regularly going over your phone or data plan, consider upgrading to a larger plan to avoid paying a premium when you exceed the limit – it’s one of those rare occasions when signing up to pay more can actually save you money.
Health insurance is a little like energy contracts – we tend to set and forget. But even if you initially took the time to find the best health insurance, chances are the market has changed and there are new packages that could save you money or offer more value.
It can also pay to review what you’re covered for, and consider whether you’re paying for things you no longer need or whether there are gaps in your coverage. As you and your family change, so do the things you need insurance for.
Even if it’s just for a fortnight or a month, tracking your spending will give you a good idea about where you’re spending money and where you may want to cut back. Perhaps you’re spending more on buying lunch than your realised, or your love of magazines is costing a fortune.
There are plenty of apps that make tracking spending simple and discreet. MoneySmart’s TrackMySPEND should do the job.
We wouldn’t dream of suggesting you give up your morning coffee, but you could think about substituting café bought coffee for a plunger and some freshly ground beans. $3.50 a day on coffee doesn’t sound like much, until you think of it as $24.50 a week, or $1,274 a year!
Don’t worry, there are some really nice coffee beans for sale … trust us, we’re from Melbourne where coffee is king and the morning brew is a way of life.
Saving for the sake of saving can be a tough slog, but if you’re saving for something special you’ll find motivation and discipline are easier to come by. Whether it’s a holiday, car, computer or something for the kids, having a savings goal provides the light at the end of the tunnel.
Have a safe and happy New Year. Don’t be afraid to set a New Year’s resolution, but remember to set yourself up for success by making it achievable. If you’re trying to save money, remember that the little things can make a big difference.
Now bring on 2017!
Tags: 2017, Good Shepherd Microfinance, new year, new year's resolutions, Saving