Baby steps to a saving resolution

LAST week, just after we rang in 2015, we covered how to ‘keep resolutions’ and some of the habits that people who keep them have in common – Karl Deeter

This week we’re going to stick with the theme of ‘taking baby steps’ rather than trying to do it all at once. How? Simple, we’ll do a small resolution every month.

The first one for January is about December. Start a small savings account, put a few bob into it, and do that every month so that next December you don’t need any credit cards.

If you have a big credit card balance don’t let it accrue interest. Switch to the likes of Tesco Visa and you get 0 per cent transfers meaning you’ll pay no interest for six months. Then get your old card, cancel it and burn it.

February is Valentine’s month, but our biggest love is of prudence so this resolution is about starting a nest egg.

Unlike the last idea, this one is not about splurging later in the year. The main thing is to start, no matter how humble the beginning.

Next, we move on to March. We are going to do savings one last time — but this time it’s to get ready for renewals of insurances and the like.

If you pay your premiums all at once you’ll save about ten per cent on the price. That also goes for car tax. So try to get rid of these bills in one go.

April is a good time for a spring clean so to lighten your bills, check out a site like Bonkers.ie for great deals on gas, electricity, broadband and phones.

May is about making a Mayday call. As an advisor, one thing most people with financial problems have in common is they never speak to anybody about their money situation until they are in too deep.

So invest some time and money in your own future and talk to somebody. Whether that’s a professional advisor, an accountant or a friend, a second set of eyes often helps reveal things you are doing wrong. You’d be surprised how well this can work.

You might be letting an unused gym subscription continue, but an advisor will pull you up on that.

And that gets us to the halfway point of June. The kids are out of school, so there’s no better time to encourage them to become more financially independent.

Take time to teach them good money habits and to find part-time jobs. You will do them a big favour by imposing a ‘family tax’ of 20 per cent on their earnings. It’s also never too soon for teens to learn about investing — see Seeds of Wealth by Justin Ford.

For my own boys they are too young to work, but I do get the older one (he’s five) to do things like pay at the shop, count his money and check prices.

Learning about money early in life is a great idea. The nice thing about these resolutions is that they will make a huge difference but each of them is a small manageable step.

Next week, we’ll get through the rest of the year, with more tips that can make a big difference to your pocket!


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