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Personal Finance
As we reach the end of 2017, it’s time to start thinking about our hopes for the year ahead. Making New Year’s resolutions is something many of us do, but few of us stick to. This year, why not make resolutions which will benefit you financially in the long run, therefore giving you an extra incentive to stick to them?

You don’t have to make huge changes to benefit from financial resolutions, and some of these can be completed before January is even over. Get smart with your finances this year with our top 5 easy resolutions below…

Make a financial goal

Start the year off on a good footing by setting a financial goal for the year. This can be specific to your needs and wants over the coming year, and can be a simple or complicated as you like. For instance, you could simply set a goal to save all 50p pieces you get throughout the year, or perhaps you want to save a specific amount each month.

Consider what is important to you financially and work backwards from there. You may want to work on improving your credit score, or maybe you feel the need to give your retirement finances some thought in preparation for the near future. If you have been having issues with a particular payment or with debts this year then working to ease these pressures in 2018 can make a big difference to your stress levels and your bank account.

Whatever you decide, ensure that the goal you set is achievable. Being too ambitious can mean you run out of steam too quickly. If this is the first year of making financial changes, start small and work your way up. It will all add up and mean positive changes eventually, without causing you to lose momentum.

Spring-clean your accounts

Many people have multiple bank accounts open in their name, but not all are used to their full potential. Take a little time out to go through your accounts, and you may be able to streamline your finances and save some money at the same time. For instance, if you have any joint accounts which are no longer used, it can be within your interests to close them. Being financially associated with someone else via a joint account can affect your credit score, particularly if their credit history is bad or non-existent.

Ask your bank for a list of direct debits and standing orders associated with any current accounts you own, as you could be making unnecessary payments automatically without knowing it. Cancel any financial instructions that are no longer required, and set up new ones if you have regular payments coming out which you have been completing manually. This will save you both time and money in the long run.

Look into additional income streams

Earning money from places other than your main job can be very rewarding and can afford you more flexibility in the coming year. It’s always nice to have a little coming in here and there to boost your monthly income and help to balance the budget sheet. Of course, many people do not have the time for a second job, but you can still make some extra cash in other ways.

For example, you may have a hobby that could earn you some extra pocket money. Offering tuition, selling arts & crafts or even creating a website or blog about your interest can help you to make money from something that you love doing anyway. Selling unwanted or unused items around your home can also bring in some bonus cash – just be sure to time it right. Selling a winter coat in the springtime is not going to bring in as much money than if it was sold in the autumn.

If you have jewellery, watches or electronics which are just sitting around attracting dust, selling these to a professional buyer can net you more than you think. Here at H&T we can buy these items from you for cash. Just pop in to one of our 247 nationwide stores – if you’re happy with our offer, then we’ll pay you in cash right then and there. Find your nearest H&T store here.

Deal with financial issues head-on

No one is immune to the odd financial hiccup, and it can be frustrating if you are usually on top of your finances. When money problems hit, the stress can cause us to make rash decisions which do not necessarily benefit us in the long run. In 2018, why not make a resolution to tackle any financial issues head-on, in a measured way, rather than rushing into an easy solution or burying your head in the sand?

There are plenty of easy-to-digest resources available online, as well as advice forums which could give you more specific guidance for free. Use these to your advantage next time you find yourself in a pickle, and you’re likely to find that better solutions, a reduction in stress and plenty of new knowledge awaits. Take the time to research, and you will be well on your way to stress-free finances.

Cut out unnecessary expenses

Consider your usual outgoings, as these can often be streamlined to ensure you have more money left in your pocket each month. If you already keep a detailed household budget, working out unnecessary expenses should be easy. If not, then you may want to go through your bank statements to see where you’re spending money you don’t have to.

For instance, you could make changes to your routine if you’re spending regularly in coffee shops or on snacks on-the-go. You don’t have to stop doing these things completely, but restricting yourself to one or two purchases a week can make a huge difference over the course of a year. Often, overspending on unnecessary items happens because we are not prepared. Making your own lunch at home, purchasing a travel coffee mug and ensuring you have cheap but healthy snacks at work, in the car or in your bag can really help prevent spending on things you don’t need to in 2018.

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By H&T Pawnbrokers