Many of us make New Year resolutions, but how many of those are about our finances?
It is said that one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again whilst expecting a different result, so you may have to make some changes to make a real difference.
It makes sense to get your finances in order and deal with the priorities so you can get on with enjoying your life. On 5th January I spoke in the Dubai Today show on Dubai Eye 103.8FM covering this topic, so as promised here is a list of some the issues to focus on:
- Sort out your paperwork. At least put all relevant financial papers in one place. In one big box if you must, but at least have it all together.
- Keep a budget. Until you know what is coming in and at least as importantly, going out, each month you can’t improve your situation. Keep a log of every Dirham (or whatever currency) that you receive and every one that you pay out, no matter how little the bill. If you feel you are frittering cash away, note that you are spending it on. At the end of the month tally each column and you will see not only what is left over, but also where you can make savings.
- Set yourself a monthly spending limit. Once you have paid your rent or mortgage, your utility bills, loans and essential bills, give yourself a set amount to spend each week or month. Your pocket money if you like. If it is in cash and you have to stick to it you will be far more aware of where the money is going.
- Shop around. Shopping wisely can lead to significant savings. The costs vary hugely between supermarkets so taking a little more time can lead to big savings on your grocery bills. Buying seasonally and locally, or regionally, can also be cheaper.
- Address those credit card bills. Paying the minimum amount each month will never get them paid off so you may need to tighten your belt and get them paid. Paying the high rates of interest is a waste of money.
- Put away the credit card. If you are tempted to use it again, leave it in your sock drawer or the back of the fridge and only take it out for emergencies. Don’t use it for daily expenses.
- Build up an emergency fund. Ideally we should all have money equivalent to three to six months’ outgoings to fall back on, whether due to redundancy, illness or to cover flights to visit ailing relatives. You never know when the rainy day will come so best to be prepared.
- Get insured. If your employer doesn’t yet provide medical insurance, get yourself covered. If you have dependents or a mortgage, get life assurance.
- Start saving. Even if you start small, it is still a start. If you need discipline, set up a standing order to move money to a saving account after you get paid so can’t spend it.
- Plan for your future. The earlier you start the better and compound interest/growth can make a big difference. There are a variety of options to suit different budgets and circumstances so make sure you get professional and unbiased advice.
Make 2015 the year when you really make a difference to your financial situation.
Happy New Year!
Should you have any queries or would like to review your finances, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org