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Your New Year debt resolutions
This classic article was first published in December 2010, but the advice is great whatever New Year we’re celebrating!
Big Ben strikes midnight, the last chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ fades and the New Year begins. Most of us by now will have compiled a New Year’s resolution list and no doubt it’ll look remarkably similar to last year’s broken promises!
The most common resolution is usually to make this the year that you lose that weight you’ve been trying to shift. But before you make a beeline for the gym, why not get your finances in order and consider going on a debt diet.
According to R3, almost 19 million people in Britain are worried about their debts. So as well as losing lbs, resolve to lose £s of debt. Whittle away your debts as well as your waist!
The key to sticking to your resolutions is breaking them down into sizeable chunks that are easy to follow within a reasonable timescale. These 11 New Year’s resolutions for 2011 will help ease the pressure this year and leave you to worry about the weight instead!
Your New Year debt resolutions
1. I will not bury my head in the sand
The first important step is to face up to your situation and keep on top of your post. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and can often make it worse. Read this post from one of our debt advisors.
2. I will create a realistic budget and stick to it
Budgeting is at the heart of good financial planning. Try keeping a spending diary to help you keep a track of where your money goes each month.
3. I will prioritise my debts
Priority debts are more important than your creditor debts as the consequences for non-payment are more serious. Take a look at our guide which explains more about priority and non-priority debts.
4. I will make sure my mortgage or rent is paid on time
One of the most important priorities is your mortgage or rent payments. Unforeseen circumstances can see arrears build up out of your control. It’s essential to know what to do and where to go for help if this situation arises.
5. I will look at cutting back on non–essentials
Review any extravagant spending – do you need the full Sky package and the expensive lunches at work? Consider Freeview instead of paying for channels and taking packed lunches instead.
6. I will get a copy of my credit report
To keep track of your debts and creditworthiness, check your credit file. This Credit Explained booklet (PDF file) gives you lots of useful information on credit reference agencies and how to obtain your file.
7. I will look for ways to increase my income
Read our money-saving blogposts on making extra cash in the New Year.
8. I will start an emergency fund
You never know when things can take a turn for the worse. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to rely on the credit card whenever something unexpected crops up? Even putting away a few pounds a month can soon mount up and give you that extra buffer you need. Read our Emergency Fund blogpost.
9. I will share my financial difficulties with my partner so I don’t have to struggle alone
It’s useful to have a good support system around you so that you can share your concerns and celebrate your successes together. If you feel that you can’t discuss it with your partner, you could consider joining a debt forum for support, such as moneysavingexpert.com
10. I will shop around for the best deals on utilities
This can take time to do properly but could save you lots over the year – use comparison and cashback websites to maximise the amount you save.
11. I will get out of debt and look for help and advice
The bills from Christmas will soon be falling through the letterbox and if you find yourself wondering how on earth you will cope, contact us for advice. You can use our free online debt advice service Debt Remedy to help you work out a budget and look at the options that are available to you.
Have you made your New Year spending resolutions yet? We’d love to hear yours…