New year resolutions: managing your finances (part 2)

UK Pound coins sitting on a Ten Pound Note

In the first article in this series we looked at ways to get a grip on your income. In this second article, we look at getting a handle on your expenses.

UK Pound coins sitting on a Ten Pound NoteFor most people, tackling the expenditure side of the equation is harder than looking at income. It’s all about choices and a bit of discipline! That’s why so many of us find it daunting.

Here are some tips on how to find a way through:

1  Write a complete list of all the areas you may spend money on throughout the year. Add in everything and allow for some one-off extras, such as the car needing new tyres.

2  Now analyse your outgoings. Ask yourself some searching questions. Is the gym good value at £50 a month if you are only doing one class? Do you need to be buying lunch every day when you are throwing out piles of unused food each week?

3  Research the costs of your utilities and insurances. Huge savings can be made by spending just a few hours on the computer or phone. Try these websites. or

4  If you have mortgages or loans then the same applies. Could you reduce the cost? Check the details on the arrangements you have carefully as there may be penalties or exit costs.

5  Renegotiate regular payments to any companies where you are out of contract, such as Sky and mobile phones. It’s a very competitive market and those who push get the best deals.

6  Use voucher codes. There are several websites which collate current offers, and you will find bargains and discounts available from many high street restaurants and shops. (And if you forget your voucher, beg at the shop to be given the deal. Usually you can convince them as long as you are politely pleading!) Have a look at these sites like Google for vouchers, you’ll be surprised what you find.

7  Negotiate! Some shops are willing to do deals, especially some independent, local retailers who would rather sell something at a 10% discount than not at all.

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8  Shop more carefully! A quick look through some recipe books and a carefully drafted grocery list will save money and reduce waste. The same goes for clothes shopping. Take a good look through your wardrobe before you go out! If it’s organised by colour you can easily see that you already have four white linen shirts …

So good luck with your new year’s resolution to get to grips with your finances. It just needs some time and some determination, but the results will be worth it.

In the next article we will be looking at where to invest the money you are saving and how to seek out the best returns.

About Jane Slater

Jane Slater APFS – Chartered Financial Planner – Director at Headley Financial Services Ltd. Jane runs a successful IFA firm in North Hampshire, Headley Financial Services Ltd. They advise over 800 clients every year on all aspects of financial planning, from buying a property to investing in specialist tax saving schemes. She has been working in Financial Services for over 20 years and has experienced every type of client and situation and now has an eclectic mix of clients and professional connections, many of whom are women. Jane believes that having female advisers is key as they are empathetic, organised and diligent. She runs a graduate training program in her firm and three of the 4 trainees are girls. Jane is married with two young children, as soon as she gets in the door her briefcase is put down and her pinny is put on and she then becomes Mum! She also finds time for sports such as netball, running, skiing and sailing and loves to throw parties and cook for friends.