It often feels good to have a good spring clean and finish a few tasks that you have been meaning to get around to for ages, and the same can be said of sorting your finances.
If you want something that goes beyond a budget, it might be that you are ripe for a shot at taming your ferocious finances once and for all, by giving yourself a 12-month window to execute a plan.
Many of us tend to have a myriad of differently financial commitments and arrangements, from short term loan solutions, to mortgages and retirement funding plans.
Here is a look at how you can set about tackling all of these aspects of finance and tick them off as each day and month of the calendar passes by, so that hopefully, this time next year, you may well be in better shape than you are now and have a plan to move forward with.
Take a steady path to better finances
The start of a new year is a time for many of us to take stock of our lives, look back on the last twelve months and then make some resolutions about what we are going to do different in the year ahead.
It is also a good moment to set out a financial plan and make a list of things to do each month so that you have tackled everything by the time another year has passed. You can of course set a calendar of action to start at any time rather than wait until January comes around, but the most important thing is to plot a steady path towards enjoying a better financial position.
Review your budget
A good starting point when tackling your finances is to conduct a thorough review of your current monthly expenditure and take a look at your spending and saving habits, so that you can see where your money is currently going, and whether your income is in line with your spending.
Make sure you leave no stone unturned and list every single regular financial commitment and account for every bit of spending, even the small amounts that might seem insignificant but can soon add up to a noticeable chunk of cash.
Set some attainable goals
Based on the information you have been able to glean from your budget review, you can then set about creating some goals which you consider are definitely attainable in the short term.
If you are giving yourself a 12-month timespan to make a difference to your finances, you should be able to set yourself at least a couple of goals to reach by the time the year has passed.
The sort of goals you can aim for might be to save enough to clear your credit card debt, or perhaps you want a different car or a memorable holiday. Clearing down debt should be a priority over holiday plans of course, but if you are able to identify some noticeable savings when you did your budget, you might be able to channel some of that money towards these goals, without noticing much of a difference in your money.
The fundamental key to reaching your financial goals is combining greater financial discipline with your spending habits and monthly commitments, together with making cuts in your spending where you can.
You can often save money by switching your utilities to another supplier, getting a better cable deal and improving your broadband and mobile contracts. Take a look at all of these things and see whether you can create more money for yourself, simply by signing up to a cheaper deal.
Mark out important dates
If you are going to use a calendar to mark your progress, make sure you also note down when your various insurances are due for renewal and any other agreements that need to be renewed for another year.
Don’t just take the automatic renewal being offered by your car insurance provider for example, as there might be a better deal out there, so mark these dates down and shop around to see if you can give your finances a quick boost, simply by finding a cheaper quote.
Don’t let your finances get out of hand, set yourself a twelve-month plan of action and see how you can gain better control and put yourself in better financial shape not just for now, but into the future too.
Joseph Birch writes about a range of personal finance matters. He uses his own insights to write informative articles aimed at helping people enjoy life without debt. His articles appear on lifestyle and personal finance blogs.