New Year, New Budget: How To Stick To A Budget:

With the 1st of January fast approaching and although much might be changing in the world, new years resolutions tend to circulate around the same few topics; health, finances and learning something new or expanding the mind. In theory, these are all great areas to make improvements. However, reportedly 80% of people give up on their goals within the first six weeks.

In this guide, we are looking at the most common new years resolutions and why they fail, focusing especially on those financial targets, and why they are so important! This is particularly interesting because planning to save money, is reportedly the ‘most failed’ new years goal. We hope our guide will increase on the expected 8% of people who successfully accomplish their resolutions.

Most Common New Years Resolutions

New years resolutions come in trends. After an indulgent December and Christmas period, it’s no surprise that most people focus their new goals on changing their diet or being healthier. One poll showed that the list of the most common new years resolutions in 2019 was:

  • Diet or eat healthier – 71%
  • Exercise more – 54%
  • Lose weight – 32%
  • Save more and spend less – 32%
  • Learn a new skill or hobby – 26%
  • Quit smoking – 21%
  • Read more – 17%
  • Find another job – 16%
  • Drink less alcohol – 15%
  • Spend more time with friends and family – 13%

It’s interesting that the top three resolutions are all health related and there is little difference between them. Here at Wizzcash, we believe that your health should always be your priority, but as we talk more about mental health (and its relationship with your finances), it is quite notable that emotional or mental wellness does not feature at all on this list.

Only 32% of those polled stated that they were going to focus on saving more money and spending less in the upcoming year (2019). This could also be because of frivolous festive spending or being unable to stick to a budget since Black Friday. These figures are similar when compared to data that indicates Brits are no longer saving as responsibly or as reliably as they once did. One study states that 15% of Brits have no savings at all and approximately 33% (1 in 3) have less than £1,500 as a financial back up. This second figure perhaps suggests a relationship between those who have little to no savings and those who are planning to commit to budgeting and saving in the new year.

The anomaly in the most common new years resolutions seems to be ‘find another job’, which 16% of respondents say they want to achieve in the new year. As reports state that 40% of Brits are unable to consistently contribute to their savings account because of insufficient pay cheques, thus it is interesting that those looking for a new role is not higher. We understand that money isn’t the sole reason to take a job and we would never discourage someone from pursing their dream role; learning how to stick to a budget in a the new year could help these people save more, spend less, and stay in a job that means so much to them!

Who Are Most Likely To Make News Years Resolutions?

Although we are looking at the most common new years resolutions, the fact is that only 22% of people in the UK are likely to set a new goal. The most likely demographic to set a resolution are younger people, with 37% of 18 – 24 year olds planning how to make improvements in the new year. Interestingly, data shows that younger people also struggle with their finances and perhaps are not confident or are not aware of the importance of financial security, which could also be why younger people are taking out more payday loans.

In contrast, only 15% of the older generation plan to do make new year’s resolutions. This could be for so many reasons, perhaps a ‘stuck in their ways’ attitude that is typically associated with the older generation or perhaps because, over the course of their lifetime, this demographic have already achieved what they want to and are happier with themselves, feeling no need to make improvements. Another thing to consider is that over 65’s are also likely to no longer earn a wage and could have retired or are looking to retire. This also could have changed their attitude towards saving money and they might have already mastered how to stick to a budget or live within their means.

Women are more likely to intend on committing to a new target, too. 24% of female respondents to a YouGov study indicated that they would be making a new year’s resolution, compared to only 19% of men.

Why Do New Years Resolutions Fail?

We have already seen how many people are unable to stick to or achieve their new year’s resolution, but now let’s look at why. Turning over a new calendar and starting a new year is a very black-and-white thing. As the new year is something we see coming and we prepare our resolutions for, we have been thinking about what we want to achieve for a while. Unfortunately, this could contribute to why we fail them, because we need to see instant results and that just simply isn’t possible, especially when it comes to healthy eating and getting fitter, as well as saving money.

In fact, some articles suggest individuals should give up on their new years diets because they are not sustainable in the long term. This means we inevitably fail the super strict, one-meal-per-day diet resulting in feelings of failure and we might end up worse off that we were before we started the diet.

Moreover, participants in a study about resolutions stated that the enjoyment factor was an important reason for sticking to their new year’s goals. When it comes to spending money, unless you know how to stick to a budget and still enjoy your spare time, this can majorly take away from the enjoyment that comes from the goal, as participants may feel like they have less money to go out and enjoy themselves.

Ultimately, new years resolutions fail because they are too vague without any real plan of action, which results in a lack of direction and falling off the wagon. Alternatively, they are too strict and too much of a lifestyle shock. In order to be successful with a goal (financial or otherwise) it will need to be realistic and in a suitable time frame. Learning how to stick to a budget, which many people will be looking in to in time for the new year to achieve their financial saving goals, follows the same principles.

How To Stick To A Budget In The New Year

It is important to us that you are feeling happy and healthy, because as we have already said, this can have an impact on your finances, too. Research shows that feeling good could help you avoid debt and more resilient to handling personal finances. However, here at Wizzcash, we would love to see more people sticking to their budgets, which could allow them to work towards their savings goals. This could be anything from a deposit to a house or just building up a cash cushion to have on-hand in when you need it, which could help you avoid a short term loan to deal with the situation. We have some unique tips that could help you to stick to a budget, specifically in the new year:

Plan Annually and Monthly

Although you may be looking at the bigger picture and have a figure in your mind for how much you want to save by the end of the year, this is one of the instances in which your new years resolution is too vague, which is why you could be failing at sticking to it. Planning a budget both annually and monthly allows you to break your goal up into manageable chunks.

Moreover, it’s also an efficient way to budget because you can take into consideration your annual costs, such as:

  • MOT payments
  • Car insurance
  • TV license
  • Any premium renewals

You can decide early in the year how you plan to pay for these, i.e. by putting a little aside to pay them in one lump sum or negotiating with the provider to swap to monthly payments.

One of the important things to remember when looking at how to stick to a budget is that you shouldn’t binge spend or write off a whole month just because you went over-budget one week. It’s equally important to take into consideration times you do want to treat yourself, as these will inevitably crop up. Think of other expenses such as:

  • Birthday presents for loved ones
  • Seasonal wardrobe changes – a new coat or similar could set you back in your goal

New Year Is The Perfect Time To Review Your Bank Statement

We talked about the cost of subscriptions and how much could have crept into your monthly outgoings, without you really noticing. This could be small things like monthly costs for apps and digital streaming services, but they could also be much larger costs, like road tax payments for a car you no longer own. Brits now get a full day off on the 1st January and although this is a lovely day to be indulgent, it’s also a great opportunity to get out or print off your most recent couple of bank statements and manually go through them. This will help you to cut your costs and save money at the beginning of the year. This could help you stick to a budget and your new years resolution because you could see results straight away.

Research Entertainment & Put Some Things In Your Calendar

January blues can be a bit miserable, but it doesn’t have to be, even if you are planning to get healthy and learn how to stick a budget (finally) this year. As with anything you buy, it is often better or cheaper to research what you want to do. This could prevent you from impulse buying and going on expensive, last-minute nights out but will also help to ensure you are enjoying your challenge and sticking to it.

Slowly Change Your Spending Habits

We have already said that small habitual changes in your life are the most realistic way to stick to your budget. Each month try implementing another cost-cutting habit. For example, in January, give up stopping off to buy coffee in the mornings. Research shows that this is one of the things we impulse buy and could amount to savings of around £55 per month (if a coffee costs £2.50 and you buy one 5 times per week). Build this up over time and you could be pocketing big savings.

Keep Your Eye Out For Jobs With Benefits

If you are serious about committing to one of the most common new years resolutions, changing your job, you may want to take a serious look at the company benefits. For example, some companies may offer free gym memberships or activities that could help you take those things out of your personal budget. Moreover, they could offer more serious benefits, like SIPs (share incentive plans), which are a way to get shares in the company you work for. Alternatively, advantageous pension schemes may not show you immediate results for your savings goal, they could be a long term way to save.

Other Goals Or Things To Aim For In The New Year

You might not be in a position to start saving money yet. These are some ideas that could help you improve your financial situation:

  • Work towards clearing your debt (learning how to stick to a budget and our ideas above could also help with this)
  • Review your credit report
  • Use comparison websites to compare insurances, utility bills and make switches wherever it is responsible to do so
  • Reach out for debt help or advice if you feel you need it. We do feel this is an urgent situation and you shouldn’t hold off on doing this, but the new year could give you the push start you need to get things in order.

Wizzcash are a payday loan direct lender and we encourage people to budget effectively. However, if customers do find themselves in a genuine emergency, we can provide small loans that could cover the costs of home emergencies, car breakdowns or similar. It is really important that our loans are not used for ongoing or escalating debt, we work to strict lending criteria to ensure customers can afford to meet repayments. Find out more about how it works on our website.