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Want to get your finances in order? Tips to make sure your savings resolutions stick

Here's how to keep your financial resolutions on track. By Vicky Shaw.

Don't fall into the trap of aiming too high at the start of the year – £50 a month will soon add up and you can see how you go and increase or reduce as needed
Vicky Shaw (PA)

NEW Year resolutions can be easy to make but harder to keep – and that includes sticking to efforts to be better at handling money.

One in 10 people who didn't reach their savings goals in 2018 admit they'd already failed by the end of January, according to a survey by Leeds Building Society. Being unable to put anything aside, other priorities taking over, and unexpected life events were common reasons for missing targets.

The survey suggests that the majority of us will have started 2019 with a new list of savings resolutions, with 55 per cent looking to build their nest egg, 14 per cent looking to save for a big life event such as a wedding, and 14 per cent increasing savings by investing in stocks and shares.

Separate research from Ford Money found that those who made financial resolutions last yea kept them for an average of just 10 weeks. After resolutions relating to health and wellbeing, saving money was the second most popular resolution made in 2018.

Here are some tips from Suzanne Lewsley, chief deposits officer at Ford Money, for making sure financial resolutions stick:

1. Keep a money diary: Keeping track of money coming in and all your outgoings can help you better identify areas where you can save. It's often easy to make small adjustments that have big impacts on your finances – for example, cutting down on buying lunch, or cycling to work instead of paying for transport or petrol.

Review your money diary weekly to track how close you are to meeting your resolution, and the changes you need to make to do so. Giving your finances this extra attention to detail can be an eye-opener and will often motivate you to make the changes necessary to meet your goal.

2. Find a 'money mate': We're often more likely to keep a promise when we make it public. This also applies to new year's resolutions. Try speaking to a friend. Find a 'money mate' and decide on a resolution together – by setting out a goal together and checking in with each other every month, you can motivate each other to stick it out.

3. Be realistic and don't aim too high: You risk feeling disheartened if you aim too high from the off, and this could increase the likelihood of you giving up, if you have to lower your goal or feel like you're just failing. Perhaps start by saving £50 a month and review your progress monthly – if you have more money to spare at the end of the month, then put it towards your goal and up your monthly target. £50 is better than zero and it will soon add up.

4. Shop around for products that suit your goals: Many savers are overwhelmed by the number of savings products available and find savings products too complex. There are many providers out there and a variety of different savings accounts offering different rates – but it is important to find the right one that suits your needs and goals.

For example, there are Isas, short-term and long-term savings products that might suit you better depending on your resolution and can make your savings work harder. Dedicate an evening to research and understanding different products so you make the right choice for you.

5. Go 50-50 with any extra money you receive: We all like to treat ourselves when we receive an unexpected burst of cash, whether that's a gift, a bonus at work or a pay rise. Try going against the instinct to splurge and splitting it 50-50 between spending and saving. For example, try putting half (or more) into your Isa or other type of savings account, and use the money left over to treat yourself.

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