New (financial) Year's Resolutions

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Welcome to a new financial year. Whether you’re saving for a house deposit, or simply want to better manage your finances, the time to set good financial habits is now.
Stuck in a savings rut? Want to own your own home but can’t get out of the spending cycle? Believe it or not, saving can be fun if you learn the rules.
1.       Make a budget
Making a budget is more than just writing up an account of your bills to deduct from your income. What you need to do is start recording everything you spend, so you can see exactly where you fall short and what you can cut out.
2.       Pay off your debt
This one is a no-brainer. Debt attracts interest. Interest means higher repayments. Higher repayments means less money for your savings account. Pay off your debt, starting with the debt that attracts the highest interest rate first, and make sure you pay more than the minimum otherwise that nasty debt will never disappear.
3.       Spend less than you make
Unfortunately the temptation towards instant gratification and the ease this temptation is fulfilled by using a handy piece of plastic means a lot of people often live beyond their means. However spending less than you make not only means less financial pressure, it also means you have the potential to save more by reducing interest repayments.
4.       Start saving
Setting a good saving’s habit can be difficult, especially if you subscribe to the whole ‘buy now pay later’ mentality. However, if you can manage to put aside 10% of your income into a dedicated savings account before paying any other bills, you’re actively working towards a better financial future.
5.       Plan for an emergency
Planning for the worst isn’t about being morbid; it’s about being realistic. Lost your job? Had an accident? Unplanned pregnancy? An emergency fund will help tide you over until you can get back on your feet. Plan to have a minimum of 3 months worth of expenses in your emergency fund to ensure you don’t have to dip into your savings or miss any repayments should something unplanned happen. 
6.       Get insured
Insurance goes hand in hand with setting up an emergency fund. While your emergency fund will help tide you over, if you have the right insurance for your health, life and income, you’ll find any misfortunes easier to deal with.
7.       Buy smart
Not only does buying smart involve buying what you can afford, when you can afford it, it’s also about how you pay for your purchases. Credit cards don’t have to be the tools of the devil if you know that you already have the funds set aside to pay the balance completely when the bill arrives.
Credit cards can, however, provide you with a range of benefits and rewards. They can also help you better manage your finances and protect your hard earned dollars when buying online.

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