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Three financial resolutions

Three financial resolutionsTrying to start looking after your finances better? These three resolutions will help to keep you on track.

Track what you spend

You can start taking control of your money without spending a penny less, so there's no excuse. Start making a note of how much you spend, and what you spend it on. You can do this with a pen and paper and add it up at the end of the week, or you can use smartphone apps like Coinkeeper or Toshl.

You might be surprised by where your money's going, and when it comes to your finances, knowledge is power. You'll be able to see where you can cut back and set yourself budgets you know you can stick to. Even just being more aware of what you're spending can be enough to make you spend less.

And if making a note whenever you get your wallet out sounds like too much hassle - that might be a sign you're spending too much.

Check your account regularly

There's another vital weapon in the information war over your wallet: bank statments. If you don't know how much you have, it's easy to spend too much. Try to find a convenient way to keep a close eye on your account balance. That could mean:

  • getting a receipt every time you withdraw cash
  • setting yourself a reminder to check your balance online
  • using a smartphone app from your bank so you can check your balance online
  • setting up weekly text alerts with your bank

The last one of these makes it a resolution you can't help but keep, since once you've set it up it takes no effort to keep it going.

Cut up your credit cards

If you've been relying on credit cards and not paying off the full balance, you're throwing money away. Worse still, you can put yourself in a downward spiral, since the more money you're using to pay off credit card bills the less money you have to keep you from needing your credit card again.

Resolving to stop using credit cards can motivate you to spend less than you have coming in - which is the only way to keep your finances healthy. And because credit cards can be so expensive, once you succeed you'll find the rest of your resolutions get easier.

If you've been struggling to live without credit cards, clearing your balance can be a great goal to set for your other financial resolutions: not only is it a great feeling when you get there, you'll suddenly find yourself with more money in your pocket once you're not paying card bills every month.