The New Year is traditionally a time when we pledge to improve ourselves, normally by enhancing our careers, health or social lives.
But what about our finances? There are plenty of small steps that you can take to ensure you have more money in your pocket throughout 2014.
Here are ten financial resolutions to help improve your bank balance this year.
1. Save more
Most of us are aware of the importance of saving money for the future, but actually doing so often comes low in our list of financial priorities.
In fact, a recent survey by Lloyds Bank indicated that less than half of the population has enough put aside to handle an unexpected household emergency.
If you are keen to start putting a chunk of your income away, why not start the year by opening one of our Best rate savings accounts?
2. Become a savvy shopper
The January sales are always full of tempting bargains, but there are plenty of ways to get impressive discounts on the high street all year round.
Consumers can save a fair sum of money by being aware of the best ways to find discounted products, so make 2014 the year of savvy shopping.
3. Eliminate credit card debt
A recent Money Advice Service poll suggested that one in three of us will be paying for Christmas using a credit card, so eliminating debt is likely to be a key resolution for many people in the New Year.
Our tips on how to manage debt could not only help you pay off that festive debt as soon as possible, it may also help you remain in the black throughout 2014.
4. Start saving for retirement
Now January has arrived, we are all officially one year closer to retirement.
That’s a heartwarming thought for many, but it could also prove somewhat alarming for those who are yet to begin saving for life after work.
The impending rise in the state retirement age may inspire a lot of people to start contributing to a private pension this year. Meanwhile, thousands of businesses are due to introduce auto-enrolment schemes this year, making it easier than ever for employees to save into a company pension. These could potentially be more suitable than a private pension for certain people.
Could 2014 be the year that you begin planning for retirement?
5. Switch energy provider
All of the ‘Big Six’ energy providers increased their rates again over the winter. If you haven’t switched to a cheaper provider recently, you could definitely benefit from doing so in the New Year.
Which? Switch can help you make the change in provider. Many people will use a comparison site to assist in the switching process.
Read our guide on how to make the most of comparison websites and you should be able to make a big saving on your energy bills.
6. Buy life insurance
Life insurance is often a product which people put off buying. Nobody wants to think about death, so it’s perhaps no surprise that a lot of individuals tell themselves they won’t need life insurance for a few years yet.
However, it should be remembered that premiums tend to be cheaper the earlier you buy them, especially if you follow our guide to cutting the cost of life insurance.
It’s comforting to know that our dependents will be free from financial woes in the event of our death, so make sure to put life insurance at the top of your New Year’s shopping list.
7. Move up the property ladder
Property prices skyrocketed in many areas of the UK in 2013 and have been tipped to continue doing so this year.
That means there is no better time than now to get your foot on the property ladder or upgrade to a bigger family home.
Our team of mortgage advisors can provide great insight to ensure you get the best deal on a new property.
Those who complete their purchase soon could find they have already made a substantial profit on their investment by New Year’s Day 2015.
8. Find the best bank account
Did you know that you could potentially save up to £600 a year just switching your current account? In spite of this, many people have never changed banks.
A lot of current accounts boast introductory credit interest rates which expire after a year or two, so even if you opened your current bank account at the start of last year it could well be time to switch again.
Our list of Britain’s best bank accounts could help you make this decision.
9. File your tax return on time
Roughly 850,000 people were fined for filing their self-assessment tax return late last year. No doubt, many more rushed through it at the last minute.
Why not make 2014 the year where you complete your tax return with plenty of time to spare? Put a date in your calendar for this task right now and stick to it.
Whilst you’re at it, perhaps you could benefit from reading our list of 30 ways to save tax.
10. Plan a more efficient budget
Efficient budgeting is one of the key ways to meet all of your financial goals, which is why so many people pledge to organise their spending better in the New Year.
Unfortunately, these plans tend to go out of the window as soon as the first major purchase or expense of the year crops up.
Take a look at our guide on planning an effective budget and make 2014 the year you remain in control of your finances.