January – Time To Get Financially Fit

boxing gloves

It’s natural that in January thoughts turn to the year ahead and people get ready to draw a line under the problems they have experienced in the last 12 months. The new year often signals a fresh start for many people; the opportunity to think about what changes they want to happen and to make resolutions… most of which are usually long forgotten by the end of the month!

However, whether you decide to hit the gym to fight the flab, or find a new job where you are appreciated more, the one resolution you should try and stick to is to sort your finances out.

The festive period can take as much of a toll on your bank balance as your waistline, no matter how carefully you monitor your spending. Extra food, gifts for loved ones and more nights out all add up to additional expense. And if you were struggling to pay your monthly commitments before December rolled around, the chances are that even the tiniest bit more pressure could cause your carefully balanced budget to implode.

January is the perfect time to sit down and take a long, hard look at your finances and assess realistically the state of your bank balance. Work out exactly how much you have coming in and add up every single expense you have, from the cost of your lunch at work, right the way up to the most costliest outgoing, such as your mortgage or rent. Often it’s not until you add up every small cost that you have that you realise there simply isn’t enough money coming in to cover it all.

Making small changes

Once you know what the shortfall is, you can start to take action to redress the balance. You might find that making some small changes is all it takes to free up enough cash to help things feel a little less stretched. Changing your energy supplier to take advantage of a great new deal, switching supermarkets or even just ditching the car for small journeys that can be made by foot or public transport could all help. Even something as simple as setting a meal plan and only buying the food you need or taking a packed lunch to work can help you save some money every month.

What to do if you’re worried about debt

If your money problems need a little more attention than a reshuffle of finances and spending habits, don’t panic – you’re not alone.

Sadly debt is something households throughout the country are dealing with and there is a lot of help out there so that you can get back on track, put your debts behind you and get financially fit in 2013!

Professional help

One company that has been helping people deal with debt problems since 1996 is Baines and Ernst. They help people with all levels of debt find the best way to deal with their circumstances and get out of debt.

Many people think Bankruptcy is their only option when it comes to dealing with debt, but there are other less-severe options that could help you clear debts at a rate you can afford, such as Debt Management Plans and IVAs. These options mean you can consolidate your debts into one, more manageable monthly repayment. And you don’t need to take out a loan to do it!

The main thing to remember is that if you need a little help to re-organise your finances, there are professionals that can help you along the way.

Just like dieting, it can be all too easy to put off that diet until another day, but by facing your debt problems today, you could be financially fighting fit in no-time.

10 thoughts on “January – Time To Get Financially Fit”

  1. Debt consolidation companies have always seemed like voodoo to me. I’m always amazed by how much they can reduce payments with companies that won’t give your or me the time of day.

  2. I imagine they simply say to the 5 or 20 companies you owe money to: look this person is considering bankruptcy. Best case scenario you’ll get 5% of what he/she owes. How about we settle for 30%?
    When you call a company to negotiate your debt, they don’t have the whole picture.

    1. @Pauline @Edward @FirstMillion: Good one Pauline – this is one of the way they negotiate. The other one is that, using the same or similar argument, these companies can agree freeze of interest and longer repayment times. They also creat a very tight budget for the people using them and enforce adherence – which is usually not a bad thing.

  3. Sticking to goals for the new year is challenging, but I do think the proper way to do it is to make small changes. It’s hard to dramatically overhaul your life instantly. Little changes over time add up and it helps you adjust to the lifestyle changes slowly.

    1. @Jason: I think the changes can be more substantial but they have to be sequential; in other words people need to change one thing at the time. And like in psycho therapy access can be through behaviour or mentality but ultimately should affect both.

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