The New Year is the perfect time for renewed motivation in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s going running twice a week, stopping smoking or reducing your drinking, January is the month when we are full of good intentions and ready for a new challenge. 

The same applies to our financial lives. Many people start the year with a financial to-do list and goals that they want to achieve. But what are the most popular financial resolutions people are setting this year? Let’s take a look.

  1. Save more

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular financial resolution this year is to save more money. Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents to a recent Experian study said they wanted to put more money away every month. There are lots of different ways you can do this, from budgeting more effectively to cutting back on unnecessary spending and transferring your existing savings into a high-interest account. 

  1. Improve your credit score

Building a good credit score is one route to affordable and accessible credit. If you’re looking to borrow money, whether it’s a short term loan from a lender like Wonga or a mortgage from the bank, taking steps to improve your credit score will allow you to access the best possible rates. Find out more about the steps you can take to boost your credit score.   

  1. Create a personal budget

31 percent of the respondents to the Experian study said 2020 would be the year when they created a personal budget. Tracking your money and seeing where it goes every month can be a hugely valuable exercise. It can help you reduce your spending in certain areas and assign more of your income to debt repayments and savings.

  1. Pay off a credit card entirely

Are you stuck making the minimum payments on your credit card and unable to clear the balance? This could be the year when all that changes. If you have a credit card debt you’re struggling to clear, a balance transfer credit card, which offers an interest-free period of up to 24 months, could give you the breathing space you need to finally clear that credit card debt. 

  1. Pay your credit card balance in full every month

Have you ever thought about limiting your credit card spending to an amount you can afford to pay off in full every month? Repaying your full balance at the end of the month will help to improve your credit rating and reduce the amount of money you waste in interest payments and fees.

  1. Not open any more credit cards

A positive step that 20 percent of respondents said they wanted to take this year was to not sign up for any more credit cards. The average number of credit card accounts per South African consumer increased from 1.4 to 1.5 over the last year, with an average debt of R16,481. There’s no right number of credit cards, it all depends on how many you can manage responsibly. However, as a very simple rule, the fewer you have, the better!

What are your financial resolutions for the new year? Please share yours with our readers in the comments below.  

As much as you may love your home, you can’t afford for your own sanity to be in it 24/7.

That said what kinds of things do you like to do that involve getting outside of your home?

From trips across the country or even further to doing things not far from home, there are options for you to enjoy.

With this in mind, how can you go out and have fun and still save some money in the process?

Be on the Lookout for Deals

When it comes to saving money when you are away from home, keep these keys in mind:

1. Finding deals before you head out – One of your best ways to save money when out of home is finding deals ahead of time. So, you might be thinking about going to Disneyland, one of America’s greatest theme parks. If so, you can go on the Internet and search for discount Disneyland tickets. By securing those tickets ahead of time, you will often save and not have to worry about buying at a ticket window. No matter the business you want to work with in saving money, also know you may have other options. You might find tickets to an event or locale you want by getting them from an approved ticket reseller. No matter the choices you have, save money and make your experiences even more enjoyable.

2. Getting more social – If you use social media, you have taken an important step on the road to trying to save more. It is not uncommon for consumers to talk about their spending on sites such as Facebook and others. As a result, you could win when viewing or even taking part in such conversations. Whether you know the people chatting online or not, see what they have to say. Often, you can pick up some tips from others on how to go about saving money when away from home.

3. Knowing what kind of budget you have – It is also a good idea to know what kind of budget you may have when you plan to go out. This can be everything from a trip to a theme park or taking a vacation to a routine visit to your local store. By knowing what you can and can’t afford, you are less likely to run into financial predicaments. If money has been tight for you for a long time or in more recent times, have you done any budgeting along the way? By coming up with a budget, you are less likely to spend more money than you need to. As an example, grocery shopping can add up rather fast if one is not careful. That said have a list of what you absolutely need when you go to the store. Try your best to stick to that list. Also, avoid if you can going to the grocery store when on an empty stomach. Going when you are quite hungry can lead you to buying and of course spending more.

By trying your best to save dollars when outside the home, you can relax more once you do in fact get home.

How good of a job would you say you do when it comes to finding deals?

In the event you are not too good at this all-important task in life, is it time to change this up?

Not finding deals over the course of time can lead you to spend more money and not enjoy life as much as you should be.

So, how can you track down more deals moving forward?

Internet is Always Good Starting Point

In your efforts to find more deals and in fact keep more of your money, start by using the Internet to your advantage.

When you go online, you can oftentimes see where you can save money.

An example of this would be if a day trip or even a longer getaway is in the back of your mind.

If you are contemplating Disney tips, deals, and secrets, they are there for the taking.

A day or more at Disney can mean can fun for you and others without breaking the bank in the process.

Look for not only Disney but others selling tickets to one of the most famous theme parks out there.

With a visit to Disney, you get not only a lot of activities, but an iconic venue. That is a venue that millions have come to fall in love with over the years.

While on the Internet, it does not hurt to do some searching for deals on social media too.

Sites like Facebook are great for learning how others go about locating deals. Whether you know the folks or not talking about such money-saving efforts, chime in on the talk.

In using your online options, you move a step closer to saving money each day.

Sign up for Savings

You would be remiss if you did not sign up for savings’ opportunities whenever possible.

With that being the case, are you signed up for savings at your stores, airline carrier or hotel of choice and more?

Too many consumers fail to get their names on lists for such savings. As a result, they end up paying the full price when they could have saved even 10 percent or more. In the end, all the savings does in fact add up. As a result, do your best to get savings at each turn.

Some good places to sing up for savings can include when at:

· Local stores

· Airport, hotels and rental car agencies

· Street fairs

It is also a good idea to share such savings opportunities with outside family and friends.

Given you are not going to track down all the opportunities out there; turning to others you know helps. They can tip you off on when there are saving chances for you and vice-versa.

Finally, finding the affordable vacation, day trip or items at the store, can make life more fun.

If you struggle with money, knowing you have savings whenever possible takes a load off your mind.

In your quest to discover deals, make sure you leave no stone un-turned.

Many people do not know that they can actually save good money with their mobile device. Think of your smart phone as an investment, you put a in a lot of money into buying it and now it’s time to reap the dividends.

Apart from making calls, browsing, socializing and other numerous things you currently use your phone for, there are a number of ways you can cut costs and save some money with your mobile device, be it an android – phone, iPhone or a windows based phone.

Here are 7 tips on how to save some cash with your mobile phone

  • Use the budget planner on your mobile phone to plan your daily, weekly or monthly spend. It gives you an idea whether you are going above your income and helps you decide where to cut cost if necessary. Apps like this can help you track your expenses, reduce impulse buying and help you save some cash.

  • You can also download money saving apps like the that allow you to track your credit card spend and ensure you do-not run out of cash before the month ends or to blow over your monthly limit. This app allows you to spend and save on your mobile device. Other apps are available online that can also help you make financial transactions online with your mobile phone and save the cost of having to travel all the way to your bank.

  • Make sure you are on the right plan for your calls. Select the best service provider to get the best plan for your area. If you rarely use your phone to make calls or send texts, a pay as you go option may be cheaper for you. If on the other hand you make a lot of phone calls, then a monthly payment plan may be the better option. Be on the same plan as your friends and family as this could reduce the charges on your talk time.

  • Use your phone to compare prices of items you wish to purchase online so you can decide on the best places to shop to get good prices.

  • Download free games and apps on your mobile device only if you are certain there are no hidden charges. This may mean you have to exercise some control over who has access to your phone, so they do-not unwittingly accumulate charges for you.

  • Avoid calling numbers that place extra charges on your tariff with your mobile phone. It’s cheaper to use a landline to call numbers that begin with 084, 087 and 09

  • Use Wi-Fi whenever you can to browse or download apps on your mobile phone. Use as little of your mobile data no matter how unlimited the plan could cost more than you think as background apps on your mobile could mean that your data is getting exhausted sooner than it should. Ask for a downgrade from your network service provider if you are not using your freebies.