You can make a difference today.

The New Year is always a great time to make positive change – especially when it comes to your finances. If times are tight, or you just don’t feel that you’re in control where money is concerned, 2018 could be the year that you change all that. If you want to make a difference immediately there are 3 simple ways you can improve your finances right now.

  1. Make budgeting a priority

Budgeting isn’t just about being “good with money,” anyone can do it. If you were to sit down and make a budget for the first time today it would give you the opportunity to understand your finances, where your money goes and where you could make savings. That kind of insight can have a huge impact on the state of your finances. Total up all your income and then expenses. Divide expenses from the last month into essentials and extras. Then, with this newly acquired knowledge, set spending and saving targets for the next day/week/month. If you’ve never really been good with money because you’ve struggled to get perspective on your finances, starting to budget is the moment the clouds will begin to clear.

  1. Set financial goals and earn more cash to meet them

Many of us simply live from payday to payday without looking any further ahead. With that kind of approach it’s very easy to feel like you never make much progress when it comes to your finances. And it’s easy to end up with a bad credit score – that then puts you in the position of needing to find loans for people with bad credit or relying on parents taking out guarantor loans to help make ends meet. Setting financial goals instantly moves your vision out beyond “this month” and will enable you to start structuring your life the way you want it to be. It will change the way you behave with money now because every decision will have implications for that future goal. With new goals will come the motivation to earn more to meet them. Now might well be the time to ask for that pay rise or promotion, to set new terms for late payment of your invoices, or to find additional work in the gig economy. The possibilities for financial improvement are endless once you open your eyes to them.

  1. Look to the future

Saving for retirement is the one element of personal finance that many people don’t get right. Whether it’s the fact that it feels so far away, or that it’s just not a “sexy” goal like buying a house or a car, many of us leave it too late. You can change your entire financial future by starting to look to the future today, whether that’s increasing occupational pension contributions or starting a savings account. The biggest obstacle to saving for retirement is often our own mindset – we just don’t think about it early enough. So, spend an hour today working out what you want retirement to look like for you and how you’re going to pay for it. Embracing that reality could refocus your entire attitude to money and result in a drastic shift that produces a significant improvement in your financial future because of this newfound focus.