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This is a really useful guide

10 Useful steps for your New Year budget

1) Think before you spend.

Stick to a realistic budget that includes everything. (One of the best ways to save money is to have a proper budget, mine is usually worked out 3-4 months in advance with everything I have to pay and when and then I match that back to my bank statements to check it is all in order)

2) Keep a tally of what you spend.

It is very simple to set up a spreadsheet; enter all your purchases and you will soon see where you could cut back on impulse buys. (I have a mega spreadsheet and can tell you what I spent on what going back as far as 2001 – I set up a new one each year)

3) Avoid impulse buys.

Plan your birthday calendar; think ahead of who you wish to buy a gift for and when you find something suitable, buy it then rather than an overspend at the last minute. (This alone can save you a fortune)

4) Use cash for your small purchases.

Set aside a specific amount each month for those quick buys, saves interest on the credit card.

5) Find ways to make rather than buy.

Try making your own greeting cards for special occasions. (A friend of mine makes the most gorgeous cards and uses calligraphy for the writing, her cards are always stunning)

6) Generate extra money.

We all have a skill we can use to earn extra cash. ( I provide a service doing Debt Collection – I am very good on the phone) and my friend mentioned above paints silk scarves – very popular at Saturday markets)

7) Download free software such as skype.

Many people these days have computers – using skype to skype could save you a fortune on overseas calls. (I love skype can chat to my family for hours on end at no cost at all)

8) Save up for special treats.

Pick a coin value e.g. Β£1 and every time you get one in your change put it into a money box, you’ll be amazed how quickly they add up. (I did this to save for a campervan, in no time at all I had quite a substantial amount in my moneybox – yes I have a red campervan moneybox – soon the real thing)

9) Cut back on transport costs.

Make use of oyster cards or similar; walk if you can, wherever you can.

10) Put the money you save into an ISA and start saving for next Christmas or that special holiday. (also a great was to save, start off by saving 1% of your earnings and then increase it to 2% and so on till you’re saving 10% p.m. – you will be amazed how quickly it adds up)

Have a wonderful 2010

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