It’s that time of year again where we hear all everyone’s New Year’s resolutions. Admittedly, most of them are completely short-term and mostly unrealistic, but they need not be. Check out this article from a few years back – it sets out the framework for thinking about your 2019 goals and I’m sure you’ll find it helpful.
My 2019 Personal Finance Goals
What I want to focus on in this article though is your 2019 goals specifically in relation to personal finance. I’m going to set out my three 2019 personal finance goals, and I want you to think carefully about yours too. I also share with you a neat trick to subscribe to Netflix for just £2 a month!
Goal #1: Save more, invest more
This is something I’ve historically been quite good at compared to most of my peers, but I want to improve. Let me tell how I’m switching up my approach for 2019.
Historically, I’ve waited for to save up a decent amount in my bank account before putting that money into my shares account and investing it. That’s mostly been because of the fact that when you buy shares, you usually pay a dealing fee of around £10. So it makes sense to wait until you have a bigger chunk of money as you pay the same dealing fee regardless of how much you invest. Waiting until I have more money to invest therefore brings down the relative % cost of the dealing fee.
What I’ve found now is that if I set up a direct debit into my shares account and set up a regular investment to take place every month (e.g. if I set up an action to buy shares in Vodafone on a particular date each month), that will cost me £1.50. With that in mind, it makes sense to set up a direct debit and a regular investment.
I’ll still do my previous thing of saving up money and bulk investing because the regular investments are limited mostly to FTSE100 companies whereas I like to explore outside. However, this allows me to do something I increasingly need to do in my life as I get busier and busier: automate systems and processes to manage certain aspects of my life, particularly my financial life.
If I can do this, it’ll mean I’m saving and investing more regularly and systematically, which should only be a good thing over a long period of time. This is a very achievable goal: all I need to do is figure out the monthly amount, set up the direct debit from my bank to my share account, and set up the regular investment within my share account.
Goal #2: get the best value deals for essentials and non-essentials
This is a trickier goal, but a really important one. Notice I’ve said “best value” and not “cheapest” in the heading above – there’s an important difference!
I’m talking here about the essential subscriptions we have: things like energy, car insurance, etc as well as the non-essentials: things like mobile phone contracts, Netflix etc.
You’d instinctively think that essentials are harder to get good deals on, but that need not be the case. For example, with car insurance, the minimum we should be doing is doing a comparison on Confused, GoCompare, Moneysupermarket etc. Interestingly though, what I’ve started to do in recent years is start taking quotes starting from a month in advance, and at different times of the day.
I’m not exactly sure why, but I get different prices on different days at different times using exactly the same details. Bizarre, isn’t it? Perhaps a reader with some industry knowledge can explain – please do get in touch!
When my renewal is due, I’m going to try as best as possible to try and get multiple quotes daily. Time might well forbid me doing this, but that’s the aim. If only there were a way to automate this (perhaps a business idea for someone here!).
Energy is another essential where it pays to shop around. I’ve actually come across a company who automatically does the legwork for you and switches you to the cheapest provider. Check them out (and do let us know if you’ve used them). My concern was being switched to some random company but the website tells me they only work with Ofgem-approved providers. I’m also reassured by this article that explains what happens if an energy supplier goes bust. Answer: you’ll still have energy. So it seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me and I’ll most likely sign up to Flipper.
With the non-essentials, there’s always things you can do. The first thing you can do is go without it! If that’s not feasible, negotiate the best deal with them or find alternatives. For example, instead of buying an expensive phone contract, ask yourself if you could buy a decent mid-range phone instead at a much more affordable price and getting yourself a SIM only deal to go with it. I recently got a deal with Three where it was £20 for unlimited everything (yes, including unlimited data), and I got a £65 cashback bonus through a work scheme. That’s a monthly cost of £14.50 for the SIM, which is great value.
I found a really neat trick with Netflix lately. It sounds complicated but it literally took me five minutes. All you do is sign up via Netflix Turkey (you’ll need a VPN to do this – I just used a free one). Because the currency rates are so favourable, you can probably halve your Netflix bill. I used to sign up to the £7.99 one. What I did was chose the equivalent of the £9.99 one (the one that allows you 4 screens simultaneously) and shared it with a family member. So the £9.99 effective cost from Lira to Pounds Sterling is something like £5 or £6, but then me and a family member split it. So I now pay something like £2-£3 a month for Netflix without anything changing whatsoever in terms of my service. You still get the usual UK shows as normal. Might as well make the most of it whilst the currency works in our favour!
There’s loads of good deals to be had if you just keep an eye out for them. For those of you in the UK (sorry international folks!), you should make a habit of visiting HotUKDeals – it’s a community-led website where great deals are posted. You will definitely find a few bargains here, but don’t get tempted into buying that random bike repair kit “just in case”!
Goal #3: start saving and investing for my children
I recently wrote an article here explaining that I’d been rather negligent in terms of saving for my young kids. That is set to change in 2019.
I’m going to do a similar thing to goal #1 but specifically with my kids in mind. That also means I’m adjusting my investing strategy because the kids benefit from a much longer timeframe. I can therefore build up slowly into various companies and get wider exposure through sharia-compliant funds.
What about you?
So that’s me. What about you? What are your 2019 personal finance goals? Catch us in the comments below.
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