Whether you're dreaming of saving for a special holiday or looking to say goodbye to your overdraft in 2017, you're not alone. New data released by Noddle shows that 70% of UK consumers have entered 2017 with the positive intention of detoxing their finances - a considerable number more (55%) than those who vowed to start a diet this year.
However, as we move into February, it is estimated that 7.3 million Brits may break their 2017 financial promises. Furthermore, if they are going to fall off the wagon, they'll be doing it right about now as most resolutions statistically last around a month.
Weeks of monetary over-indulgence may be the cause for many resolutions made - a quarter (25%) of respondents are being kept awake at night by overspend on presents, feeding the five thousand, partying and those very tempting sales. Seemingly, consumers are even avoiding taking a peek at their bank balances for fear of what they may discover with 64% admitting they are in the dark about how much cash they have left.
December was clearly a time for celebration and fun, however, as we're now a month into the New Year it's a good opportunity to get those finances into shape so that things don't snowball and have a negative impact on the rest of the year. If consumers dedicated as much time to their financial health as they do to their other resolutions such as dieting, we'd be a much more financially fit nation.
Fortunately, there may be light at the end of the tunnel as consumers are clearly taking some initial steps towards eradicating money worries. Google Trends data shows a 26% peak around search terms related to 'saving money' in January compared to December, confirming that finance is indeed very high up on people's agendas.
For those who are worried about breaking a financial resolution this month but haven't made the first move, here are some tips from behavioural economist Ivo Vlaev to keep you on track on 2017:
Liable to cave into temptation? (40% of the British public do this):
• Try to identify expensive spending habits, usually indulged in a specific situation e.g. do you buy a take away coffee every morning to make work feel less of a chore?
• Once identified, try substituting those habits with less expensive, but as rewarding, alternatives. So, instead of grabbing a coffee on the go every day, maybe save it for a proper sit down chat with a friend at the weekend when you enjoy your cappuccino more and your friend's company.
Don't have enough time to track your finances? (Like 21% of the British public):
• Plan ahead: Develop a 3-month saving goal with monthly targets. It's always good to see what you are saving for; so use a picture and statement in order to create an emotional bond to the goal - a beautiful beach or your dream home. Stick it on your fridge, your desk at work or pop it in your wallet so you see it everyday.
Constantly 'forgetting' to check your bank balance? (16% of the British public admit doing this):
• Keep track of your finances: Associate checking your online account with something you enjoy doing in a specific situation. For example, during your lunch break or before checking Facebook. By doing this you should develop an automatic habit of checking your accounts regularly, which will feel rewarding rather than a chore.
• A key bit of financial housekeeping is to check your credit rating every few months. This is important as your rating can affect everything from securing a rental agreement on a flat to insurance and mobile phone contracts. Noddle offers a free service www.noddle.co.uk