Tackling those financial resolutions

We know resolutions are easy to make but difficult to keep right throughout the year. Did you know 7.3 million* Brits are expected to break their financial new year’s resolutions in 2017? Noddle did some digging immediately after Christmas and found that consumers are entering 2017 with more positive intentions to money than physical health – 70% Ϯ want to detox their finances, compared to over just 55% who will start a diet. However, the majority of consumers will fall off the wagon in less than a month! ¹

As part of our survey, we also found that while 19% of consumers are currently worrying daily about their physical health compared, 25% are being kept awake at night by overspend on presents, feeding the five thousand, partying and those very tempting sales.

Here’s what our numbers say:

  • The biggest worriers
    25-34 year olds are leading the charge on their New Year detox; they are the age group worrying most frequently about their waistlines (25%) and their bank balances (36%) all at once.
  • It’s a balancing act
    As many focus their actions around their physical, rather than their financial figures, 7% admitted they have no idea what the balance of their bank accounts is and 57% can only estimate their balance.
  • A lot of talk no action
    For the 40% of consumers forking out on gym memberships, classes and healthier food, 57% plan to spend an extra £51 to £100 on health and fitness this month rather than putting something away for a rainy day.

Separately, Google says

Looking at the most searched terms on Google, finance is indeed on people’s minds this New Year, with a 26% increase in people searching for things related to ‘saving money’ in January compared to December.²

Whilst money worries dominate, consumers are still more likely to invest in physical health than financial wellbeing. Could this be because sorting your finances out and keeping them in check is a lot more difficult than getting yourself to the gym after work? We can’t say, but leading behavioural economist Professor Ivo Vlaev, has some tips for how to keep on track of your financial resolutions this year depending on the challenge you have:

Caving into temptation (40% of the British public):

  • 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 mate at the weekend when you enjoy your cappuccino more and your friend’s company.

I don’t have enough time to track my finances (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

I forgot (16% of the British public)

  • 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.

Just like you might have fitness goals for an impending holiday this year, figure out your financial goals and take small steps to keep on track. Do a financial weigh in if it helps to check how you’ve progressed, be it with savings, clearing debt or organising monthly bills.

 

__________

Notes
* ONS, mid-2015, 14% broke a financial New Year’s resolution last year which is 7,399,304 (14% of the UK population aged 16 yrs+ is 52,852,169,)

Ϯ Data is taken from a Censuswide UK representative sample of 2,000 respondents, run between 26 Dec 2016 and 3 January 2017.

¹Research from Bupa survey based on interviews with 2,014 UK adults online between 20 and 22 November 2015.

² Google Trends data: UK searches of ‘saving money’ from January 2012 – 2017. Data analysed on 05.01.17