New Year is a time for fresh starts, getting around to doing things you have been putting off and making an effort to improve your lifestyle. We’ve all heard the old cliché “New Year, new me” but the beginning of a new year can be a really good opportunity to lay aside the excuses and start taking steps to make things a little better for yourself. Your New Years resolution could be to finally make the change and open a savings account.

It’s never too late to start saving, and 2018 should be the year you open a Shepherds Friendly Society savings plan. We have put together some of the best tips to make saving money as easy as possible for you in 2018.

Make a monthly budget, and really try and stick to it

Making a budget is one of the first steps to really gaining financial order in your home. It’s not an easy process, and you may have to do it in a few sittings. Once you have your income worked out, try and gather up all your expense information. Do this as thoroughly as you can, even if it’s horrible to look at and takes a long time.

Once you have all the information in front of you, the most important thing to first work out is if you are making as much money as you are spending. If you are not, you will need to work out exactly where you can cut down and if you can make any changes to your lifestyle. If you have money left over but can work out where you can be cutting down, you can then find out exactly how much you could be saving per month. Check out our household budget planner to help you.

If you want to start saving money in 2018, you should really try to commit to it. Set up a direct debit to take however much money you want out of your current account into your savings account. You won’t have to remember to make a payment, and you also won’t be tempted to skip a month.

It is also a good idea to set up your ISA with a separate provider from your current account provider. This way, you won’t have internet banking or an app that makes it easy to transfer money from one account into another, and you will be much less tempted to dip in and out. Before you know it you will have built up a solid chunk of savings!

Set your direct debit up for payday

Once you have decided to save, set your direct debit up to take out what you would like to save each month on your payday. This way, you won’t have to see the money in your account and plan what to spend it on!

You should also ask if your employers run a savings scheme, as then money will come straight out your wages, just like tax and national insurance, making it even easier to keep that savings commitment.

Leave the bank card at home

If you are prone to impulse buying, 2018 can be the year you take measures to combat this. Instead of running to the shop for milk and coming back with a receipt with £22 worth of items on it, only ever bring out how much you think you will need for that one particular shopping trip. This means leaving your bank card at home.

It may be daunting at first, especially if you happen to see something you feel you absolutely need at the moment, but it works out so much better in the long run. All the money you save on impulse purchases you can put straight into your savings account!

As part of this, you could also try and adopt the “30 day” rule. Waiting 30 days to make a purchase is always a good way of avoiding the temptation of instant gratification. If you see something you really like, wait 30 days before you purchase it, and see if a month later you did really want it as much as you thought you did.

There are lots of different ways to help yourself save money in 2018, but it’s also important that you really want to save. Think of how great it would be to have a savings fund for a rainy day, so you would not have to worry about your car randomly breaking down, or needing a root canal. Once your fund grows, you will also be able to be safe in the knowledge that if you were unlucky enough to lose your job, you would be able to look after yourself for a few months.

So, what’s stopping your from making this worthwhile change? Open a Shepherds Friendly Society savings plan today and look forward to a more financially steady future and a large weight off your mind.