Financial resolutions for 2020

New Years Resolutions inspiration money debt savings by Penny Golightly

The in-betweeny days after Christmas up until New Year are good for taking a moment to pause and reflect. How did 2019 go? What would you do differently next time? How do you want 2020 to turn out? It’s a time when millions of us start making all kinds of New Year’s Resolutions, including some for our personal finances, but some are more difficult to stick to than others.

For a resolution to be successful it needs to be:

  • Inspiring (meet an ambition or solve a problem)
  • Created with a goal or target in mind
  • Realistic and achievable

It’s also helpful if you can split your resolution into specific steps, and turn it into an action plan. Then you can tick off each step as you go along and track your progress too, which is great for keeping yourself motivated.

If you’re thinking about maybe making a personal finance resolution for the coming year, here are a few ideas to get you inspired. Most of them can be tailored to your own needs and circumstances to get just the right fit. See if there’s one or more that you like.

Idea 1: Start budgeting

A good budget is the bedrock of healthy money management, so if you don’t have some kind of a budget in place already then 2020 is a good time to get started. It’s up to you whether you decide to work on a monthly or weekly basis, but pick one and stick to it.

If you’ve budgeted in the past you can also:

  • restart this year, or;
  • re-draw your usual plans to take other new goals into account

Idea 2: Do a budgeting or spending challenge

You could also try a shorter challenge, such as a Tenner Week budgeting challenge where you live on £10 for seven days, or a ‘no new clothes for 3 months’ challenge or something similar. It can help free up cash for other things, or you can use it to correct a small amount of overspending.

If you’re interesting in doing a Tenner Week, I’ll be hosting one here in the last week of January for a budget boost before payday. The theme is going to be Tidy Up Your Finances, so join in if you want to save a few quid and get your money into shape.

If you’d prefer a spending challenge come back to this site on the 2nd of January for the start of a 7-day Thrifty Wellbeing Challenge for some serious self care on a budget. There’s going to be one new idea to try every day for a week, including at least one no-spend option and nothing costing over £10.

Idea 3: Keep a spending diary

Make a note of all your outgoings for at least a month to see where all your cash is flowing to, and maybe find a few areas in your spending where there’s room for improvement.

You can use:

  • old fashioned pen and paper
  • a wallchart
  • a spreadsheet on your phone or laptop
  • the spending app from your bank (if it offers one)
  • any secure app designed to monitor your spending

Idea 4: Cut some of your bills

Paying too much on those household bills? Check their small print, check your usage patterns, then look for a better deal. Search comparison sites and try haggling with your current provider too if you can.

For big results in a short time, try sorting out one oversized bill each week for a month and see how much you could save.

Consider any of the following:

  • mobile bill
  • broadband
  • gas
  • electricity
  • insurance (if up for renewal soon)
  • streaming services, entertainment etc

Idea 5: Tackle a debt

If you have any debts, make this the year you tackle them. It depends on how much money you can free up, but depending on your circumstances you could:

  • stop debts getting worse
  • switch to a lower interest or interest free credit card
  • make a realistic plan to pay off a small debt
  • make a realistic plan to pay off some of a larger debt
  • contact a debt charity for free specialist help and advice (try StepChange)

Idea 6: Start some savings

It’s good to have something set aside for emergencies, home improvements or holidays, even if it’s just a small amount. Check your budget, free up what you can and start saving. It could be for a few weeks or for the rest of 2020.

One of the simplest ways to save is by setting up a direct debit from your current account on payday, as soon as the money comes in. If you can’t manage that, try a sweeper app to save a few pence here and there (it all adds up), or sell some old unwanted belongings to get the money together faster.

Already have some savings? You could also try:

  • finding a better interest rate for current savings
  • saving up for something new
  • increasing the size of an existing emergency fund

Idea 7: Learn about investments

Are investments what’s missing from your financial picture? Why not use 2020 to learn about funds and other investments? Read a couple of books, get updates from good quality investment websites and blogs, and learn about the importance of spreading risk, tax and using ISAs, and avoiding scams. Some investment services let you set up a dummy portfolio for free so you can follow some pretend investments without risking any of your cash.

If you already have some investments you could:

  • check the status of your current investments
  • look into different types of investment
  • sign up for some investment newsletters
Always be aware that the value of investments can go down as well as up, and don’t invest money you urgently need and can’t afford to lose.


So these are seven different ideas for personal finance resolutions you could make in 2020 – or feel free to come up with one of your own. What will you be hoping to achieve for the New Year? Remember, it always goes better if you have a plan.

Happy New Year!


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