Moneywise 2020: our New Year's money resolutions

23 December 2019

From big goals to simple savers, the Moneywise team has a breadth of ideas for their money in 2020.

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What are yours? Let us know in the comments and we’ll publish the best.

Brean Horne, reporter & multimedia content manager: save money on food

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I love food so it’s unsurprising to see that most of my money go towards meals out and the general grocery shop when I look at my bank statement at the end of the month.

To help turbo-charge my savings this year I’m going to make more of an effort to plan my meals and be stricter with my food budget.

Doing little things like bringing in lunch to work and making homemade snacks could help me cut my monthly spending by hundreds of pounds over a year.

It’s also a great way to help me cut my food waste as well and get the most out of my weekly shop.

Mark Stammers, art director: 55 is the magic number

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2020 is a milestone birthday for me. Sadly, I’m not turning 18 or even 21 again. In June I will hit the great age of 55 which means I will have some decisions to make about my pension.

Under the current pension rules, I can choose to take a 25% lump sum of my pension tax-free once I’m 55. Will I? I doubt it, as I don’t plan to start drawing on my pension for at least another decade.

But it’s certainly worth looking at all my available pension options. In fact, my pension provider should send me a so-called “wake-up” pack laying out the current state of my retirement savings.

Rather than what I might choose to take out of my pension, I actually hope to significantly boost what I’m putting in. At the end of 2020 I will be very close to paying off my mortgage.

Whilst it might be tempting to splash out on expensive holidays or home improvements, putting a large part of that now available cash into my pension over the next 10 years will boost my retirement pot from comfortable to very comfortable.

Stephen Little, Staff writer: using an app to budget better

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The New Year always provides a good opportunity to take control of your finances.

I always set myself lots of financial goals each year but sometimes find myself slipping once I get towards the end of February.

Financial apps are a great way of keeping tabs on your spending and keeping to financial goals, so I will definitely downloading one to my mobile.

I want to save a bit more money in 2020, so I’m going to be looking at making some cutbacks wherever I can.

Coffee will definitely have to go and I will also start making packed lunches to help save those pennies.

Minimum automatic pension contributions rose from 5% to 8% in April. But according to Aviva, you have to save at least 12.5% of your salary each month for a comfortable retirement, so I’m thinking of putting more into my workplace pension.

Hannah Nemeth, chief sub editor: make better records

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I’m planning on being more organised about keeping receipts – it’s so annoying when you want to return items and you have to end up with a credit note. I’ve started to do this with big appliances, like the washing machine and oven. After writing about decluttering recently, I’ve picked up a tip about stapling the receipts to the appliance manuals, which are kept in a box file.

I also plan to put all the renewal dates for services that might auto-renew in my diary – I got caught out in August when our AA membership automatically renewed and I know we could have got a better deal by shopping around or saying that we planned to quit.

Last but not least, I plan to put some cash into an ISA – however little.

Rachel Rickard Straus, editor: help friends make better decisions

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I plan to help friends and family more with their bills. When you have access to the internet, it’s easy to shop around and get the best deals. The main obstacle is usually inertia.

When you’re less tech-savvy it can be much tougher. This year I plan to help people I know who don’t know how to navigate price comparison sites or how to haggle with customer service departments to get better deals. I’ll help with energy bills, phone and insurance payments and wherever else they might be overpaying.

If you’ve got all your bills in order, why don’t you join me and have a think about who you know around you who might need a bit of extra help to do the same. 

Edmund Greaves, deputy editor: buy a house

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My new year’s money resolution is to start ambitiously saving for my first home. I’ve worked hard in the final years of my 20s to come to a sense of financial security which I feel I’ve got now for the first time as a working adult. I’ve got a small emergency fund and am able to save a few hundred quid a month. So, it’s time to get really ambitious with my money and actually go for a big one.

I’m going to open a Lifetime ISA, and get my girlfriend to do the same. If we each save £330 per month we can max out our annual allowance of £4,000.

With the 25% government bonus, this means in a couple years we’ll have £20,000 between us – plenty enough for a 5% mortgage deposit. I was actually surprised by what we could afford in a couple years on those metrics as 95% mortgages with slightly longer (30-35 year) terms mean more is in our potential price range.

Plus, with some of the new schemes the new government is saying its going to bring in (my girlfriend is a nurse and could benefit from this 30% discount scheme), our options are surprisingly rosy – as long as we diligently save.

First published on 31 December 2019

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