COLUMN: Little steps to get your finances in order will make a big difference long-term

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So what have you been like at keeping New Year resolutions?

Have you cut down on alcohol, quit smoking or joined the gym? writes Jillian Thomas.

Or are you like the majority of us who fail even before January is out?

Did you set any money resolutions to get yourself in shape financially? Why not try some of these:

First one is easy! Take my coffee cup challenge. Don’t buy that expensive coffee on the way to work or that sandwich at lunchtime. It’s amazing how much you can save money by making your own lunch or just getting a kettle in the office!

Now you can start budgeting. The secret to financial security isn’t making lots of money, but sensibly managing what you have. A budget is the best way to start doing this, ensuring you know where your money is going and sticking to the plan.

Manage your debt. You might not be able to get out of debt quickly, but you can make steps to get started. It can take time, but when you do manage to clear your debts completely, it’s a great feeling.

Then you can start to save regularly. It might be a small amount, but every penny counts. You can set up an emergency fund so that when the worst happens (the car needs repairs, the boiler packs in) you have a fund to dip in to.

And once you get across all of these you can start investing. This can make a real difference to your future and your old age. It’s worth getting good independent financial advice to make sure you make the right investments for your personal circumstances.

No individual investment advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article and liability will be accepted in respect of any action you may take as a result of reading this article. If you are unsure you are urged to take independent investment advice.

• Jillian Thomas is a financial planner and a financial planner and the managing director of Future Life Wealth Management, based in Renishaw. She is also a past president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.