New Year; new beginnings. January's a great time to draw a line in the sand and resolve to do things differently from now on. We asked* over 2,000 people what they'd promised themselves...
From losing weight and giving up smoking to learning a new skill, we got a lot of 'personal improvement' responses.
But people seemed even more keen to work on their finances, with 'Stick to a budget' by far the biggest financial resolution. 55% said this was a priority for them as 2013 gets underway - and over half of them said they see it as a high priority.
Youngsters are particularly likely (63% of 18-34 year-olds) to focus on this; far more than people in the 55+ group (44%). Looking around the nation, we also found some real differences between attitudes in different regions: for example, fully two thirds (65%) of people in the North East and in Northern Ireland told us budgeting was a priority this year.
A quick run-down of the financial resolutions people are making:
- 55% Stick to a budget
- 41% Shop around for cheaper tariffs (electricity, gas, mobile phones, etc.)
- 31% Pay off non-mortgage debts (e.g. student loans)
- 30% Open / invest more into a savings account or other non-pension investment product
- 24% Write my will
- 15% Start a pension / invest more in my pension scheme
- 15% Take out an insurance product of some kind
- 15% Pay off my mortgage
- 12% Switch my bank / current account
- 10% Switch my credit card provider
"I was delighted to see budgeting right at the top of the list," commented Ian Williams of thinkmoney.
"Anyone who has a thinkmoney Personal Account will know how much importance we attach to this: our two-account system is designed to get the essential costs paid and leave people in no doubt about how much they can safely spend on other things.
"It's not just about convenience. Missing bills can lead to extra charges. It can damage someone's credit rating. It can land them in serious financial problems. In the most serious cases, it can even lead to repossession or eviction.
"So it's great to see so many people resolving to pay more attention to their finances this year. Budgeting might feel like a challenge at first, but the benefits should become obvious pretty quickly - and that can make sticking to it a lot easier."
* Research was undertaken by Opinium, who carried out 2,014 online interviews on our behalf between 14th and 17th December.