To get a jump on managing your money in 2013, take a variety of measures that include trimming your debts and expenses, sticking to a monthly budget and saving up for your retirement.
10 top tips to fix your finances in the year ahead
1 Pay off your credit cards and debts
Before you start to look at saving you need to pay off your credit card and loans that are charging high interest rates. Get yourself out of negative equity position and enjoy being debt-free.
2 Set up a cash fund
You should set up an emergency cash fund, in an instant access bank account, to tide you over in the event of losing your job or unexpected expenses. You should aim to keep three to six months of your cost of living expenses in this account.
3 Budget, budget, budget
Draw up a budget that includes all your income and all your necessary expenditure. This will allow you to see how much surplus you should have each month which you can save.
4 Automate your savings
Set up a monthly standing order from the account you receive your salary/earnings into and transfer an amount at the start at each month into a savings account. If you do not automate this transfer it is more tempting to spend the money.
5 Start saving for retirement
No matter what age you are you should contribute something to your "retirement pot". The earlier you start saving for retirement, the less you will have to worry about the shortfall as you approach retirement. Ideally, you should be contributing half your age as a percentage of your earnings into a retirement fund.
Make sure you take advantages of the free offers available out there. Use The Entertainer vouchers, get your Gracia card to receive 20 per cent discount at many high street retailers, and Time Out often has two-for-one offers. Make the most of the offers to cut down your expenses.
7 Cut down on your entertainment expenses
Look for ways to save money, instead of going out why not invite people over to your house and all contribute to the cost of food and drink. Fill your weekend with free activities like going to the beach, riding your bike round the Marina or camping in the desert. You will be surprised at the dirhams you save.
8 Review your budget and stick to it
After you have done your budget it is important to review it and see if you are keeping to it and identify areas where you are over spending. A way to keep an eye on what you are spending is to keep all your receipts for a month or two and see where your money is going.
9 Remember to still treat yourself once in a while
It is always best to strike a balance between investing money and enjoying it. If all you do is save and never enjoy your hard work, you will never really appreciate what you have in life.
10 Visit a financial adviser
A financial adviser will be able to review your whole financial circumstance and identify your areas of needs. We are able to reach the whole of the markets, so we can recommend the most appropriate product to suit your needs. At my company, there is no charge for an initial meeting and no obligation to proceed with our suggestions.
Natalie Storey is a financial consultant at Acuma Wealth Management in Dubai