IT’S New Year, and I bet it’s not only your head hurting! Your wallet has probably taken a beating too. As you take the decorations down for another year, you’re probably dreading ‘Blue Monday’ and the arrival of the dreaded credit card statement in a few weeks.

The Northern Echo:

TOP TIPS: Financial adviser Warren Shute

My message to you is – don’t panic.You can make some quick wins to help not just for January, but for the rest of the New Year. And this year, more so than most with the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s important for you to plan your money and budget for the year ahead.

To avoid the January financial blues I am going to ask you to do two key things – get financially organised using what I refer to as my Bank Account System and prepare a Money Plan for 2019. My BAS is a system that automates your money as much as possible, taking emotion out of everyday financial decisions and giving you control over your yearly spending. Here’s how it works:

1. Set up two accounts: one for bills and another for personal spending.

2. Arrange all your regular payments, standing orders and direct debits to come out of your bills account – which is also where you keep your incoming money. Go through each payment and ask yourself three things: do I need this, do I want this, can I get it cheaper elsewhere? Act accordingly; you might be surprised at how much you can save.

3. Put some WAM into your life. WAM is your weekly Walkabout Money, and it pays for all your variable spending and fun: beer, coffee, haircuts and so on. Work out how much you want (or have) to spend in a month after your outgoings, divide it by four, and you’ll get your weekly WAM.

4. Set up a weekly payment for this amount from your bills account to your WAM account. Make it happen on a Wednesday, because once it’s spent, you don’t have too long to wait after the weekend, which is when most of us spend our cash.

5. Your WAM is your weekly allowance; it’s finite. Don't dip into your bills account for more, or use credit cards if it runs out, it’s not too long to wait for the next Wednesday to come around!

Secondly, I want you to devise a ‘Money Plan for 2019’ and stick to it. Budgets don’t work, they are like diets! I need you to get financially well organised, and I share my 5-Step proven plan with you in my new book The Money Plan. I will show you how this can be done to enable you to control your money in 2019 rather than letting your money and debt control you. (The Money Plan by Warren Shute – Amazon £11.79). Alternatively there are free planning and budgeting tools at

A lot of people think financial planning is just another one of those things that rich people can get and those less well off can’t – a way to reduce taxes, or compare pensions. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A hybrid of coaching and financial advice, financial planning is all about helping individuals live the life they want to live, regardless of the numbers involved. We’re all human beings, run by emotions, and the financial planning process is equally relevant whether you earn £10,000 a year or £1,000,000.

Financial planning is critical to living the lives we want to live; yet most of us receive little or no education on how to properly manage our money. We have to change that. Household debt in the UK is approaching levels last seen before the financial crisis, and we all still remember what happened next.


Sell unwanted Christmas presents: Go through your house and gather together all of the presents that don’t want. Make sure they are in good order, with any packaging. Search online to see what you may expect to sell them for. Two good sights are: and Facebook Market.

Do you really need that gym membership?: Think before you sign lengthy contracts. Read the small print. Are you really going to go? Are there other ways of keeping fit that are cheaper?

Set five specific money goals for 2019: Name five goals that are feasible, and write them down. Writing down and clarifying your goals will motivate you to take the steps to achieve them. Be specific. Avoid vague resolutions like 'pay off debt' or 'spend less money.'

Lunch at work - save £880 a year: If you spend an average of £4 a day on a bought lunch, you would be spending approximately £880 a year. Resolution – make lunch at home

Stop one bad habit: coffee on the way to work – Save £605 a year*: If you buy a coffee on the way to work each day, you could be lspending £605 a year. Resolution – take your own coffee to work in a flask.

Claim the Married Couples Allowance: Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,190 of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner - if you are a non-tax payer and they are a basic rate taxpayer. This can save you £238 a year in tax.

Save More, Spend Less: Set a weekly allowance and stick to it. To avoid overspending on your everyday expenses, pay yourself a weekly allowance for all your variable expenses, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dry January – Save £787 a year: Cutting out booze for January is becoming normal, and can save a few quid. But cutting it out for a full year can save far more. Figures from MacMillan Cancer Support show that the average Briton spends £787 a year on alcoholic drinks, with 1.3 million spending more than £2,650 a year.

Shop smart and get paid for what you buy – WIN back £’s

Keep a slush fund: Something — be it a car repair, an emergency root canal, or a job layoff — always comes up to throw you off your monthly budget. To keep these incidents from running you into debt, you need to have an emergency stash in a savings account. I like to use Premium Bonds because it keeps the money out of easy access, but can be called on for an emergency. If you have debt, save £1,000; if you’re debt free save three-12 months of your expenditure.

Debt Free: Set yourself a goal to repay your credit cards in 2019. Switch them to interest free and make regular overpayments starting with the smallest balance and follow my snowball debt repayment system - you can repay your debt in 2019.

Cook more or learn to cook. According to the Office of National Statistics, UK households spent more than £45 a week on restaurants eating at restaurants, fast food joints and the like.

Work Pension: Make sure you join your work pension in 2019. It’s likely your employer will pay in.

  • The Money Plan is available on Amazon for £11.79.
  • Based on 20 days a month and 11 months a year