It’s New Year’s resolution time! Up and down the country, well intentioned people are making ambitious lists of ridiculous promises about getting fit, working harder and achieving more. They’ll probably all be forgotten by March, but so what if they are? After all, we’re only cheating ourselves, right?

Well, yes – and that’s really the whole point. It’s easy to make promises when your goals are vague and the results are hard to judge. If you want to make a real resolution, set yourself a goal that’s got some hard numbers attached – preferably with a pound sign in front of them.

Here are a few serious RIFT resolutions from the UK’s top tax refund experts:

Take a savings challenge

Get realistic about the money you can safely sock away each month, then make a plan and stick to it. For a useful rule of thumb, try out the 50/30/20 system. Every month, divide up your income according to where it’s going like this:

  • 50% goes toward the costs you really can’t avoid, like food and rent or mortgage payments.
  • 30% gets set aside for the “fun” stuff. This is where your nights out, random treats and streaming services come from.
  • 20% is your savings. Don’t ignore this; it’s a critical part of the system.

Another option for a new year is the 1p savings challenge. Set aside just 1p on the 1st of January, then each day after that save a penny more than you did before (2p on the 2nd, 3p on the 3rd and so on). On the last day of the year, you’ll be putting aside just £3.65 – but you’ll be stuffing it into a jar that now contains an impressive £667.95!

Let the plastic cool off for a while

It’s a sad fact that your debts will pretty much always mount up faster than your savings – and credit cards are some of the most expensive debts you can run up. Part of the trouble is that they’re designed to make it incredibly easy to spend money we don’t have. If you stick to cash for your non-essential spending, you’ll be painting a much clearer picture for yourself of where your money’s going. Yes, obviously, cash isn’t as convenient – but that’s really the point. We often spend too much because it’s being made too easy for us.

If you’re in the hole, stop digging

You can’t borrow your way out of debt, but you can stop making the hole you’re in deeper. If you see a chance to transfer an existing debt to a card with a 0% offer, for instance, take it seriously. You won’t be bringing down what you owe, but at least you’ll stop making things worse for yourself.

While we’re talking about interest on debts, stop thinking of it as just part of the “cost of living”. If you find yourself with an unexpected windfall or other extra cash, use it to pay down your expensive debts. It’s actually usually better to do this than to save it. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself, of course. Even just setting aside a reasonable chunk of any windfall to bring your debts down will pay off in the long run. Feel free to treat yourself with the rest.

Don’t leave your cash in the taxman’s hands

If you only stick to one resolution in 2022, make sure it’s this one: claim your tax refund from HMRC. This isn’t one of those “unexpected windfall” situations we talked about before. This is your money, and if you don’t claim it back each year it’ll disappear into the taxman’s trousers. Depending on the work you do and what you spend to do it, you could be looking at thousands.

That goes for your mates, too. The more we spread the word about tax refunds, the more people get the pay-outs they’re entitled to. With our Refer a Friend system, you can rack up cash rewards starting at £50 just for being a good mate. Find out more here.

The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that you’re only accountable to yourself. RIFT won’t be looking over your shoulder – but when it comes to protecting your money we’ll always watch your back.

Get in touch and see if we can claim back a tax refund for you today.