05 January 2016

Annual money milestones at a glance

With the whole of 2016 stretching out in front of us, it’s the perfect time to have a think about your finances over the next 12 months. What do you need to save for? When will the most expensive times of the year be? When are the best times to make big purchases?

The earlier you think about these things, the more likely you are to grab a bargain, or be able to save the money you need.

Our year in money guide takes you through the biggest financial milestones of the year – month by month.

January

Summer may seem like a long way off, but now is actually one of the best times to bag a bargain break, especially if you’re restricted to travelling in the school holidays. According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) January and February are traditionally when travel companies put out their best deals, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds. Plus you’ll have 7 or 8 months to save up your spending money.

February

If you pay your council tax over 10 months rather than 12 then you won’t have any payments to make in February or March, so why not direct the cash into your savings instead?

March

March is your last chance to make the most of your annual ISA allowance before the end of the financial year, which for the 2015/16 tax year is £15,240, so you may want to consider topping up your ISA with any spare cash you have.

April

Spring is officially here, along with the new financial year, so why not use April to give your finances a bit of a spring clean? Use comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best deals on your utilities, broadband and insurance and check if there are any other ways you can lower your outgoings – for example, paying by direct debit or switching to paperless billing.

May

With two bank holidays this month why not put a bit of cash aside for summer treats? Check out Visit Britain to plan free or cheap days out.

June

Now summer is on the way you may want to buy a new BBQ or improve the garden.

July

The kids may have just broken up for summer, but it’s worth starting to plan for the return to school as early as possible. The best deals on uniforms and other school essentials often start as soon as the holidays do and will get snapped up quickly. Even if you want to wait until September to make any purchases, putting a bit of cash aside each week can make sure you’re not stung after an expensive summer.

August

If you’re looking for a new car, August is a good time to start shopping as many dealers will be slashing prices ahead of the new number plates launch in September.

September

With colder weather just around the corner, September is a great month for doing bits and pieces around the house in preparation for winter. Check your heating is in tip top condition, your loft is adequately insulated and that your drains aren’t blocked.

October

Peak house-buying season tends to be in the spring to early summer months – April, May and June – but some experts have suggested that buying in October can help you get more for your money as sellers are motivated to sell-up and move out before Christmas.

November

It’s worth starting at least some of your Christmas shopping in November, as big sale days like Black Friday mean you could save significant sums. In 2016, Black Friday will fall on November 25.

December

If you want to be super organised, it’s worth starting to save for the next Christmas when you get your December pay cheque. Christmas spending is estimated at around £615 per family, so if you save for the whole year, you only need to save £52 a month. It might be worth opening a separate account especially for Christmas so you aren’t tempted to dip into it.

Starting to save for the year ahead?

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