Regular saving takes place in resolutions

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Managing their finances better and getting into the habit of making savings rank among the top five New Year’s resolutions being made by people in the UK this year, a survey for Skipton Building Society has found.

The research, featuring the views of 2,000 UK adults, showed that while more traditional pledges like losing weight and exercising more still feature highly, financial resolutions are also popular.

Forty per cent of people are planning to make at least one such commitment for the coming year, compared to 31 per cent pledging to lose weight and 31 per cent also wanting to exercise more.

According to the survey, 27 per cent said saving money would be their New Year’s resolution, compared to 25 per cent who selected “spending time with their family”, 23 per cent who chose “having fun” and 21 per cent went for “going on holidays”.

The findings come as Skipton launches a new savings account called the My New Year’s Resolution Saver.

The main group of would-be savers are 18 to-34-year-olds, at 40 per cent compared to 35 per cent of people aged 35 to 54 and 28 per cent aged 55-plus.

The average amount people say they expect to save in 2012 is £2,000, while 67 per cent of them plan to achieve this by making sacrifices or changing their behaviour, with 30 per cent aiming to spend less on things like clothes and jewellery; 24 per cent planning to cut down on eating out and 16 per cent planning to start taking a packed lunch to work.

The survey also suggested that, of those planning to improve their finances in 2012, almost a third hope to do so by saving money, 17 per cent by generally managing their finances better, 13 per cent by doing their best to clear unsecured debts and four per cent by either paying off or paying down their mortgage.

Tracy Fletcher, head of corporate communications for Skipton Building Society, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people are planning to get a firm grip on their finances in 2012.

“The challenging economic climate continues to bite, and to make it harder for people to both make ends meet and save. However, there’s no doubt that developing the disciplines of careful budgeting, cutting down on impulse spending and saving – rather than borrowing – for the things we want, makes every situation easier to cope with.”

When it comes to sticking to those resolutions, 66 per cent of people are confident that they can deliver on their good intentions and 14 per cent are very confident that they will do so. Eighteen to 34-year-olds are the most confident, with 72 per cent of them believing they can see their pledges through.

Twenty six per cent said that having a specific goal in mind is likely to give them the best chance of success, while 15 per cent voted for changing their behaviour to avoid temptation, 12 per cent went for making the same resolution as a friend or family member for mutual support and 10 per cent said they would incentivise themselves for success, with rewards such as a weekend away for achieving a specific goal.

Of those who said they were planning to save, 30 per cent said their goal for achieving this was a holiday, followed by a rainy day at 24 per cent, major home improvements at 10 per cent, a deposit for a house or flat at 10 per cent and their children’s or grandchildren’s futures at nine per cent.

In terms of how long they predict keeping to their resolutions, 60 per cent of people said they expect to stick to their plans for a year or less with more than a fifth expecting to bail out by the end of January. On average, they expect to stick to their plans for four months, and the average date by which most people are likely to give up on their resolutions will be May 6.

Skipton Building Society said its My New Year’s Resolution Saver is designed to encourage success, by providing a clear goal. Launched on December 29, it offers an interest rate of 2.50 per cent p.a. AER (2.25 per cent branch and Skipton Direct) to encourage and reward people for saving towards their New Year’s aspirations. Other accounts in the My Savings range include ‘My Retirement Saver’ and ‘My Bills Saver’.

Ms Fletcher added: “As a mutual, at Skipton we believe in doing everything possible to encourage people to manage their finances responsibly and get into the savings habit. And there’s no better time to focus on getting those priorities right, which is why we’ve launched our My New Year’s Resolution Saver to help them on their way.”

suzan.uzel@ypn.co.uk