Gardeners rely on seasonal tips to perfect their lawns and borders throughout the year – but what advice is on offer for consumers to ensure their finances bloom in 2016?
The BBC News website asked the independent Money Advice Service to deliver a calendar of month-by-month tips to plant some ideas for those trying to keep their personal finances in order.
As the Christmas trees and decorations come down, it is time to tackle the money hangover.
Work out how much you have spent on your overdraft, credit card and loans over the festive period. Use a budget planner or this January toolkit to work out how much you could afford to start paying back each month.
If you are struggling with your finances, it is important to seek free debt advice as soon as possible. For example, missing three utility bill payments in the last three months could be a sign that help is needed.
Consider cooking and eating in instead of going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. They are plenty of options for fun and free activities on a date night.
Keep an eye out for offers and vouchers online so you can make sure you are getting a good deal.
Give your finances a spring clean by shopping around for the best deal on domestic energy. It may be that you can get a better offer elsewhere.
Review your subscriptions, such as magazines and TV bundles, and see if there are any that you no longer want.
See if you can cut back on any non-essentials, for a quick cash injection.
Having some funds set aside can help to pay for big purchases, or give you peace of mind in case any unexpected costs arise.
So, work out how much you could save each month. Don’t aim too high – just saving a little each month can make all the difference.
Shop around for the best savings account. It is easy to switch, and you might get a better deal from a different bank.
If you are hoping to go on holiday this summer – whether in the UK or abroad – then May is about the time to consider how much this is going to cost.
Use a budget planner to see how much you could be setting aside each week or month to pay for this.
When it comes to booking, hunt around for deals. Don’t book the first flights you find, do your research and shop around.
Halfway through the year means it is time to start planning for Christmas.
Think about how much you spent on Christmas last year and work out how much you plan to spend this year.
Avoid financial worry by beginning to set aside a little each month to make sure you can comfortably pay for each present and party.
Research what activities are going on in your area over the summer. Is there anything fun and cheap or, even better, free?
Instead of buying refreshing smoothies and juices while out and about, consider making your own at home and taking them with you to save a few pennies.
Invite people round to yours for a drink and nibbles, instead of going to the pub.
It is tempting to spend more money in the summer months, with the warmer weather and longer days.
Review how much you have spent over the summer so far to see whether you are spending more or less than you had budgeted for.
If you have been thrifty and spent less than you had anticipated, make sure to pop the extra funds you have got into savings.
This month always shows a peak in new car sales, as the second round of new number plates are released. Do you own a car? How much does it cost you to run?
If you travel by train, think about how you buy your tickets – do you get daily, weekly, monthly or annual tickets? Which option is the best value, and is it cheaper if you buy them in advance or online?
If you are a smoker, consider taking part in Stoptober. Cutting back on cigarettes can save you a surprising amount of money.
If you are not a smoker, think about whether you have any regular spends or naughty habits that you could cut back on.
If you are organising a Secret Santa in the office for Christmas, set a low price limit, such as 2 or 5, so you don’t have to fork out for something special for someone you do not really know.
If your plan to set money aside for Christmas has not quite gone to plan, there are ways to find some quick extra cash (see March).
Although the year is not quite finished, now is a good time to start planning for 2017.
If you are keen to ditch those debts once and for all, make sure one of your new year’s resolutions is to seek some advice.
Think about securing your financial future, possibly through building up a savings pot or taking out an insurance product, such as income protection or critical illness cover.