MILLIONS of Scots are worried about their financial future and see New Year as the time to do something about it. But many will not stick to their resolutions, throwing away money that could make a significant difference.

According to Aldermore Bank, rising inflation, low interest rates and subdued wage growth are causing problems for 45 per cent of Scottish adults, with 37 per cent saying they cannot afford to save and 29 per cent convinced their current financial situation is not sustainable.

The picture is similar across the rest of the UK. According to insurer Swinton, anxiety about debt, managing household bills and saving for retirement has risen significantly since 2014.

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The firm’s marketing director Anne Kirk said: “Our research found that three in ten Brits lose sleep over this several times a week.”

It is no surprise, then, that according to TSB 58 per cent of people want to manage their money better in 2018. Yet the bank said that by the end of March, almost half will have given up on any changes they made.

To have the best chance of sticking to your resolutions, keep them simple – and make a start right away. Before returning to work after New Year, set aside some time to go through the past 12 months of bank statements to discover exactly where your money has gone.

Be ruthless about cancelling payments for under-used memberships and other subscriptions.

Add up non-essential purchases and impulse buys you later regretted to show how much cash could be freed up by a more disciplined approach.

Scrutinise what you pay for essentials such as gas and electricity. The Department for Energy and Climate Change calculates the average household could slice £200 off their bill by switching suppliers.

If you have not changed yours in the past year, note your consumption from a recent bill or online statement and visit a comparison site to see how much you could save. Making the switch should be straightforward.

If you have a mortgage and are not tied in by penalty clauses, shop around or set up an appointment with an independent broker to find out if you could cut costs here too.

And do not forget to look at your bank account itself. If you pay a monthly fee, chances are it is not good value. If you frequently go into the red, you may be overpaying for your overdraft, and if you tend to stay in credit, you could be missing out on rewards for this.

According to the Competition and Markets Authority, switching to an account better suited to your needs could save £70 a year. Use a comparison site to weigh up the options. Under the switching guarantee, the new provider will move all payments across within seven days.

Work out a budget including all monthly outgoings based on these changes – if you are unsure how to do it, use an app such as The Money Charity’s Budget Builder. Create a weekly account check diary reminder to see how well you are sticking to your limits. The few minutes this takes could help you stay on track.

If you have debts, review the interest rates and see how much you could save by moving them to a balance transfer card or low-cost personal loan. Use this money to clear the total more quickly.

Make a diary note to shop around for cheaper household and motor insurance well before the renewal dates.

If you insure your mobile phone, boiler or appliances, think seriously about cancelling. Divert premiums into a savings account and if the cash is not needed for repairs or replacements, use it for something else.

Having made these changes, put aside at least part of the money released so you do not need to borrow for major purchases again.

Ewan Edwards, Aldermore’s head of savings, said: “Everyone’s situation is different, so it is important for people to adopt a savings habit that is right for them. However, the most important message is the need to save regularly, no matter how big or small the amount.

“We also encourage consumers to shop around for the best rates – particularly following the recent Bank of England base rate increase – to make sure their savings work as hard as they do.”

To further improve your long-term outlook, do what you can to boost your pension.

Maike Currie, an investment director at Fidelity International, said: “If you are not auto-enrolled into a pension with your employer, do it now. You will benefit from your company’s contribution and tax relief, which is essentially free money, and, depending on your employers’ contribution, could almost double anything you put in.”