Post-Christmas money-saving tips for the new year
Consumed a lot of booze over the Christmas period? A debt hangover will always prove worse than an alcoholic haze. With the latter, you can just sit back, take it easy, and sip at non-alcoholic beverages all day. A debt hangover is a trickier condition to solve.
January is rarely an easy month from a money point of view. Christmas is usually the most expensive time of year (unless you embarked on a round-the-world cruise in August), while pay-day sometimes comes earlier in December, meaning we have to go for longer on the same pay packet.
If you’ve looked at your bank balance in the first few days of January and are worried by your depleted funds, there is always a solution. You may not be in the red, but if there’s a distinct pinkish tinge, read on to find out what steps you can take during January to ensure a healthy bank balance by the end of the month.
1) Start making sandwiches
You might have got in the habit of popping out to buy a sandwich, salad or stack of sushi during your lunch break. If you do this every day of the working week or even on somedays of the working week, this all adds up. Perhaps you grab a coffee from the local café every morning, even though there’s a coffee machine in the office? We’re all guilty of this, but in January, why not make a point of making your own sandwiches and putting your own lunch box together each day? This will save you more than you think.
2) Have a clear out
Instead of popping out for that Sunday lunch at the local pub, why not go through all your belongings and see what you have that you don’t use/need anymore. Anything in good condition can be sold on eBay.
Not only will the clear out give you something to do to help take your mind off money worries, but you’ll be able to make a little extra money through selling some items you don’t need online.
3) Look to the back of your kitchen cupboards
Don’t just rush out and buy more food. First, check the back of your freezer, fridge and kitchen cupboards. You might be surprised what you find. You can make very decent meals from leftovers (and Christmas is the season of tasty leftovers), and you can make delicious meals from half-used packets at the back of your cupboards. Why not browse online for recipes which contain the ingredients you find in your kitchen? Doing this could save you a trip to the supermarket that week.
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4) Choose the right time to visit the supermarket
This may involve a little digging on your part, but it’s worthwhile finding out when your local supermarket reduces the prices of goods. For some stores, bargains appear after 4pm. For others it can be later in the evening or on a Sunday. When you do head round to the supermarket, try to steer clear of ready-meals. These are more expensive than simply buying the basic ingredients and cooking something from scratch.
5) Cancel any unwanted subscriptions
Never really make full use of that gym membership or membership to your local pool? Perhaps a monthly magazine subscription could be cancelled? If you subscribe to something which you are in two minds about, cancelling it could save you money in January and will save you money going forward.
For many people, January is all about the January sales and the new year resolutions we rarely end up sticking to. Avoiding the January sales might be a good idea. Remember: it’s not wise to buy something at a discounted price purely because there is money off. Only buy something at a reduced price which you would buy at full price.
Keep a keen eye on your bank balance throughout the month, and embrace good offers/bargains where available. Hopefully you can then move into February solvent and happy.