January is a brand new start to the year, however after all that Christmas spending, the bank balance may be looking low. Here is all you need to know about how your wallet can survive January.
Everyone knows the feeling when, after the rush of buying gifts, planning Christmas Eve dinner, the crazy New Year’s party, and the early pay in December, your bank account doesn’t look the same as it did before.
It is hardly surprising that the festive atmosphere and glamorous store displays lure you into spending more than you hoped to.
However, there are ways you can survive January without restricting your money too much.
The following tips will show you how to be smart about spending during Christmas, explain why January is the “poorest” month of the year, and what to do to prevent this very common situation that the chances are, everyone is going through.
Think whether buying expensive gifts is necessary
There is a belief that we express love in deeds, and Christmas presents are an example of this. People often forget that Christmas should not be about money, but more about time spent with loved ones.
When buying gifts, it is best to consider your financial situation and make sure you stay within your limits.
Each family has different restrictions, but it is a good idea to plan of how much you want to allocate to each person.
A similar rule applies to buying food and decorations for the festive dinner. Being the host in the family for this special meal can create pressure.
There are concerns about whether there is enough food for everyone.
The answer is yes.
There is always enough food and leftovers for the next day.
When you are out shopping, it is good to think realistically and not buy a ton of groceries that will simply be thrown away after a week.
By making a precise list, and strictly sticking to it will help.
A situation that cannot be avoided is getting paid a week earlier than usual. Even though it is not up to us, there is still a choice to put that money aside for some time.
Buy less and buy better
While most people are struggling this month. Whether you are a student, a young professional, or retired, larger families certainly have the most expenses.
Paul Stanley, a 43-year-old father of three little girls, shared what tips he and his wife have for not ending up with an empty wallet in January.
“It’s all in planning and only buying necessary things.
“Having a big family, being organised is important in saving money after Christmas.
“Now we are only buying clothes that we need and are going to last longer.
“It is my recurring New Year’s resolution to buy less and buy better.”
Plan your expenses with an expert or with helpful tools
Who knows money better than a financial adviser on how to save money?
Amita Rana from Riverfall Financial Ltd shared her ways of what to do with planning your finances at the start of a New Year, so it doesn’t feel so scary.
Amita advised: “It is all about budgeting things much earlier in December.
“Knowing that January will be a difficult month, I would advise to revaluate savings.
“A good idea would be to pay majority of debts if possible before going into New Year.’’
If you feel that you are not organised enough to cope with this challenge, it is worth trying some helpful tools.
There are apps that can help keeping up with your finances.
An example is the Plum app, which links your account to your bank account and sets aside money automatically for you.
It is also possible to compare bills, switch suppliers, and even invest.
Or, if you feel like apps are not for you and would prefer something more traditional there are many paper-based budget planners that will allow you to keep your expenses and savings in a form that you like.
Some of the best ones can be found on etsy.com
Avoid the situation in a first place
The best solution, of course, is to avoid the stress of an empty wallet.
As mentioned before, it is not a bad idea to stay within your limits and to not spend a huge amount of money on gifts.
However, if you want to surprise someone and devote a little more than normal finances would allow, it is possible.
In case like that, it’s best to sacrifice something else.
For example, cook more than eat in restaurants or watch a movie at home instead of going to the cinema.
You also must keep in mind that there are a lot of sales during winter months that can help you get the things you want, as well as buying from vintage shops where it’s cheaper, and more sustainable at the same time.
Take part in workshops
There is always people who can provide extra help for people with their finances.
An East Midlands organisation named Deaf-initely Women who aims to help deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing women in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to sort out their financial situations is providing workshops to achieve this goal.
These take place in the Strutts Community Centre, Derby Road in Belper on February 2 and 4.
For more information, you can find out more here.
Finally, don’t stress
In the end, all these tips come down to the motivation and willingness to contain your inside buying monster.
If you plan earlier, and sacrifice some of the expenses, you will discover that January doesn’t have to limit your everyday routines and pleasures.
It’s all about the little things and being organised. It is this that will help you start the New Year with savings and no post-Christmas trauma.