Christmas can be a very expensive time of year – this isn’t news. However every year, around this time, we still find ourselves shocked and amazed as to where all of our money has disappeared to!
In the lead up to the ‘big day’, the house needs to be decorated, Christmas parties are being pencilled in left right and centre (which usually means treating ourselves to new outfits), Christmas lunches with different groups of colleagues and friends means that eating out becomes the norm in December, and of course there’s presents to buy for family, friends and the person you’ve got for secret Santa. All of this, and you still need to buy the turkey and trimmings for Christmas day! So it’s no surprise really that our money seems to vanish at the speed of light in December.
So what can we do that’ll keep us financially afloat until January’s payday comes around, so that we’re not distressingly shaking our head and exclaiming “Where’s all my money gone?!” throughout the first month of the New Year.
We know that this gets thrown around all the time, but having a budget can really help you keep on track of your spending, and it’s a good habit to get into at the start of the year. Jot down all the things you typically spend money on in the month (household bills, your phone, food shopping, meals out, new clothes etc.), set yourself a maximum spend limit for the different categories, and look to see if you could reduce your spending in any of the areas. It’s sometimes surprising once it’s all written down, how much we actually spend on the different things!
Bring back the packed lunch
It’s always so tempting to go out to grab something for lunch, rather than having to think ahead, or worse having to prepare something whilst you’re rushing around getting ready in the morning. However the cost of lunches quickly add up. Instead, with a little bit of forward thinking, prepare a lunch the night before, or better yet cook extra portions of your dinner and bring in the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Sell your unwanted belongings
It’s always so easy to hoard things. With Christmas bringing new things into the house, now is a good time for a bit of a ‘de-junk’. Lots of things that you no longer use could also make you some extra money for the month, as well as reducing any unnecessary clutter.
Keep your eyes peeled for deals and discount codes
The shops start their sales almost as soon as Christmas day is done. This means that deals and discount codes can usually be discovered for most purchases in January, so it’s always worth looking up whether a deal exists on the things you’re looking to buy before you part with your money. Also, now’s the time to reap the benefits of all the loyalty points you’ve probably accumulated with your Christmas shopping. Just be careful when sales shopping though that you’re not tempted by too many impulse buys!
Make staying in the new going out
The Christmas period usually involves lots of nights out and social occasions, so change things up in January and make staying in the new going out. Take it in turns amongst friends to host dinner or socials at your homes. This is a much cheaper way to socialise, and in the cold evenings often a lot cosier too.