Now that Christmas is over for another year, you probably feel a sense of relief as well as some unease at the sheer amount of money you spent! At least that’s it for another 12 months, right?
Well, yes and no. If Christmas routinely leaves you with a serious financial hangover then the first thing you need to do this year is to recover from it. Visit Creditfix for help if you’ve really got yourself in hot water, though, as you shouldn’t tackle serious debt alone.
If you’ve gone over budget by your usual amount, then just don’t plan any big spends until you know how you’ll pay for this last Yuletide – that includes holidays, a new wardrobe or a new pet. Here’s some ideas to make getting over your overspending less painful.
Have a dry January
Most of us plan to have an alcohol-free January, especially after the excesses of December have left us carrying a few extra pounds. You can save a few pounds by cutting down on or avoiding alcohol altogether until Feb 1. Look back over your bank statements from the year to see how much you routinely spend on nights out – not just the drinks themselves, but on cabs, new shoes and snacks on the way home… If you can put the average spend into savings or use it to pay down your credit card, you’ll be helping your finances and your liver.
Make sure you eat breakfast
This is another multi-tasking tip here. If you’ve got into the bad habit of skipping breakfast and then grabbing some overpriced, sugar-laden junk on your commute, then stop! Try some overnight oats, or just a couple of rounds of peanut butter on toast, if you don’t have time to rustle up a full English. Starting the day with a full stomach will prevent mid-morning blood sugar dips and making your own breakfast is cheaper.
Take unwanted gifts back to the retailer
If you have the receipt, then just grit your teeth and return unwanted gifts. It may be that the jumper is too small, in which case you can get the right size – and actually wear it. Alternatively, you might be able to pocket the cash or get some vouchers. If you haven’t got the receipt, then simply sell the item online.
Hit the January sales…
…with a sensible plan. You don’t just pick up gifts in the sales, you can bag cards, wrapping paper, ribbons and so on for next Christmas. There’ll also be some presents in the sales for next year, or for upcoming birthdays. Aim for items that won’t date in the next 12 months – fancy hot water bottles, ornaments – so that it’s not obvious you got them in the sale.
Put your contactless card in the freezer
This is an old trick to prevent impulse spending. If you want something, then you’ll have to wait for it to thaw out, by which time you may have cooled off (sorry…). Take out cash for the week ahead and do your best to have some left at the end.