Christmas is a time for overindulgence, there’s no doubt about that. We eat more, we drink more, and above all we spend more. The problem is, a lot of us end up spending money that we don’t actually have and therefore end up in debt come January. Did you know that as many as one in three Britons admit that they’ll struggle with day to day spending come January because of overspending at Christmas?
With that in mind, it might be too late to tell you how you should spend your money carefully at Christmas. With less than a week to go, the damage is usually done – but all hope is not lost. Enjoy your Christmas, then we’ve got some tips on how you can live more frugally and boost your finances back up this new year.
Keep an Eye on Your Spending
If you’ve overspent this festive season, and have borrowed a fair amount of cash from a Friendly Lender, then chances are you’ll need to cut back in order to pay it off. What better way to know how to cut back, than by tracking your spending?
In order to effectively pay off your debts, you’ll need to track how much you’re spending on a day to day basis. It doesn’t mean you have to go into hiding for the foreseeable, but it does very simply mean keeping an eye on how much you’ve got coming in, and what you’re spending it on.
Say for example, you have some old direct debits you haven’t assessed in a while. It could be that’s a gym membership you no longer use, or a streaming service you’re lucky if you watch one film a month on. This is empty spending, and it’s money being taken out of your account every month that could be being used on necessities like household bills, and paying off debts.
In order to save your money, you have to understand it, and by understand it, we very simply mean know where it’s going. Know your incomings and outgoings monthly, and figure out your disposable income from there. It might mean tightening the purse strings a little, even just in January and February, but it’s well worth it to work on your finances in the long term.
It’s likely that over Christmas, you’ll have at the very least, doubled your spending on food. This will be a mix between buying luxurious items that don’t make it onto the weekly shop, hosting over the festive period, and of course going out to eat.
January can seem like a bit of a dismal month, and it can be ever so tempting to throw caution to the wind, and go out to eat regardless of finances. Our best advice, would be to stop going out to eat, and start using the food you have in the house.
One of the best ways of spending a sensible amount of money on the food shop and always knowing what you’re going to eat, is by planning your meals ahead. Making meals in bulk like Chili Con Carne, Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagne is always a good shout, because if you’ve got too much left you can freeze it for another day. It’s all about being resourceful.
By planning your meals in advance, you’ll know exactly how much you need to buy when the food shop comes around, and will therefore eliminate accidental overspending.
Look for Fun, Free ways to Socialize
Finally, remember that you don’t have to spend a load of money in order to socialize.
Pack up a picnic and take a drive to your favorite spot with the kids, or wrap up warm and go for a long beach walk with the dogs. These activities are for the most part free, and are without doubt an enjoyable way to spend a day.
If you don’t fancy venturing out into the bleak January weather, then why not have a film night at home? People spend so much on going to the cinema, when really you could make a big bowl of something good to eat, put on your favorite film, and cozy up on the sofa.
Use saving as an opportunity to really enjoy and appreciate your home, and the company of your loved ones. It’s a slightly different lifestyle to one you may have lead over the festive season, but one that can be every bit as enjoyable.