This guest post comes from Sara from Debt Camel. Her site offers...
We ask…how do you survive the longest month of the year?
January can feel like the longest month of the year: Christmas is a distant memory, it’s cold, and money is short.
If you measure months from one payday to the next then it’s likely that January really is the longest month, as many people (including us) get paid a few days early in December.
We’ve asked our colleagues across the charity for their best money tips to help you get through January without getting into debt.
This is what they do to keep the overdraft at bay, and from having too much of the month left for your money.
Be wise in the aisles
Stock up on expensive items like toiletries and cleaning products in December before you’ve had chance to fritter your money on anything else. Then you’re shopping bills will be less in January. Charlotte – Debt Advisor
Having a Sunday roast might not sound like a money-saving tip, but you can use the leftovers for sandwiches over the next week and save money there. Ben – Project Manager
Cut back on food shopping! Don’t starve yourself, but use up all those tins and packets in the cupboard. All you need to buy from the supermarket is fresh meat, fruit and veg. Ally – Advice co-ordinator
Save left overs and freeze them when possible so then you’ve got quick and easy meals towards the end of the month when the cupboards are bare. Bulk out meals by using more cheap ingredients, like onions and potatoes, rather than meat (which is usually more expensive). Andy – Systems Analyst
Having fun on a budget
Invite friends and family over for dinner instead expensive nights in the pub or meals out. Annie – Receptionist
Stay in and enjoy Christmas presents! Work your way through those DVDs and chocolates you got for Christmas. It’s cheaper than a trip to the cinema and you won’t have someone kicking the back of your chair all the way through the film! Greg – Partnerships Development Officer
Sign up to one of the new online video streaming services. They’ll usually have a free trial and have loads of good things to watch. A much cheaper way to keep you entertained during the long January nights. Just make sure you set yourself a reminder to cancel the service before the free trial is up! Ally – Advice Co-ordinator
If you like boozy nights out on the town, then a cheaper alternative would be to gather up all the left over spirits and bottles of cava from the festive period and get together and play some board games. Pictionary is a lot more challenging after you have had a few! Abi – Helpline Team Leader
Plan your cash
Make a meal plan. It might be a bit boring, but if you plan out what you’re going to have it’ll save you loads on your shopping budget and reduce waste. Andy – Systems Analyst
It you get up five minutes earlier in the morning you’ll have time to make yourself a sandwich to take to work, meaning you’ve one less thing to spend money on every day. Annie – Receptionist
Set up a savings account in January and start saving for next Christmas now. That way you’ll not be scrambling around to find money for presents at the end of the year. Joanne M – Debt Advisor
Check your bank account online once a day to make sure nothing’s gone amiss. While this won’t save money, it’ll stop you getting stung by nasty bank charges! Joanne S – Debt Advisor
Walk to work instead of taking the bus. This might not work for everyone but if you’re near enough to be able to walk to work you’ll feel the benefits to your health as well as your wallet. Katy – Debt Advisor (who’s practicing what she preaches and is walking into the office)
One man’s rubbish…
Even though you might see your stuff as junk there’s probably someone out there that’ll have a use for it. Our colleague Ben (Project Manager) has recently sold some dumbells and a turntable which generated some extra cash, though it has meant he’s had to forget about his dream of being a superstar DJ with huge muscles!
While our colleagues have given us some really useful and practical tips, we also got a few that might not be so practical…
Lisa (Debt Advisor) would like to hibernate for January, to help with her waistline and finances. So if you see Lisa nailing up her door and stocking up on nuts you’ll know what’s happening.
Sophie (IVA Administrator) is pretending to herself that she’s on a diet, to keep food costs down. Meanwhile Andy is keeping a constant vigil over his fridge; anything going out of date will feature in that night’s tea. I’m sure this will lead to some interesting combinations: beetroot and yogurt surprise anyone?