Looking after your money after Christmas
With Christmas over for another year, we’re all feeling the pinch somewhat after a month of over indulging and lavishing our loved ones with gifts. Indeed, there’s a reason why they call them the ‘January Blues,’ and budgeting can be more difficult than ever in the first month of the year.
New Year’s Resolutions in particular can bring about some very ambitious and costly projects, for example, learning a new skill or re-decorating your home. However, you can still achieve these dreams without having to re-mortgage your property. Here are a few tips on looking after your money after Christmas.
Put your budgets onto pen and paper
If you’ve slightly over-indulged this year, it may be time to have a look at where you’re going wrong in 2015. Sit down and categorize all your outgoings accordingly – for individuals, this may be better to do so by splitting areas into travel, leisure, utilities etc., whereas for families it may be better to budget by person. You should be able to find a simple monthly budget template fairly easily by going online. A lot of them are free! This is by no means a way of singling out a particular person, but rather ensuring fairness across the board – for example, if one child has had a huge investment one month on a new Xbox, then the next month it could be time to focus on another child or mum and dad.
Budget those home improvements
Whether it’s a new kitchen re-fit or a complete bedroom overhaul, there’s no way of getting away from the cost of making home improvements. However, if you do a little bit of homework, for example, shopping for headboards online, you can keep an eye on some of the best discounts out there. More often than not, you will find a better deal online, particularly when it comes to furniture shopping. Keep an eye out for those ‘end of season sales’ in high street retailers – very often, the big discounts they promise are in actual fact figures which have been tweaked. You may find yourself better off shopping mid-season.
Spread your costs throughout the year
A lot of looking after your money can simply be timing. If you’re looking back at last year and thinking that all your spending came out in December, consider trying to spread the cost. You could try re-arranging your bills to come out on pay day, or start Christmas shopping early on, for example, in October, to spread the cost. Take what would traditionally be expensive in a certain month, such as holiday shopping, and re-distribute the cost to another. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by simply shuffling things around.