With the expense of Christmas out of the way, January can be a daunting prospect when your bank account is looking a little empty. Even those of us with the strictest festive budget can find themselves going over and spending money they don’t really have, leaving things looking a little lean after the New Year. The Money Advice Service has asked me to put together a list of tips for getting through January, to help you make the pennies go a little further. Here are ours:
1. Leftovers don’t have to be unpalatable!
I know the thought of leftovers can be unappealing, but they really can be tasty. Several of my lovely blogging friends have some great suggestions of what to do with leftovers, such as Otilia from Romanian Mum who makes these gorgeous pasties with her leftover mince, Mari from Mari’s World who makes this Turkey and Bacon Pie, Carolin from Mummy Alarm who makes this with her leftover Brussels Sprouts and Helen at The Crazy Kitchen’s delicious chicken and chorizo risotto.
2. Cooking in bulk can work out a lot cheaper
I often make a huge batch of lamb stew, which costs around £20 to make, but will actually yield about 10-15 portions, which means it can be as little as £1.30-ish per porton! There’s also a veggie curry in the Jamie Oliver 30-Minute Meals book which works out really cheap, can be made in huge portions and freezes really well.
3. Don’t be fooled by the sales
Whilst it is possible to net some great bargains in the January sales, try not to be sucked in by false bargains. The vast majority of stuff that’s ‘on sale’ is junk that the store couldn’t sell across the rest of the year. If you didn’t NEED it when it was full price, you probably still don’t need it now!
4. Don’t be a January Joiner!
There’s this pressure on everyone to get in shape in the New Year, and while it’s great to want to improve your health, the VAST majorty of gym memberships and fitness equipment go forgotten by February. Given the fact that it’s estimated that up to £50 million per year is wasted on unused memberships, being a January Joiner seems a false economy. Free apps like My Fitness Pal and Couch to 5K are far more economical and will let you see if you’re really serious about getting in shape, or just jumping on the New Year bandwagon.
5. Sell your stuff
I don’t know about you, but we very much live in a digital age in our household. All of our music and movies are digital and I literally cannot remember the last time we used a CD or DVD. A couple of days ago, I gathered all of our unwanted media and even an unused games console and sold them all to Music Magpie – our unused stuff has earned us over £100!
6. Check your subscriptions
Take a look at all of the things you pay for on a monthly basis – is there anything you can scale back? If you’re paying for a sattelite or cable subscription; do you really use all of the channel packages you pay for? Do you pay for Spotify/Netflix and never use it? Is your Amazon Prime account a drain you don’t need? Be ruthless and cut back everything you don’t need. You could save yourselves hundreds of pounds in the long run.
So, those are our tips – what are yours? Leave me a comment with your best money saving tip for January.