After the busy and hectic period of Christmas and New Year, January is always a difficult time in terms of our bank balances. Even if you budgeted well over Christmas, the January sales may have caught you out!
It can be tricky to know how to keep a check on your money throughout January, particularly the last couple of weeks of the month. We've come up with some suggestions that we think will help you keep within your budget constraints this month.
1. Switch energy suppliers - This isn't a quick fix, but could make you potential savings going forward. We're all guilty of leaving our energy suppliers as we've been with them for years and we've never had a problem with them. They could be overcharging substantially so it's always worth looking into.
2. Grocery shop online or have a strict supermarket budget - If you are guilty of throwing unnecessary food into your trolley when you shop, it could be a good idea to shop online through January so you aren't tempted by the chocolate aisle! If you do shop yourself, try not to go when you're hungry and have a look at non brand alternatives.
3. Sell unwanted gifts or old clutter - If you had presents that aren't necessarily wanted or you replaced items last year - consider selling your goods on ebay. When the weather starts to warm up, you could consider doing car boots too. Just don't let the person who gave it to you see!
4. Book your holiday online - This isn’t strictly money saving, but if you are planning on booking your annual holiday this month, don't be pulled in by offers by Travel Agents. Always shop around online first to see if the deal really is all it seems. Most of the time you'll be able to do it just as cheap yourself - minus the commission. Always read reviews of the hotels you’re considering staying in!
5. Plan Saturday events at home - Try and save money by making plans at home this month. If you have kids, have a craft day and invite some friends over, hopefully they'll return the favour! For the adults, why not host your own 'Come Dine with Me' competition?!
6. Public transport or lift shares - No one wants to be walking or cycling to work in the Winter months, but can you lift share? Is there a convenient bus route?
7. Take part in Dry January - You've probably seen this all over the TV lately, but why not try having an alcohol free January? The majority of adverts are in relation to sponsorship for charity, so you can do that - or just to challenge yourself!
8. Make your own lunch – Are you one of those people who rushes around in the morning with the aim of making your own lunch but then run out of time? It’s so much easier to just ‘pick something up on the way’, but by preparing your lunch the night before, you could potentially save yourself up to £5 a day – that’s over £100 a month!