From selling unwanted items and consolidating debts to evaluating your transport and eating habits, our seven hacks will help nurse your post-Christmas, financial hangover.
But, if your bank balance is feeling a little worse for wear, you’ll be pleased to know you’re certainly not the only one. To help you get your finances back on track, we’ve got five tips to nurse your post-Christmas money slump.
First things first
Before you put steps in place to undo the damage of your pre-Christmas spending, it’s a good idea to sit down, look through your spending (receipts, online transactions, credit card statements, etc.) and see how much exactly you’ve set yourself back.
Once you’ve got a good idea of how much this is, write it down and work out what’s feasible for you to recoup each week/month. With this figure in mind, the following ideas will be easier to benchmark and enable you to monitor your efforts.
1. Sell unwanted items
At a glance, this one might seem ungrateful, but there’s no use in holding onto presents you know you’ll never use (and we’re not suggesting you tell the gift-giver, either!).
So, if you, your partner or children have items that are knowingly going to go to waste, stick them up on Amazon, eBay, Gumtree or something similar, and recoup some of the cash you’ve spent on presents yourself.
The smaller items might not feel like they’re making a dent, but every little helps. It’s a good idea to make a note of how much you’ve made on each sale too, so you can go back to your original figure and see how much money you’ve made up.
2. Consolidate your debts
In its simplest form, debt consolidation involves bundling multiple types of debt into one, monthly payment. At the very least it’ll help to make your debt more easy to manage, but if you were previously paying hefty interest rates and shop around, you could find it’ll save you money, too.
When it comes to debt consolidation you’ve got several options, like:
- Balance transfer credit cards
- Money transfer cards
- Credit cards
- Debt consolidation loans
- Friends or family
For a breakdown of the pros and cons of each debt consolidation option, head here.
3. Cancel unused memberships
January’s a great time to get your finances on track for the rest of the year anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone and use it to claw back some of your Christmas pennies?
Go through your bank statements with a fine tooth comb and look out for any standing orders you’re simply not using, or aren’t using enough to warrant the expense. If you can cut ties completely, then great! If not, then look around and see if there are any cheaper alternatives, or ask if you can downgrade your current order to something more budget-friendly.
4. Take a look at your transport
Whether it’s for work, socialising or shopping, getting from A to B isn’t something you can avoid. However, there are almost always ways you can do it for less - regardless of your mode.
To gauge how much you’re currently spending, jot down your average weekly spend (fuel, bus tickets, train fares, etc.) so you can easily see the price to beat. If you use public transport to get around, spend some time online to see if you can find a cheaper alternative - if you’re a frequent traveller, passes are usually more cost-effective in the long run.
And if you own your own vehicle, think about things like car pooling, shopping around for the best fuel prices, driving more fuel efficiently, and making trips during quieter travel times.
It’s not for everyone, but the best way to completely cut your travel costs, do your bit for the environment and get your daily dose of exercise, is to hop on two wheels and cycle. It’d require the initial outlay of the bike (if you don’t already own one) and is dependent on your location and cycling confidence, but it’s certainly one to consider if it’s an option for you.
5. Food for thought
Food. This is another one you can’t cut out (regardless of how many pigs in blankets you put away over the festive period!), but it’s an easy one to slash your spending on.
Again, make a note of how much you normally spend a week or month on food - including your supermarket shop, takeaways and meals out. Once you’ve got this breakdown, see which areas are setting you back most and put steps in place to eliminate or reduce their costs.
Some simple money-saving tips when it comes to food include:
- Cooking in bulk;
- Switching to a cheaper food store;
- Kiboshing takeaways and meals out; and
- Shopping late at night to make the most of the reduced sections.
Keep it up
Points three to five will help relieve your financial Christmas hangover in the short-term, but that doesn’t mean to say you need to stop once you’ve recovered your costs.
For a healthier bank balance throughout 2019 and beyond, keep up your newfound, savvy spending habits, and reap the rewards in pennies and pounds.
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