The best time of the year has been and gone, and it’s left a crater-sized hole in our hearts as well as our wallets. Don’t be overwhelmed by January. Instead, make sure you get a jump start on your 2019 by pulling back financial control with these five easy to follow tips.
1. Figure out what you owe
The first (and easily the most painful) thing you need to do is sit down and open every bill, credit card statement, store card statement, and subscription letter to find out exactly what it is you owe.
This also includes any financial instalment agreements you may have fallen into during those alluring January sales. No judgement here, it’s difficult to resist a sofa that will only cost you £1 a month for the next 1,000 years.
Total up all your debts and prioritise them in order of payment date so that you are not stung by late fees.
2. Be in control of your finances
At the beginning of each week, make an estimate of how much you want to spend.
Go back to the good habit of spending only when you can afford to, connect your cards to the Oval app and monitor your daily expenses in the dedicated section of the app. The cool part is that you can connect multiple cards and be in control of your finances 365 days a year! You can also activate the Round Up Step, which allows you to set aside the spare change of your daily transactions. Save money by spending, it's as easy as that!
3. Update your budget
It is a new year, and a fresh new you. Maybe something happened to you over the Christmas break; maybe you got hired, fired, or retired. Make sure that your new budget for the year reflects your new circumstances. The earlier you do it, the more control you will have in the coming year. Starting early allows you to iron out any problems early in the year without penalising your savings goals.
If you are having trouble with creating a sustainable budget have a look at our tips on managing your budget with the 50/30/20 rule.
4. Plan your recovery
Maybe you have debts to pay off fast (see point 1), or the nature of your role means you can’t count on the same income in January, as you are used to. This means you need to create a detailed recovery plan for how you are going to put yourself back on track as fast as possible.
This could be as simple as reapportioning 15% of your ‘leisure’ budget to covering your debts until you are back on track, or readjusting other areas of your life to save money over the month ahead. Go bespoke and create a plan that's tailored 100% to you.
5. Refund what you won’t use
If you were the fortunate recipient of Christmas presents that you know absolutely categorically you are not going to use, then consider exchanging them for cash back.
This is a slightly controversial recommendation, and absolutely not for everyone. However, if money is tight there is no denying the usefulness of ‘cash in hand’ at this time of year, and it is something worth considering.