January is without a doubt, the time of year where we all feel we need to cut back a bit. Over the festive period it’s more than likely that majority of us will have drank too much, eaten too much, and of course spent too much. There’s something about the Christmas holidays that makes us feel free to do everything we would normally do in excess, isn’t there?
The down side of this, is as soon as January comes around and we all go back to work, reality seems to come knocking. Suddenly we have to make what’s left of our wage last for several weeks, and after a season of buying nothing but alcohol and party food, it’s about time we bought some proper food.
It can seem like a bit of a downer after the festive period, but it’s something we all seem to have to do. If you’re feeling a little reluctant about a money saving routine this year, follow our top tips! They will, without a doubt, help you to live well on a budget through January and beyond.
Formulate Your Own Individual Budget
Sometimes when our funds are running low, we feel as if the only thing we need is quick access to cash, when in fact if we changed the way we spent and saved our own money, we’d be surprised at how much we have.
This is where budgeting comes in. a budget plan looks different to everybody, because everyone has different outgoings and incomings. It’s not really a “one size fits all” type of thing, however this is a formula that everyone can use to give them a rough idea of where they need to spend, and where they may have the opportunity to save.
Start by sitting down and working out your incomings and outgoings. On a weekly – or even monthly basis if you’re thinking long term – figure out how much money you have coming into the household in total. Then, sit and figure out what your expenditure is – and don’t miss a trick. List everything from your necessary outgoings like bills and utilities, to your daily coffee break spending and gym membership. Only then can you really know how much you’re spending. Whatever is left over, is your disposable income.
Then, take a look at all of your spending and ask yourself, is this necessary? Of course things like utilities and bills are, but say you’ve got a Netflix or gym membership you never use, or could be taking lunch to work instead of buying it. These smaller details will help to increase your disposable income, and generally give you more money at the end of each week or month. It really is that simple.
Change Your Provider
A lot of people worry about heating their homes – particularly in the Winter. There’s a common misconception that in order to save money on your energy bills you have to turn down the thermostat and get the woolly jumpers out – but have you ever considered that you could very simply be with the wrong supplier?
The beauty of today, is that in order to find a cheaper supplier, all you have to do is go onto a price comparison website. You can use these to fill in exactly where you live, what sort of usage you’re looking for, and it’ll give you an idea of which provider will be the cheapest for you. You can sit and evaluate how much you’ll get for your money and from where, and it’ll even tell you which companies are best to use if you’re being conscious of your carbon footprint. What’s not to like!
Change the Way You Shop
Last of all, but by no means least, try changing the way you conduct your weekly food shop.
It could simply be couponing or switching to a budget supermarket that you try, but you could also attempt to alter your approach to spending.
A great way of doing this is by planning in advance. Create a menu of sorts for the week ahead, and make a list of all the things you’ll need to make it so – drinks and snacks included. Then make a shopping list of all of the things you need in relation to this, and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much less food you waste, and how much more money you save. Plus if you’re trying to be a bit healthier, it’s a great way of committing to that too. Talk about a win-win!