Beat the January Blues
Most of you will have experienced the January blues…and it can be worse if you’re scared to even look at your bank balance to see how much you’ve spent after Christmas. Read our blog for some top avoidance tips on how to escape that depressing January feeling.
It’s OK to say no – be honest about it
In the run up to Christmas you may feel pressure to buy gifts for family, friends or relatives. If your finances can’t stretch to it then don’t spend it. Most people will respect your decision not to buy presents if you explain. Make sure you plan and budget for all the festive purchases including gifts, decorations, food, entertaining and so on. It can really mount up and it’s easy to lose track unless you plan ahead. Being realistic and sensible about what you can afford will help you avoid that feeling of fear when you check your bank balance in the new year.
Open the mail and check your statements – more fraud happens in January!
A common theme for a lot of people during December and January is not checking their bank statements or balance – simply because they can be scared seeing how overdrawn they are or how much they have spent. Knowing what you are spending and what you have left will help you budget effectively. It’s also important as credit card fraud reaches a peak in January – so check your statements for any unusual behaviour.
Monitor what you’re spending
Make sure you gain access to online and mobile banking, if you haven’t already done so, as this provides lots of ways that’ll help you monitor what you’re spending. You could even ask your bank provider to alert you when your balance falls to a certain level. If you need help setting this up message or call your bank. They should be happy to provide guidance. It’s also worth getting regular balance statements from the cash machine before shopping sprees. The key thing is to set a budget and try to stick to it.
Don’t get carried away – make rational spending choices
With festive cheer and Christmas parties in the air it can be easy to get carried away. Before you buy it or make a commitment, ask yourself if it’s necessary and if it’s good value for money. Christmas can be a time of excessive spending so make sure you don’t go overboard.
Review your finances – or plan to
If you plan on making some changes in the new year then it’s worthwhile reviewing your finances beforehand. It’s good financial practice to look carefully at your incomings and out goings regularly – but especially if you need to make savings or trim your spending. You may realise that you’re paying for something you don’t need or could get cheaper elsewhere.
Budget for any credit card repayments in January
During November, December, and even in the January sales a lot of us are tempted to spend on our credit cards. If you’ve done this remember to budget for either paying it off or at least making the minimum payment when it’s due. This will help avoid bad effects to your credit rating. If you’re at risk of missing any contractual payments speak to the relevant provider immediately to help resolve any potential issues further down the line.
Don’t forget your council tax payment break
Most of you who pay council tax will pay it over a 10, 11 or 12 month period depending on the area you live in and your circumstances. If you don’t pay over 12 months then you’re due to have a payment break sometime between February and March. Consider the effect this may have on your budget or payments.
Creating a financial buffer to deal with any unexpected events or expenses can help you cope for a rainy day. It could be an unexpected bill, a sudden car repair or a jump in your heating costs. Knowing you have some spare cash in case of emergencies can make a huge difference when times are tough. As always, where you can, our advice is to save, save, save. A little often is also better than none at all.