It’s that time of year again when we all feel the January Blues, on the financial front at least, so here are my top tips for a thrifty 2018. Here are some simple and hopefully sensible ideas that you can put to use to ease those January Blues. Don’t put your head in the sand. It’s not easy and no-one likes doing it but getting on top of your bills and household finances in January will reduce your stress levels for the rest of the year. There is a sense of satisfaction to be got from tackling a problem head on and so don’t hide the phone bill under the couch cushions or delete the emails from your TV provider.
KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid! A simple budget is what’s needed. If you’re not the type of person who enjoys looking at your finances, and let’s face it, who does?, then don’t depress yourself by highlighting every tiny outgoing because if you do you’ll probably give up. Put all the major incomings on a sheet and beside them just the major and important expenses…light, heat, food, rent/mortgage etc. Once you have those on paper and know you can meet them it makes it much easier to plan for what’s left.
Tackle that Credit Card. The minimum payment amount is just the MINIMUM. Credit Cards are a useful and convenient (and very expensive) form of credit but if you’ve got a big monthly balance and are only making small payments then you have a big problem and it won’t go away by itself. Make a plan, talk to your local financial institution if you need to, it may be best if you obtain a loan to consolidate all your debts into one and have one weekly or monthly repayment.
Timing. Try to time your most important bills/ payments to go out just after your income hits your account. It sounds simple but if you have bills that have to be paid then try change the payment date so they get looked after as soon as you get paid. That way they’re sorted before you get to spend the money on yourself. If you’re paid weekly, then look a weekly amount off your bills so you’re matching the incoming with the outgoing.
Get saving. Keeping it regular is the key so don’t try to move mountains in January. Then you’ll have a nice fund saved for next Christmas to make it all easier!