While everyone is happily creating bullet journals and setting lofty goals for the new year, many of us have a difficult time getting through January, aka Januworry, which often feels like three months, filled with lots of Salticrax. January is too late to start saving to ensure that it’s a fairly comfortable month, but there are things you can do now so that you’re not signing ‘Akanimali’ while doing the painful countdown until your next paycheque in the new year.
Here are seven money-savvy tips for the next three months, so you can start off January fresh, and with some savings:
This isn’t the most fun exercise, but knowledge is power, and the more you know what your expenses are, and what you can afford, the more you’re in a position to make positive changes.
Draw up a list of your fixed expenditures and other monthly deductions and compare these against your income. If your expenses are more than your income, then you need to find ways to reduce them.
If you have any money left over every month, and you’re buying things that you don’t really need (like that extra pair of shoes), then try to use it to pay off debts or put it into a savings or investment card. If you have credit card debt, it’s best to pay this off as soon as possible to save yourself all those high-interest costs.
2. Be brutal and cut out what you don’t really need
Takeaway lunch? Music subscription? Do you need what you’re paying for daily and monthly, or can you cut them out and save money? Look closely at your bank statement to see what you’re paying for each month, and if there’s anything you can cut out. It might seem like small random costs here and there, but they all add up to significant savings.
3. Make use of rewards programmes
While it might seem like there’s no return on using rewards cards, you just need to use them for a month or two to see that it’s worth the “hassle” of signing up to and presenting your card when you shop. You could be gaining a few hundred Rands every month in groceries and toiletries, which you could also save for January.
Remember to only buy what you need – the same savvy spending rules apply!
“Look closely at your bank statement to see what you’re paying for each month, and if there’s anything you can cut out.”
4. Shop the sales
There are generally sales and specials year-round – you just need to look for them. It’s an opportunity to buy early Christmas gifts, or buy your kids’ summer clothes. We can’t say this enough, but … remember to only buy what you need. Don’t be tempted by those marked-down items that you don’t really need.
5. Buy school uniforms and stationery now
Get ahead and buy school uniforms now if your kids will need them next year. Even better – start looking around for those selling second-hand uniforms. You can save a lot by not buying new, and your kids probably won’t know the difference.
By getting rid of that expense now, you save yourself the stress in January of spending when you might not be as flush as in other months.
6. Sell your goods
Do you have any unopened appliances, unwanted gifts, or gently used kids’ items? There are many selling platforms such as the BabyYumYum Bargain Box, Gumtree and Facebook pages and groups, and you can make some extra cash, and declutter!
7. Find free entertainment
Movie nights at home, picnics in the park and free concerts are fun money-saving activities.