Ever feel like you have too much month at the end of your money? There is no time of the year where this is more prevalent than in January. Payday seems like months away and after all the expenses and excess of the holiday festive season, money is thin on the ground.
To make the month, and the rest of the year, less stressful, here are a few budgeting tips to help you get through the lean times.
Budgeting tips before the holidays start:
Check your bank account daily. This will ensure you keep track of your spending. Remain aware of necessary expenses and avoid the temptation of spontaneous purchases. You will thank yourself later!
Set aside an amount that you can comfortably spend over this period. If you celebrate Christmas, establish a gift budget in advance and don’t exceed this amount. Set aside an amount for entertainment and what you’ll need if you’re going away. Once this holiday budget is in place, you can see what you have left for the rest of the month. You may need to tighten your budget when you see the remaining amount, but it’s important to ensure you get to the end of the month.
This season is all about friends, family and socialising, and one of the ways you can save money is to cut back on eating out and try alternatives. Rather cook at home, fire up the braai and ask your friends to join you. Your wallet will feel the difference.
Damage control after holiday spending:
If you have already blown your budget then it’s time for damage control. Sit down and asses the situation. Print out all your bank statements and ensure you fully understand what’s remaining for the weeks ahead.
Record any important, upcoming payments. You don’t want to skip these and set the year off to a bad start. Make notes of any school fees, school uniforms, debts or payments that need to be made and set aside what you can to cover these.
In this situation, avoid taking out a short-term loan to cover your expenses as this will add to your debt and do more damage. Rather save where you can and work these expenses into your budget. There are certain times when a short-term loan can be a solution, but only in certain cases and to be used for specific things.
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