Like most people across the country our family is one where we have a low income and live paycheck to paycheck with very little or no ‘spare’ money.
Following on from the expensive festive month of December and having had to overcome a long January when the last paycheck back in December seems like a lifetime ago, this month has been a very expensive month.
Whilst thankfully thanks to my frugal Christmas shopping throughout the year I did not find that I had overspent my Christmas budget or built up debts to do with Christmas. However the long gap between paychecks, the extra costly expense of heating during the winter and been tight on money in the lead up to Christmas with no spare money to go around least of all to be had for January means that the purse strings have had to be closely watched.
If like us you have to make your money stretch further during January or you are struggling to cope with overspending at Christmas, here are a few things we have done this month to survive financially -
Avoid the sales
As soon as Christmas is over the sales start. Whilst it is tempting to snap up bargains galore they are only bargains if it is something you would have bought regardless of it being a bargain price. If you don’t need it, however bargain-luscious it is you are spending money on something you don’t need and taking money out of your tight budget for nothing.
Resisting the sales ensures your money is spent on necessities such as food, bills, rent and any Christmas debt. Boring I know but practical when having to do grown up things.
If you do hit the sales, yes I did browse them, make sure to check if it really is a bargain and be sure it is something worthwhile. I made sure that I closely monitored my sales spending and have only bought a handful of things that are not only bargain prices but things I have put aside for the boys’ birthdays which will help us out financially when their birthdays arrive in the next few months.
Voucher codes and discount promos
During this long, expensive and limited money month I have made sure to make good use of voucher codes and discount promos to help make our money stretch further.
Similar to my motto of sales shopping - it is only a bargain if it is something we need or are buying anyway - I make sure that I use voucher codes on things we are already buying to get them cheaper rather than buy something just because I have a discount code for it.
Shopping smartly using voucher codes or coupons means that I have more money to spare from our very tight budget which helps us manage to cover all bills and necessary outgoings so that expensive January does not leave us overspent or in debt by the time February rolls around.
When using codes to save money I keep an eye out for discount coupons in newspapers and magazines, monitor money saving sites for tips on savings and discounts, and frequently use voucher codes from voucheroo.co.uk
To make sure that every penny of our budget is well spent and to make our budget stretch to cover all necessities and bills I am extra vigilant on making use of money saving techniques such as meal planning.
When food shopping I make sure to stick to my lists, use vouchers to buy items on there cheaper and only take advantage of promotional offers if they are truly value for money (not always the case so I check out the small print and compare to items not on offer to get the best deal and price) and it is something on my list or something we use regularly. I am super strict with myself not to be tempted by treats, the list and willpower is key!
Do you have any tips on how to financially survive January?