How to Budget for January – An Idiot’s Guide

January can be a really difficult month for many families, couples and individuals, as the holiday season fades into the background and we are left with mounting debt from over-indulgence and a glum start to the New Year.

Reed calls this a ‘Money hangover’ – an apt term to describe the difficult situation many people find themselves in throughout January, at the start of a New Year which should hold so much promise. So, here we look at some quick tips for getting over this and budgeting well at the start of the year. You should aim to tackle as many of these suggestions as possible to give you a better financial situation in 2019:

Create a spreadsheet – Firstly, create a spreadsheet of your outgoings and incomings so you can measure exactly how you spend your money.

Look at where you can cut down – There are many aspects of your spending you could probably cut down on. Wonga has created a comprehensive and user friendly guide of 40 money saving tips. This includes:

  • Travel – Could you walk to work two mornings a week rather than take the car?
  • Health – How about drinking more water instead of buying that bottle of fizzy drink each lunchtime?
  • Utilities – Could you negotiate a better price with your supplier? Could you turn off lightbulbs more often around the house?
  • Technology – Could you use Whatsapp over SMS to save money? What about selling an electronic device you no longer use anymore? Look also at items like your TV package; you may well be overspending on channels that you don’t even watch, so see if there is a way to negotiate with your TV provider.
  • Socialising – Cutting down on your monthly cinema visit could make a lot of difference. Why not invite some friends over to your house to watch a DVD instead? You might also consider the amount of money you spend on alcohol when you are out. Some people find it useful to bring a certain amount of cash out with them and no cards, so that when the money is up, there is no temptation to go and overspend.
  • Other shopping – Wonga also suggests that you “register online at and find great shopping deals and discounts. Plus, by registering you’ll be sent daily emails outlining the latest offers.” Looking out for great deals can save you a lot of money overall but you will need to be savvy about where you shop!

Address those debts – It is important not to ignore your debts, as they won’t be going away. Tackle them head on and figure out if you can spare any extra money to pay one of your debts down more quickly. Look also at your credit card bills and how well you meet your repayments.

Start a savings schedule – Even if it is only a little money each month, saving money is important and allows you to build up a back-up stash of money for whenever you need it.

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