January is a pretty tough month for many of us – it’s a long time since we’ve been paid and post-Christmas bills are piling up.
So here are some tips to make sure your money lasts until the end of the month and you don’t end up in the red.
Work out what you have left
It’s important to face up to exactly how much money you’ve got left to last you until your next pay packet and not bury your head in the sand.
Take a long hard look at your bank balance and work out what essential bills you need to set money aside for and what you will have left over to live on.
Set a budget and stick to it
Once you’ve figured out exactly how much you’ve got left to live on set a budget for yourself and stick to it.
A good way to do this is to take out cash and leave your card at home. This way you can actually see what you are spending and avoid exceeding your budget.
Cut out luxuries
Try and cut out any spending on treats or luxuries like shop-bought lunches, coffee shop coffee, takeaway dinners and magazines.
Cash in loyalty points
January is the perfect time to cash in any points you’ve racked up on your loyalty cards to buy things you need.
Nectar and Tesco Clubcard points can be used to get money off your shopping, although it's not necessarily the most cost-effective thing to spend them on, but it could help you save some cash.
Plan your meals
To ensure you don’t waste food or buy more than you need at the supermarket try to plan your meals.
If you always shop at the same supermarket, think about seeing if another could save you money.
You can compare food prices on MySupermarket to see where your food shopping will be cheapest including the likes of Aldi and Poundland.
To save money on your food shopping ditch the branded goods and go for own brand or value ranges.
Walk to work
[SPOTLIGHT]If money is really tight, try walking to work instead of taking the car.
Alternatively, if you work too far away see if you can take public transport or bike in.
Shop around for fuel
If you need to drive to work, use PetrolPrices.com to check who’s offering the cheapest petrol and diesel prices in your area.
Use charity shops
If you need to buy something this week, see if your local charity shop has it. It will be a lot cheaper than shopping on the high street and the money you spend will help a good cause.
While you wait for your next pay packet, have a clear out. You may discover items you never knew you had or things that you don’t need any more that you can sell.
Selling old mobiles, gadgets, books, clothes and DVDs on websites like eBay is a great way to make some extra cash. Read How to sell successfully on eBay.
Use voucher codes
Voucher codes are a great way to save on anything from clothes to restaurants.
Look for free activities
Try and find cheap and free things to do in your area rather than splashing cash on expensive activities. Your local paper is a good source of information as is Free-events.co.uk.
Reschedule social events
One of the biggest drains on disposable cash is going out and socialising. If you’ve got a full calendar of events this week, see if you can reschedule some or all until after payday.
Alternatively have a night in with friends instead. You could have a dinner party or watch a movie on Netflix to save on the cost of going out.