Many of us got paid a week early in time for Christmas, but it comes with a catch – we have to make that money last for well over five weeks!
Make your salary stretch until January payday with a little planning ahead
Making your salary stretch until January payday isn’t easy – especially as Christmas is the most expensive time of year for most of us. However some careful planning and a few budget tricks can keep you flush after the festive period and into the new year.
1. Withdraw the Money
If you can, withdraw some cash now for that fifth week. Put it out of sight – then when the last week of the month rolls around, you’ll have a kitty to get you through.
2. Plan Ahead
If you know the final pay packet of the year is going to have to last you longer than usual, start planning now. Make at least the minimum payments on any debts before money gets tight this month – that way you won’t get hit by any penalty charges or late payment fees.
(If you need help, we’ve got a free budget planner that will set up a yearly family budget for you in under 30 minutes).
Also, start adding a few extra groceries to the weekly shop – so you can set food aside for the fifth and final week.
3. Freeze Some Food
If you’ve got leftovers or extra food sitting in the fridge, put what you can into the freezer instead. That way, you’ll have a few meals to tide you over and that final grocery shop should cost a little less than usual.
4. Cut Your Food Costs
Feeding a family isn’t cheap – but we’ve got hundreds of great recipes and family meal planners for you. Not only are these meals delicious, they’re cost-effective too.
We’ve also gathered together 10 general tips on how to cut the cost of family meals.
5. Bring Your Own Lunch
Don’t just cut the cost of the food you buy to cook at home – bring in your own packed lunch if you’re out at work. The average Briton spends over £1,900 a year buying sandwiches and snacks at work – or almost £160 a month. Packing up your own lunch the night before is an easy but significant way to save and put more money in your pocket.
(Want some inspiration on jazzing up your packed lunch? Then have a look at our 20 Great Lunchbox Ideas from Leftovers eBook).
6. Get Cash for Your Trash
Looking for a quick cash injection? If you’ve got some old gadgets lying around (or unwanted Christmas presents) then you can trade them in for cash.
Here’s how you can recycle 7 things for cash – everything from books to CDs to old printer cartridges. (Some smartphones can fetch £150 or more).
7. Return Unwanted Christmas Presents
If you received an unwanted Christmas present, don’t just stuff it in a cupboard never to see the light of day. Very often, you can get a refund – or why not consider selling it on? (To you, the power drill you received from Uncle Clive this Christmas might be a bizarre present – but to someone else, it’s the perfect gift).
Have a look at our guide on how to return (or reuse) unwanted Christmas presents.
8. Make Some Quick Cash From Home
If you’re always on the lookout for some ways to earn a bit of extra cash, have a look at these 17 quick ways to make money online.
Then if that gets you the money-making bug, have a look at MyFamilyClub’s most popular eBook, 14 quick ways to make money from home – which does exactly what is says on the tin! See how you could make money here.
9. Work From Home
Are there a couple of days in January that you could work from home? By staying in, you’ll save on commuting costs. However, there is a risk that you’ll spend more on heating. If you can handle wearing a few more clothes and only turning the heating on at night, then go for it!
10. Spend Reward Points
After all that Christmas shopping you should have a healthy balance of reward points, so why not put them to good use this month. Spend them on essentials like food and toiletries.
11. Pay Less for Petrol
Don’t pay through the nose when filling up your car. Go to PetrolPrices which finds the cheapest petrol prices in your local area. And there are plenty of little things you can do to cut the cost of running your car – you can get up to speed on them all by reading how to save on motoring costs.
12. Put Subscriptions on Hold
The new year is a busy time of year with lots of things to organise. So will you really have time to read the paper, flick through that magazine or watch all those TV channels? Put your subscriptions on hold – if you have a craving for the latest gossip you’ll be able to find it all online.
13. Cut the Interest Payments on Your Debt – Now!
If you’ve got debts to pay off, it’s all too easy to find yourself simply paying off the interest payments and hardly touching the original debt at all. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If this is your situation, make sure you read our guide on how to get debt-free in 10 simple steps.
14. Invite People Around
Be the hostess with the mostest – if people want to catch up, suggest they pop around to see you rather than meeting them in town for a drink. You’ll be able to save on travel costs and the chances are they won’t turn up empty-handed. It’s also a great way to use up the Christmas leftovers.
You could even set up a swapping party – where you swap books, clothes, toys or anything you want. They can be a really fun way to shop without spending.
15. Save Cash EVERY Month with These Simple Tips
You’re now more than prepared to stretch that January pay packet – but why stop there? Now you’ve started getting into a money-saving mindset, why not start saving every month of the year?
It needn’t be painful – have a look at our 60 favourite money-saving tips (many of them sent in by readers themselves.
They’re all simple tips that anyone can do. (Sometimes, the most effective money-saving tips are the simplest.)
Find it Hard to Budget?
If you often find it hard to make your family’s budget stretch from one pay day to the next, then you should definitely consider making a proper budget.
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s really easy if you use this free budget planner tool. Give it a go and you’ll soon see exactly where your money is draining away – and the little things you can cut back on that will save you hefty amounts of cash, without affecting your quality of life too much. Try the budget planner here.