Here’s a familiar situation: you’ve panic-bought everything you need in order to prepare for Christmas, your family are all catered for when it comes to gifts and you know that Christmas Day is all set. It comes and goes, followed by Boxing Day and the lengthy New Year week (seriously, why is that week between Christmas and New Year always so long?), and then you’re left with January to deal with.
Emotionally, physically and financially, January can be a very difficult month indeed to deal with. Your finances are likely to be in fragile shape after the blitz of Christmas, but all is not lost. There are many ways to ensure your continued financial solvency well into the New Year and beyond, and we’re going to share a few of them with you now. Here are some tips for surviving the post-Christmas financial lull.
Look into loans
If you find yourself in bad financial shape, one solution would be to consider a loan. With Christmas costing us more and more as the years go on, food and retail goods going up in price and the gig economy taking away some of our financial security, there’s never been a better time (if you are relatively financially stable) to look into a loan. Depending on your situation, you could look into a great payday loan lender (don’t believe the hype – payday loans are perfectly safe in the right hands), take up a second mortgage with your bank or secure a logbook loan against your vehicle. All of these are solid options, and they’ll all leave you with a bit more cash to play with post-Christmas.
Build a solid budget
Last year may not have worked out entirely as you planned when it came to your finances, but this year’s going to be better because you’re going to sit down and construct a well-thought-out, realistic budget for yourself. Some self-reflection will be required; it’s not easy to go over your finances with a fine-toothed comb lest you find something you’re not proud of, but it’s necessary. Once you’ve isolated the highest spends and choke points in terms of income and bank balance, make preparations for the year which take these into account. If, for example, you know that August is a tough month for you because of birthdays or other occasions, it makes sense to tighten the purse strings then, making necessary cuts in order to keep yourself afloat.
Talk to your family
There’s no better time than post-Christmas to talk to your family about your finances. If you have a partner with whom you live, then sit down and chat to them about where your combined incomes are going and whether there are any consolidations you could make together. Talk to your kids about holiday destinations this year and try, if you can, to steer them somewhere that won’t break the bank for you. If you live alone, then contact your parents or relatives and chat to them about money. Do they have the same feeling as you about the post-Christmas period? Are there ways you could buddy up and budget together?
Exercise on a budget
Looking to shed those Christmas pounds? You don’t need to break the bank to do so. Programs like C25K (couch to 5K) provide excellent ways for novice runners to make a real difference to their fitness in a relatively short space of time and for absolutely no money. There are plenty of support communities available online to help you with this. Weight training needn’t be an expense, either; there are many apps available on both Android and iOS which teach prospective fitness freaks how to build lean muscle without purchasing a single dumbbell. All of this is to say that it’s entirely possible to exercise post-Christmas without worrying about a gym membership, which will save you serious money in the long term.
Think about a career change
Okay, we understand: this might sound a bit seismic, and you might not be ready for a full career change, especially if your post-Christmas finances are in bad shape. Think about it, though; if you’re consistently low on cash despite busting your behind and putting in untold hours of overtime, then perhaps it’s time for a change of scenery in the employment stakes. We said earlier that it can be an emotionally difficult time post-Christmas, and there’s no reason why your job should be contributing to this. Start looking around job websites for listings you might be interested in, and try to target openings with higher salaries. New year, new you, right? What better time to start upping the career ante than after Christmas? When you’re installed in a new job that treats you with the respect you deserve, you’ll thank yourself for taking the plunge. Just make sure to consult with your nearest and dearest before you make any rash decisions.