Quote of the Week: "January, month of empty pockets! Let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer's forehead."~ Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
January is typically a tough month financially for many. The December festivities can leave your pocket ‘hangovered’ as bills start piling up.
With Christmas drawing closer, it is important to ask yourself, will I be ready for January’s financial obligations? If the answer to that question is “no” or “not sure” here are a few tips on ensuring you survive the month.
1. Check Your Spending
There is something about Christmas that gets us to spend more than usual. It doesn’t matter how well you are in managing your personal finances, you probably spend more in December than in any other month of the year.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that. You have worked hard the entire year and you probably even saved for the festivities, so by all means, enjoy your holiday! But there is no reason to throw reason out of the window this season. Avoid making unnecessary purchases. Look for bargains, which tend to be many during this period, but remember not every bargain needs to be taken. Stretch every shilling you can while you are having fun.
2. Start Saving For January
If you saved for Christmas, you should go through this festive period without getting into debt. Needless to say, this is the wrong time to acquire debt. January is not ideal for accumulating debt either. To avoid that, why not start saving for those bills today? It might seem like it’s late to get started but it’s never too late to start saving. Neither is it too early. If you didn’t save for this Christmas, you can start saving for the next even now. In fact, when you start saving for the next, save for both the Christmas and January expenses.
3. Budget Now
A budget is your best personal finance tool. It helps you prepare and execute all your plans. Make a Christmas budget to help you avoid overspending. Similarly, make a January budget to help you plan for it early enough. Knowing how much you will need then will help you prepare better. But remember, a budget is just a useless piece of paper if you will not follow it.
Conclusion: One thing to remember as we approach the Christmas period is that you will probably need more money in January than in December. For every shilling you spend, ensure you have another one, or two, to spend in January. While January is almost always tough, it need not be. And it doesn’t mean you have to avoid merry making this Christmas, just plan for both months today.