Every year, January comes around. And every year we are taken by surprise. January is that one time of year where there is a whole lot of month at the end of the money.

Most people are paid early in December, usually around the 16th. This may feel like an early festive season gift but it means that January can feel extremely long. By midmonth – let’s be real, by the 10th – we’re eating crackers and staying home on the weekend.

January might feel really far away right now – but so is your next payday. We’ve rounded up some top tips to help you get through this month and still have something extra in your pocket.

Plan. US founding father Benjamin Franklin is often credited with saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” When it comes to December and January budgeting, this means you need to be prepared. It is essential that you draw up a budget for these two often very expensive months – and stick to it.

Don’t go into debt. This is the time of year where you should be thinking about starting fresh financially, not adding to your debts. Now is when you should think carefully about your spending habits. If you aren’t careful now and continue swiping that credit card, you could be in debt counselling by the end of the year. The only reason to consider borrowing money is if you can’t get to work or don’t have food.

Cut spending. Stop all spending in January which isn’t essential. You don’t really need that takeaway meal, cup of coffee or sale shopping spree. You’ll need that money when you have to pay your child’s school fees and buy their stationery.

Get creative in the kitchen. Consider this a dual-purpose step. You’ll save money and clean out your cupboards. We all have those tins of tuna and packets of pasta lurking toward the back of the shelves. Now is the time to channel your inner Jamie Oliver and make miracles happen.

Create habits. Budgets aren’t as bad as some people make them out to be. They actually can help to prevent Janu-worry panic next year. You should create positive budgeting habits for yourself now which will last throughout the year and into the future.
This is understandably a stressful time for many people. But you can get through this month with some planning, budgeting and careful spending.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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