Getting through January on a shoestring budget

Getting through January on a shoestring budget

Let us rephrase that: it’s getting through Janu-worry as the first month of the year has become known. It’s when you have that feeling of a lot of the month left at the end of the money. And it’s when a lot of nail-chewing gets done.

Now is the time to think of innovative ways to get you and your family to the end of this month that inevitably feels as if it is never-ending.

Start a temporary lift club

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Don’t be shy. Most people are cash-strapped this time of the year. Approach work colleagues or anyone who works close enough to your place of work and suggest a short-term lift club.

Not only will you save on petrol but you might just hear about new holiday destinations to explore later in the year when your finances have returned back to normal.

‘Cheat’ when you eat

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Forget about dining out or having dinner parties at the start of the new year. Eat at home for 31 days.

Now is the time to start the habit of Meatless Mondays. You could also become a vegetarian for a month. Test your willpower and save loads on groceries at the same time.

Use spices, not fresh herbs, to zhoosh up your home cooking.

Scrounge through your pantry, food cupboard and freezer. This is where you are bound to find tins of chickpeas or tomatoes at the back of the shelf or a packet of boerewors or oorskietkos that you forgot about at the bottom of the freezer.

Lastly, pack lunch to work; no take-aways allowed. Your waistline will probably thank you too.

Become a homebody

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Over the end-of-year holidays everyone is out and about, soaking up the sun and getting together with friends and family.

Use the month of January to refuel your batteries by chilling at home. Haul out the board games, binge-watch a series or read those books that you never have time to indulge in when the year takes its course.

Cut your monthly expenses

If you apply your mind there are loads of ways to do this.

Do not buy books, magazines or newspapers for the month of January; use the services of your local library instead. Suspend your DSTV service – instead of sitting in front of the telly spend time outdoors on balmy summer evenings.
Put a day or two aside to make a concerted effort to negotiate better premiums for your car and your short term insurance.  Restructure your bank accounts and adopt new habits like using electronic banking wherever possible and reduce your bank charges in this way.

Unleash your creativity and make homemade gifts for your nearest and dearest. Some great ideas include mixing together body scrubs or bath salts, personalising wooden hangers, sewing or knitting pillow covers or scarves or trying your hand at some preserves and jams.

 12 months from now…

Make a firm New Year’s resolution to plan better for the next Janu-worry in 12 months’ time. Good Luck!

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