Keep your festive finances in check for a very merry New Year

More than 80% of British people struggle with their festive finances and dread the “long January”, according to research. Here Kelly-Anne Byres looks at how to manage your post-Christmas budget.

January is a difficult month for many.

Many employers pay wages to staff earlier than usual in December, making the month extra long.

Add to that the excess of Christmas which sees many of us splurging on treats and we are painting a bleak picture for the bank balance.

Planning ahead

It is totally possible to plan ahead to manage your finances through Christmas and well into the New Year.

But if you have not planned and are now facing the possibility of a dry start to 2018, here are five ways to help you mitigate the impact while still having fun in December.

1.     Don’t do it all

Christmas brings with it many demands on your time and money – a lot of which are self-inflicted. You do not need to go for every party, buy everyone gifts, or host everyone. Sometimes we do more than we should – or really afford. The key is to prioritise what’s important and what is not. Eliminate those that are not. And remember, nothing good comes out of spending money trying to keep up with the Joneses.

2.     Be realistic

It is OK to not be able to afford something. It does not mean you will never be able to do it; you just can’t do it now. You will know you cannot afford something if it will eat into funds set aside for important items such as rent or mortgage repayments.  If it leaves you in debt, you cannot afford it. If you feel you have to borrow for it, you can’t afford it. If you want to afford it next year, start saving for it in January.

3.     You can still have fun

Christmas and New Year’s Eve doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Write down what you would like to do and how much it will cost. If it is more than you can afford, cut it down or be adapt. Hire a holiday house rather than a hotel. Cook at home for Christmas rather than go for over-priced lunches at hotels. Hold a New Year’s Eve party where everyone brings a dish.

4.     Pay bills in advance. 

Any money that is not for holiday spending should be moved out of your current account. If possible pay for the December and January basic expenses in advance. Most people get paid early in December so they may have a lot of money sitting in the account, which leads to the false belief that there is money to spend.

Sort out the necessities before you start spending any money.

5.     Make a New Year’s resolution

I know, I know - the cliché says that New Years Resolutions are meant to be broken. But why does that have to apply to you? This year set up your Christmas budget from day one. Perhaps transfer a small amount into a savings account each month so next year you know exactly what you have to spend on presents and parties.

If you would like help with your personal finances or business finances in 2018, give us a call.

And have a very Happy Christmas!