Hey skint pals,
You hanging in there okay? I only ask because according to the media we’re all supposed to be on our knees by today, felled by that classic January combination of no money, rotten weather, and months to go before our next holiday. Yep, today’s the day, folks. Every third Monday in January the media love to tell us we’re extra-depressed but you know what? I’m not, no sir, I’m chirpy as they come today, because in spite of what the doommongers tell us I love January. Uh-huh, love it. So shoot me down and call me crazy.
For me, January’s the most motivating month there is. It’s all about the big goals and it always gets me thinking about whether I’m doing the things that make me happy. Perhaps because my birthday’s at the start of January too, I always start the year with a strong resolve to make the year ahead count. I get lazier as the year goes on, but every January I’m buzzing with plans.
January is also, of course, the best month to do some financial planning for the year ahead – and if you’re feeling the pinch from Christmas then that’s an extra-motivator to get your finances back in shape.
Here folks are five quick ways you can get your finances into better shape by the end of today. Pick one even, zoom through it and hey presto, you’ve turned the most depressing day of the year into something productive!
Five quick finances fixes you can do right now
- Clear out your purse. Chances are you’ve still got Christmas receipts in there and all sorts of crap. Clearing out your purse not only makes you feel more in control, it also helps you to get your finances in order by refreshing your memory about gift cards that need to be spent, coupons about to expire and cheques that need to be cashed, as well as any purchases that need to be returned before it’s too late.
- Scan your bank statement – and take action. Most people have one direct debit (at least) on their statement that’s really a waste of cash. Be it a magazine subscription that you don’t need any more, or a broadband deal that’s way too high, choose one direct debit today and aim to reduce its cost or scrap it completely.
- Check your council tax band. Takes ten minutes with this handy tool from Martin Lewis’ site, and could save you a couple of hundred pounds a year.
- Purge your inbox. I’m talking specifically about those daily emails from group-buying sites here. How many are you signed up to?? Find yourself bombarded daily by five or more newsletter, each urging you to buy their electric toothbrushes, meal deals and latest gadgets? Do your finances a favourite and hit unsubscribe. Out of sight, of mind.
- List an item for sale. Post-Christmas, we’ve all got stuff we want to sell. I’ve got three crates in the basement marked eBay; they’ve been there a looooong time. Do it today. List even one item on eBay or Gumtree, get them out of your house and get the cash in your wallet. The first one’s the hardest too. Once you’re in selling mode you’ll find yourself on fire!
Elsewhere, the web is full of great advice on how to make January count. Here are some other posts I’ve read and liked over the last few days.
- My pal across the pond Budgets are Sexy gave these five fun money challenges for 2014.
- Reach Financial Independence is a great blog. I’m wishing Pauline, its owner, all the best with her new blog purchase. Savvy Scot, and with her Financial Bootcamp, giving regular tips on ways to bring your cash under control. You can check it out here.
- Let’s face it. Putting our own financial houses in order is one thing, but don’t we all love a sneaky peek around someone else’s? That’s why I’ll be following the new Naked with Cash blog series over at Consumerism Commentary, where ordinary folks agree to let experts audit and advise them on how they spend and save. Perfect for the nosey ones amongst us – I’m part of that gang for sure.
How’s January holding up for you? Do you see it as the start of the great new year? Or would you rather hibernate till February comes around? Got any tips for surviving the (allegedly) most depressing days of the year?