The countdown to payday is always the hardest in January; after so much fun a reality check kicks in – here’s what I do to get to payday!
I must confess that during the festive season, I switch off to the spending – it is what it is, right?
And whilst it’s super kind that most businesses pay you a little earlier in December, that slog… to get to one of the end of the longest month in our calendar begins.
I don’t have all the answers to the getting through January, but I know the countdown to payday seriously kicks in early – so here is what I do to run the gauntlet!
THE COUNTDOWN TO PAYDAY
As I write this on the 7th January, for me personally I have 20 days to get through – I take whatever disposal income I have and divide by the number of days – this is my ‘daily budget’. The task now is to not spend more than that each day.
I will do this check-in with myself at 15 days, 10 days and so on – and if all is going to plan… sometimes the ‘daily budget’ increases towards the end of the month (that’s the hope in me!), but of course any overspend and it swings the other way.
Staying on track, gives you control.
DO I REALLY NEED COFFEE?
A genuine question I ask myself all the time – Covid lockdowns have taught me just how much I spent on takeaway coffees, when I have perfectly good facilities at home. I would find any excuse to pop out and grab coffee, not even with a friend, just for myself.
I’ve stopped this habit and changed it throughout all of 2021.
If I go for a walk or drive and I fancy coffee, then I make it at home and I take it out with me in my stylish black Chilli coffee cup – it’s been one of my best investments and it’s saved me so much money.
For the purposes of this blog, I’ve googled the cost of an Americano medium/grande with both Starbucks and Costas, typically I would buy from Costas as that’s what I have local to me, it’s £2.95. Times this by 20 days = a saving of £59 – and that’s if I only have the one per day!
SPACING OUT MY BEAUTY MAINTENANCE
We’ve all got a cost to this, right? So after party season, do we really need to be so pristine?
I often ditch getting manicures and pedicures before the next paycheck, as everything was done for Christmas and New Year.
Really think about what can actually wait – the world will not stop if you don’t have that facial. Space out or pause until payday what you really can go without.
DON’T DECLINE, JUST POSTPONE
You don’t need to tell anyone that you are watching your budget, it’s none of their business.
So if you need to ‘politely decline’ or pause a meet up with girlfriends, avoid saying ‘I can’t afford it’ as then it’s normally a comeback of, “I’ll get this one and you get the next” – a debt you really may not want to take on right now.
Instead take control and just respond by saying: “I’d love to, can we get a date in later in the month” then give them the very first few days after pay day for them to choose – it’s a win-win!
WHAT CAN I CANCEL?
I always find in January, I realise just how much I may have signed up to in the year, unnecessarily.
A January detox is not just about diet, alcohol and wardrobe clearing – it’s a good time to get a reality check on whatever subscriptions you’ve got in place – do you really us them? Yes or No
Anything that does not give you value-for-money, you should seriously consider cancelling.
A way to do this, is have three columns – A MUST, A MAYBE and a IT’S NOT WORKING FOR ME
Keep all the MUSTs, cancel all the IT’S NOT WORKING FOR ME straight away – and then the MAYBE’s – contact the service provider and see if you can get a better price, explain to them you are not happy, maybe you can reduce the package you’ve signed up to or maybe they can give you something additional that would make it more viable for you. Either way, you’ve put the effort in and you’ve taken action.
WHAT CAN I DO FOR FREE?
There are so many resources you can tap into for free – so you can have a whole month of not buying any books, magazines or paying extra to download films.
Blogs, Podcasts, YouTube – you have the entire internet at hand – explore and find free content to read, listen or watch and it can save you spending for a few weeks; and you never know you might just find someone new and interesting to follow in 2022.
Also consider this for any new health kicks – exercise can be done for free. Walking, cycling, running – just getting out in the fresh air. There is also plenty of free exercise classes on YouTube that I tap into – just type into the search bar whatever you are in the mood to do, yoga, dancing or stretching and there will be something there.
HOW TO SHOP
It’s hard not to be tempted by the January sales, and this is by no means a message to not buy anything. Consider using the January sales to replace any items that you love wearing but perhaps are past their sell-by date.
I have just invested in merino and cashmere, two fabrics I love to wear in winter and they are not cheap to buy – it actually gives you a great sense of wellbeing when you invest in items you love and you got it that little bit cheaper.
If you do wish to shop, I recommend visiting the stores rather than online. This will be the most cost-effective way for you to manage your budget.
When you shop in person, you can try-on which means you are not buying more than one size. If you only buy what fits, what you love and what you need, then you have no reason to handle returns. Plus when we shop in person, we buy a lot less.
If online is the only way you will shop, then fill your basket to your heart’s content, but then walk away from the basket for 24 hours (I don’t care if they will only ‘hold it’ for an hour – it’s a marketing tool to make you spend in the moment, it’s not real).
24 hours later, your heart won’t be in it as much and you can then think with your head – a much smarter option if you want to control your finances.
A FINAL THOUGHT
If the habits you put in place for January work for you and makes you feel good, carry them on into February and beyond – you don’t need to tell anyone!