The holiday season is often filled with joyful visits with beloved family members, where thoughtful gifts are exchanged. Although this is a time-honored tradition, surrounding the Christmas tree with gifts for family and friends can mean a tight January, financially speaking.
As your Christmas bills start piling up, it may become more critical than ever to find ways to cut down on costs. The January crunch has more to do with your dwindling bank account than the gloomy weather of the season. If you need to cut back on your budget, there are a few things that you can do to save money during the New Year.
From doing an internet search at home and visiting montanacapital.com for a loan to reevaluating your monthly and annual subscriptions, there are ways to cut your costs. Let’s look at a few thrifty ways to survive the January crunch.
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
The best way to start revising your spending budget is to have a clear understanding of where you are spending your money. For one month, keep track of all the money that you spend. Once you write down your expenses including items like groceries, entertainment, and utility bills, you will have a clear picture right in front of you of where your money is going. Take a long look at your spending and decide where you can afford to make cuts. You may be surprised how much money you are spending on things like takeout foods, entertainment or transportation.
If you were to sit down and make a list of all the subscriptions that you pay for each month, you might be astounded at the total cost. It doesn’t take long to rack up a hefty subscription bill from magazines, cable channels, and book clubs to online music platforms and gift boxes. This year, if you want to cut your spending budget, take a close look at your subscription list and decide what you can live without. Keep those that you consider a priority and put the others on hold for now or cancel them entirely.
DISCOVER YOUR INNER CHEF
Many people spend hundreds of dollars every month to take away food or eat out at restaurants. The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired people to try out their culinary muscles at home with worldwide restaurant closures. Dig out your old recipes and new cookbooks that you haven’t tried yet, and get busy creating something new in your own kitchen. Packing a bagged lunch, making your coffee at home for the office, and eating in over dining out can save you a bushel of money every month and help you make wiser food choices.
PUT ON A SWEATER
Your energy bill is an unavoidable expense, but there is no reason to waste your consumption. Making the smallest changes to your heating usage can save you up to 40% on your utility bills. You can stay cozy and comfortable during the winter months while still setting your thermostat a bit lower. Put on a warm sweater, or curl up with a plush blanket and turn your heating temperature down just a degree or two to see immediate savings. If your home has a wood fireplace, you can save money by heating your home with your stove instead of relying solely on your furnace.
Although there aren’t as many part-time jobs available in the New Year as there are during the Christmas rush, there are still ways to work a few hours to boost your paycheck. Retail outlets and grocery stores continue to look for help with the stocking while the pandemic once again surges across the country. You can earn money with your car by becoming an Uber driver and giving people a lift to their destination, or use your car to deliver food or parcels through Uber Eats or GrubHub.
PAY WITH CASH
It’s so easy these days to just simply swipe or tap a card to pay for purchases. When paying with credit or debit, it becomes harder to keep track of your spending. If you want to be more mindful about your spending, consider paying with cash. When you see the physical money being handed out, it can change your attitude about how much you are spending.
In many places, including gas stations, paying with cash might qualify you for a discount. Ask businesses whether or not they have any promotions for customers that are willing to pay with cash.
Your home and auto insurance is a necessary expense, but it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Talk to your insurance broker about switching to a company with lower rates or if they have any promotions going on that will bring your premiums down. You may also benefit from bundling your seperate coverage into one policy. Insurance providers often have discounted rates for seniors, and safe driving bonuses.
You may not think you can save a lot of money clipping coupons, but from groceries to entertainment, there are thousands of dollars of savings available if you know where to look. The January crunch can be challenging and it will take some effort to reduce your spending so that you can make it through. Going through your local newspapers and circulars, along with online sites like Groupon will open your eyes to the world of couponing. Save money on your groceries, your movie tickets and clothes shopping when you use the right coupon.
USE GIFT CARDS
Gift cards have become a universally loved gift that can be used any time during the year to save money. If you were lucky enough to receive some gift cards during the holidays, now is the time to take advantage of those gifts. Generalized gift cards like Visa, or Walmart cards can be used for everyday expenses like groceries or utility bills.
The New Year should be a time to reflect and concentrate on your future goals, and not a time to be stressed out about money. Try some of these thrifty ways to survive the January money crunch and greet the new year on a positive financial note.