It’s tricky to be frugal during the festive season. There’s all the gifts and food to buy and parties to attend. Many of us have to spend money to travel home or to see family and friends.
Those spends quickly add up. Because, when you’re caught up in all the fun, who’s counting? But when the last strand of tinsel has been vacuumed up, we’re often left with a painful holiday hangover. And boy, does it hurt.
Instead of moping, use these tips to attack those financial woes head on—and start the new year on a money-saving tack.
Control your credit
If you struggle to budget and control your spending, especially on plastic (I mean, it’s not real money, right?) then think about cutting up your credit cards. It’ll be painful, but using a debit card or even cold, hard cash makes it harder to spend money you don’t actually have. And that’s a good thing—trust us.
If credit cards encourage you to spend more, it might be time to cut them out (and cut them up).
On the flip side, if you’re the sensible type, using a credit card for everyday spending can be a great way to rack up rewards or cash back. This only really pays off if you’re able to, well, pay it off—each month, in full—to avoid accruing interest. If so, this new year saving could earn you enough points to get home next holiday season, or build up cash back to offset your next big expense.
Create invisible savings
Shifting money from your current account to a savings scheme can feel painful. What if you need that money, right? But you won’t miss what you never had. Or, what you forgot you had. Set up a monthly standing order to transfer a set amount into your chosen savings account. Start small and increase it depending on what you can afford. It's probably more than you think and, after a while, it’ll feel no different than your cell phone bill.
Keep a diary
No, we’re not talking “my crush smiled at me today” journals. Buy a money diary or just a nice notebook and jot down every cent you spend over a week or a month. And by everything, we mean your day-to-day living expenses, one-off splurges and random “it just spoke to me” purchases. (Yes, that matcha tea does count.) Seeing all those spends in black and white really puts into perspective how even seemingly inconsequential purchases add up. And just the thought of having to write each transaction down might make you hesitate before buying yet another pair of boots. Maybe.
Writing down every cent you spend is a nifty way of working out where and how you could save some cash.
Check all your bills
A money diary could help you tackle your new year saving, and rethink expenses like that magazine you subscribe to (but never read) or a phone bill that could be cheaper. It might seem like a chore to compare all your bills, but even deals that are a few dollars cheaper really add up. And if you own a car, think about switching to a vehicle-sharing network and becoming a full-time Zipster. All that cash spent on maintenance and operating costs could be put to much better use. Like zipping off on a fab weekend away.
Find a money-saving mentor
You know that friend who used to set aside all her pocket money and actually has, like, proper savings? It’s time to find out how. Ask them to tell you all their tips and tricks, whether it’s shopping at a cheaper grocery store, waiting for stuff to hit the sales, browsing thrift stores or just sniffing out free things to do. Buy them dinner in return—the savings should hopefully be worth it.
Take your most money-savvy friend out to lunch or dinner, and pick their brains about just how they do it.