Welcome back everyone! It’s 2018, we’re going back to school and holidays are most definitely over. Meanwhile it’s cold, there’s nothing to look forward to and most of us, including myself, are in the red after a Christmas blowout.
I was lucky to be able to borrow from my emergency fund so I won’t be dreading the credit card interest. Even so, I managed to go a shocking £1,000 over my monthly budget (expensive technology gifts, mainly) which will take a while to repay. As I’m anticipating a pretty parsimonious January, I thought I’d share my ideas on how to save cash to pay back that festive debt as soon as possible.
1. Don’t spend money to save time
It’s quick and easy to get a takeaway cappuccino or sandwich but it adds up to a fair price if you’re doing it every day. If you drank your coffee at home or at the office, think how much you could save. Making a packed lunch is also a great cost-cutter. The same goes for transport. Could you walk or take the bus rather than an Uber? Yes, it will take a little longer but it’s only for a couple of months – relax and arrive under your own steam.
2. Use what you have
What’s the point of buying more food when there’s plenty still to eat? Lord knows what I’m going to do with all those tubs of Celebrations but I’ve got enough leftover turkey to korma us until April. Instead of going out to eat, I’ve set myself a challenge to use up the hundred little packets of whatnot which have been lingering at the back of the cupboard.
3. No further expenditure
Of course you want to get going on your New Year’s resolution but do you really need to sign up to an expensive gym and buy lots of Sweaty Betty leggings? Maybe it’s better to do a few runs in the park in your old trainers first to see whether you can hack the exercise or give the time required to do it. And avoid those sales. Really, you don’t need it.
4. Stockpile money saved from going without
If you’re giving up alcohol/meat/chocolate, collect the money into one place. Seeing the amount grow will help you stay on track with your regime and be hugely satisfying when you use it to pay off debt.
5. Sell unwanted items
Now Santa’s brought lots of new stuff, don’t just boot out the old things to Oxfam or landfill, sell them. As you won’t be going out, there’s plenty of time to sort through the attic/garage, collate unwanted stuff, master the technology and flog it all on eBay or Gumtree. You can also sell gift vouchers for cash on the Zeek website. [UPDATE 7 FEBRUARY 2019: ZEEK IS IN ADMINISTRATION AND MAY STOP TRADING, WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.]
6. Switch to cheaper energy deals
Gas and electricity prices have recently risen but there are much better deals out there if you look. Find your annual usage on your latest bill or online account and hit the comparison sites. If you’re stuck on a standard tariff, this is a superfast way to save hundreds of pounds.
See our SMM guide to dealing with debt here.