Ask Grace: How to recover from an expensive Christmas
"I’m here to help you spend more wisely.
"With the cost of living rising each day, it means every penny counts, even for me.
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Getting on track with your finances
For many people holidays like Christmas mean more expenses - presents, festive food, the Christmas tree and decorations all add up.
The new year is a good time to get back on track with your finances. Here are my tips and advice on how to recover from an expensive Christmas:
1.Unwanted Christmas gifts:
If you’ve received a Christmas gift that isn’t right for you think about how you can turn it into something that will be. Most stores have a post-Christmas returns policy allowing you to return unwanted gifts, without receipts, for store credit or exchanges.
2.Draft a budget:
Write down your monthly income against your monthly bills so you always know how much money you have left over. Keep this on your phone and make sure you check and update it regularly.
3.Avoid January sales:
It’s easy to be tempted by bargains and buy things that you don’t really need. Instead, try a ‘spending detox’ and track what you save - you’ll be impressed with the difference it can make.
It may sound old-fashioned, but a good way to stop yourself from unnecessary spending is to leave your cards at home and take cash instead so that you can see how much you have left.
If you feel that’s difficult, try to keep your weekly spending money in a separate bank account from your monthly bills, or savings, so that you don’t accidentally dip into these.
5.Review your finances:
If you have a credit card with a high interest rate you could consider a 0% interest balance transfer credit card with a 0% fee or consider swapping your bank account to one which rewards you for joining them.
Here are some useful links to help you do this:
Set financial goals and objectives. Think about what you want to achieve and plan how to get there, for example, do you want to save more money, pay off a debt, or spend less on something?
Set yourself a deadline to achieve your goals and remember to review your plan monthly.
7.Save money through apps and social networking sites:
There are lots of apps which allow you to borrow, receive and give away items, to those in your neighbourhood, for free rather than throwing them away.
OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.
Freecycle: give and receive items for free in your own town.
Gumtree is a website advertising second-hand items for sale, and sometimes for free.