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How to survive the worst financial month of the year!

There’s no doubt that January is the worst time of year for our wallets. Financially hungover after splurging throughout the festive season, our budget can be stretched pretty thin, and we can’t afford to crumble at the start of the year!

South Africans are notoriously bad at saving, and getting into debt is an ever-looming threat in our struggling economy. It’s too late now to regret that big Christmas purchase or the too many times we went out for dinner and drinks, but it’s not too late to get your act together! Here are some tips to help get you through the dreaded January blues and survive till payday.

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Get a handle on your financial situation.

There’s no beating around the bush with this one, even if the prospect seems scary. Sit down and get to grips with your finances, being real about how much money you have, don’t have, and need to have to get through the month. You need to have the means to pay for your fixed expenditures like your taxes, your insurance, house and car payments, school fees, etc.

Work out where you can save money

This relates closely to our first tip. You’ll want to save money wherever you can, and if that means cancelling your Netflix subscription for the month or buying less prepaid airtime, so be it! You can also take a look at your insurance and other contracts to see where you can lower your rates and expenditure.

 

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Have the talk with your family.

Everyone living in your household should know the situation with your finances, to avoid any misunderstandings and get real about saving for the month. It’s easier to save when all parties are on the same page and supportive of one another.

Cut out unnecessary luxuries!

We’re all guilty of ordering take out rather than cooking or splurging on treats and goodies on a bad day. Save your money and say no to take out and restaurants, as well as other luxuries that quickly add up. Cooking your own food is far cheaper than eating out, and you can plan around your meals to cook cheap, large meals that can easily be stored away and frozen to enjoy on another day.

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Plan your battles. Some things can come later.

Some things have to be paid for immediately, like rent and bills. But other things can be put off if need be, like winter school uniforms, excess stationery, or those curtains you’ve been eyeing for your living room. You can pick your battles and plan around the urgency and importance of your expenses, arranging your payments in order of importance.

Use those coupons and points!

This is where those loyalty cards finally come in handy. Use up those points and snatch those deals to save money on food, clothing and other essentials. Accumulated points help you purchase items you couldn’t afford otherwise.

You can also make use of popular deals apps and websites to get a hold of coupons and specials, like 2 for 1s and half-price deals. You can find these offers on sites like Daddy’s Deals, The Entertainer, and One Day Only to name a few.

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Special occasion? Treat yourself, just this once.

It can be incredibly demoralising to not have the chance to treat yourself, especially on a special occasion. If your birthday or anniversary is unfortunate to fall within the month of January, and you can afford to treat yourself, go out and enjoy some of the many specials the Mother City’s fine dining establishments. At the Rockwell Café & Bar, we host monthly specials, from half-priced steaks and craft brews to Tapas nights.

Do you have any other tips and tricks for saving during the January Blues? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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