January is here, in all its glory… At least the days are noticeably longer now, but then again, January is a long old month full stop. You know you should be working on paying off your credit card and overdraft in time for Easter at the latest, but it’s so hard, so dull, so painful. It doesn’t have to be such a grind, though. All you have to do is spend smart and make a few adjustments here and there. Read on to find out more about ways to pay off debts and save money without even breaking into a sweat. It can be so easy…
Disclaimer: ADVERTORIAL FEATURE.
Have a vegan or vegetarian January
You don’t have to convert completely, don’t worry. Instead, have a think about how you can reduce or replace the meat in your favourite dishes. Minced beef is by far the easiest to deal with, so replace half or all of the mince with lentils, for example. This is just one idea; there are so many more substitutions you can make and you never know, you could find a whole new range of dishes to impress your friends with.
Don’t buy any new cosmetics or products until March
Unless you really need to, of course! The chances are that someone will have bought you fancy bubble bath, shower gel or a soap bar for Christmas. If you’re a serious product junkie then you probably get loads each Christmas and birthday (don’t try to deny it…). Make a pact with yourself to stay out of your favourite bath bomb store until you’re eking out the dregs of your last bottle. This might be mid-February, it could even be April. Whenever it is, it’s X-number of weeks that you haven’t spent unnecessary money on gels and unguents.
Take unwanted gifts back to the shop
We all do it – we say we’ll get those trousers altered, or see if those boots will “give” a little. However, we never do and they never do, so just take action. If the trousers are too long, take them back to the shop and get a refund. If you don’t have the receipt, then sell them online – don’t just leave them languishing in a drawer for years until they’re too dated to attract a decent price.
Concentrate on the debt with the most interest
Most post-Christmas debts are on store cards, credit cards and overdrafts, so look at which one is accumulating the most interest and focus on that most. If you can, transfer your credit card balance to a 0% option and focus on your overdraft for a few months. If you can’t do this, then you’ll need to make as many overpayments on your card balance as you can. Every extra pound you pay off means less interest in the end, so even if it’s just an extra tenner a month, it’ll help.
Shop around for cheaper utilities
Make January the month when you look for cheaper utility providers or ask your existing providers if they can offer a better deal to retain you. Look at the difference and commit to transferring this amount into your most pressing debt each month for the coming year.