Beat the Christmas cash blues

MONEY CHECK: Look after the pounds now to get ahead for next Christmas.
MONEY CHECK: Look after the pounds now to get ahead for next Christmas.
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Christmas is a time to eat, drink and most definitely be merry, all of which can take their toll on family bank accounts.

Personal loan provider, Hitachi Personal Finance, has collated a simple list of top tips for getting finances back on track post-Christmas.

Refresh your budget - You may already have a budget and it might not feel like anything has changed, but use the New Year as an opportunity to look at your expenditure and update it where necessary. That extra £5 on the car insurance or added spend on a gym membership may not seem like much, but it can all add up and needs accounting for. Keeping your budget in-check means you will have a clearer idea of what you have left over each month, reducing the likelihood of overspending.

Compare the market - While in the process of updating your budget, it’s a good opportunity to also look at your bills to see where you can get a better deal and save money. Looking around at different deals on your utility bills can often result in significant savings, so get these in place as early as possible, to put finances in the best position for the year ahead.

De-clutter - Whether it’s duplicate presents or clothes that just aren’t quite to your taste, we all end up with things we don’t necessarily want or need at Christmas. What’s more, when the shiny new things replace the existing ones, the old items often end up tucked away in a cupboard to gather dust. But before you reach for the bin bags, consider selling your unwanted items to earn a bit of extra cash.

Get organised - If you have any debt that you’re trying to get rid of, then take stock and prioritise what you want to pay off first. Those with higher interest rates are likely to cost you more in the long-run, so it’s a good idea to start with these, and leave any with no interest until last.

Go dry for January - The Dry January initiative is not only a great way to get health and fitness back on track in the New Year, but it’s also an effective way of easing pressure on finances. Get your friends and family on-board to take on the challenge together and you’ll soon see how much you can save by giving up alcohol. If cutting out that glass of wine isn’t for you, or you’re not a big drinker anyway, consider cutting out something else that you do spend on, such as meals out or Saturday shopping sprees.

Start saving for next year - It may seem too early to be thinking about next year when this one is just starting but it’s never too soon to start planning. January is a great time to get a savings plan in place for the year ahead, so you don’t have to suffer the festive hangover this time next year. Factor your savings plan into your budget and keep a regular check on it throughout the year to make sure it’s feasible and on track.