January can be a difficult time for many reasons. The festive merriment has faded, the temperature has dropped even further and your bank balance may look particularly unhealthy.

Over the festive period it’s easy to get swept up in all of the sales, spend too much on presents and go on too many celebratory nights out. 

It can be challenging to get your finances back on track in January, especially for students and graduates who may already be strapped for cash.

So, what’s the best way to ensure you meet your financial goals and manage money responsibly year-round?

Declutter and sell unwanted items

January is the perfect time to have a sort-out. Look through your wardrobe, under your bed and what’s kept in storage to see if there is anything you can part with. But don’t just throw them in the bin, consider selling them online or donating to a charity shop or shelter.

If you have received gifts over Christmas that you’re certain won’t be used, it might be worth considering giving them to someone else who will enjoy them; instead of stashing them away in a drawer.

Create a budget plan

A budget is a fundamental part of keeping on top of your finances. Without knowing exactly how much money you have coming in and going out each month, it’s impossible to figure out what you can save and spend. However, many students arrive at university without knowing how to manage money.

To begin, track every essential monthly outgoing and subtract that from your income. This may include rent, bills, and supermarket shops.

You will likely adjust your budget each month, depending on how closely you follow it and whether your financial situation changes.

To make yourself more conscious of your spending habits, take out the amount you want to spend over one week in cash and only spend what you have on you.

You could also consider using a bill-splitting service. With Split The Bills we do the hard work of setting up accounts and direct debits with your electricity, gas, and water providers. We ensure the bill is split equally across your house and ensure everyone pays their share. All you have to do is pay one neat bill every month (no matter your useage), meaning you can have peace of mind and easily budget for the rest of your expenses.

Keep on top of your bills

When living with a partner or housemates, it can be easy to offload the responsibility of sorting bills to someone else, especially if you’re paying bills for the first time. However, this can make it difficult to keep on top of the utility costs, especially if price increases occur.

Joint accounts can be created to ensure everyone can keep track of all bill payments. However, this may result in bad credit scores for all account holders if anyone already has bad credit, if the account goes overdrawn or if payments are late. Speak with your bank for further advice.

 

Job opportunities

When you realise you don’t quite have enough money to justify your Christmas spending it might be worth considering how to earn some extra cash.

If you are a student, you could get a part-time job if you don’t have one already and if you do, see if you can pick up a few extra shifts.

Young professionals with full-time jobs may be able to do some overtime, which can be great for catching up on work from the Christmas break while making extra money. However, if there isn’t a possibility of obtaining a pay increase, it might be worth seeking other job opportunities. January and February can be a great time to find a new role as businesses often gain updated budgets and may have postponed hiring new staff over the festive period.

Although checking your finances after Christmas can be overwhelming, it isn’t too late to put your money back on track. Setting goals, changing your spending habits and creating a budget will help you meet your New Year resolutions.

Split The Bills is not a financial advisor. This should not be considered as professional financial advice. Do your own research & consult a professional financial advisor before making any financial decisions!

poppyhewgill

When To Set Up Student Bills: The Ultimate Guide

The move from first to second year at university often comes with a lot of change as most students will have to start paying bills for the first time. In this feature we discuss how you can keep your finances organised and pay bills responsibly.

Read More »
poppyhewgill

Is It Worth Getting A Fixed Energy Tariff?

The move from first to second year at university often comes with a lot of change as most students will have to start paying bills for the first time. In this feature we discuss how you can keep your finances organised and pay bills responsibly.

Read More »
poppyhewgill

Does A Student Loan Cover Accommodation Costs?

The move from first to second year at university often comes with a lot of change as most students will have to start paying bills for the first time. In this feature we discuss how you can keep your finances organised and pay bills responsibly.

Read More »