After Christmas Blues: Recovering Your Finances

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s all about celebrations, family and coming together. We know that the real message is not about money and commerce. However, there’s no escaping that it’s an expensive time, especially if you have kids and a large family.

Christmas can be stressful, in terms of making sure everyone receives a gift they like, getting everything completed on time and stretching your finances to breaking point. That lull after Christmas and New Year can be even more stressful. You’ve spent more than you can afford and you have until the end of January before you’re paid again. What can you do to raise a little short-term cash to tide you over and take the edge off the after-Christmas blues?

Work Out A Budget
Start by working out how much money you have available and what you will need to make it until the end of the month. Though this may seem daunting, it’s much better to know where you stand so you can take action. Include all your incomings and outgoings.

Is It Possible To Delay Any Bills?
Are there any bills that could be delayed a month or so? Go through and work out what could reasonably wait. You may need to phone around, explain the situation and ask for an extension on payments.

Short-Term Cash
Is it possible to raise some short-term cash? Could family help out by providing you with a short-term loan? Or is it feasible to obtain an advance on your salary? If you’re in good standing with your employer, the latter suggestion might be an option. Another option is to check with your bank as to whether they can extend your overdraft facility for a few weeks.

You may also be able to raise funds through services such as www.cashfloat.co.uk. They provide short-term loan solutions even if your credit rating is less than satisfactory.

Make Savings
Are there any areas that you can make some instant savings? For example, by canceling subscriptions or downgrading accounts such as Sky or mobile phone services? If you’re used to buying a coffee each day on your way to work, this will mount up over a month. Consider taking your own instead.

Your food shop is another area where significant savings can be made. Check out the following suggestions:

  • Don’t default to your usual supermarket; consider other cheaper options and shop around
  • Cut coupons out of the newspaper and utilize your loyalty card points
  • Work out your meals for each day of the week and use this plan to write up a shopping list
  • Never go shopping without a comprehensive list and stick to it carefully
  • Don’t be swayed by supermarket promotions without reading the fine print
  • Look for areas where you can buy in volume for the month to make overall savings
  • Avoid quick meal options that can be expensive and make your own instead
  • Cut out ready meals and takeaways completely and freeze your own meals made from scratch

Travel cards can be expensive and can eat into your monthly income. Is there a cheaper solution you could adopt for the month? For example, would a season bus ticket be cheaper than a train ticket? Or, is it possible to walk or cycle part or the whole way to work? You may have to be organized and get up a little earlier, but it’s just for the month until you’re back on your feet again.

Selling Items
Do you have any unwanted items that you could sell to raise some short-term cash? There are lots of online channels such as www.ebay.co.uk that will make the process easier. Check out the local paper for car boot sales. It’s surprising how much money can be made in the morning and you get to declutter a little at the same time.

Making And Selling
Do you have creative or practical talents/skills? Do you enjoy knitting, sewing, drawing or making jewelry in your spare time? If so, could you sell some items to raise a little extra cash? Time is of course a factor, and so items that are time-consuming to make may not be relevant. But if it’s possible to spend a weekend making, this may be a viable option for you. There are lots of channels for selling good quality homemade products, such as Etsy and Folksy. Or, you could sell at a local craft fair.

With a little careful planning, some strategic cuts, and a little creativity, it’s possible to make your finances stretch a little bit further. So your New Year can happy and stress-free.

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