If you are feeling a bit meh after all the celebrations you are not alone. And I’m not talking about all that booze, chocolate and pudding you inhaled over the silly season …
Nope, I’m referring to that sick feeling you get when you are scared to look at your credit card balance.
Or when you go to pay for the groceries and wonder if your card will be declined.
All is not lost. In fact, right now, when you are feeling a bit coy over your finances, this is the perfect time to put a few easy strategies into play that can really help you out for the whole year.
Do one tip – or do them all – but do them right now!
1. WEEKLY DIRECT DEBIT
Set up a direct debit from your main account to a savings account for the same amount each pay. That can be as little as $20. Choose a figure that you won’t miss. This fund can then go towards buying Christmas gifts or your big yearly Christmas food shop.
2. DITCH EXPENSIVE APPS YOU DON’T USE ANYMORE
This will involve looking at that scary credit card statement. Apps are so easy to keep adding to your phone, but apps with subscriptions can add up financially. If you aren’t using them, why pay for the privilege of having them?
The most common subscription apps to look at ditching include Spotify, My Fitness App, Strava, Audible, or any of the numerous photo editing apps.
3. START COOKING AT HOME
Takeout is delicious and very convenient. But it is also expensive and can be bad for you. Instead, start to prepare simple meals for the family that you can throw together quickly on weeknights. A weekly menu plan that includes meals that your family enjoys will help you stay on track by having all the available ingredients on hand – and it will save you money on your weekly shop.
Take turns as a family to do the cooking – including the kids. Cooking is a life skill!
4. HAVE AN “EMERGENCY FUND”
Right now an emergency fund might sound out of the realms of possibility. But when you start seeing a few savings in other areas by “not buying those pair of boots” or “doing a Maccas run every Friday night”, stash that cash away for unexpected expenses.
Having that fund can make you sleep well at night, knowing that if things do hit the fan, you have a lifeline to save you!
5. PROMISE YOURSELF “NO IN-BETWEEN SHOPPING”
Get all you need in the one shop or do without – like we did as kids when we only went to the supermarket once a week. You can easily spend an extra $50 per trip when only “popping in for a litre of milk”.
6. MAKE A NO MORE NEW STUFF PROMISE TO YOURSELF
Personally, I will not buy myself any new clothing or shoes until I have paid off my credit card.
So anytime I’m tempted to “Add to Cart”, I remind myself of the promise and instead put that cash straight on my outstanding card balance. Once the debt is paid off, I may then buy myself something fabulous.
It’s become quite the social movement – shopping your own wardrobe and no new clothing purchases.
The aim of the promise is to reward with something personal to you. Clothing and shoes aside, that can include nights out at the pub, fancy dinners or even nail refills. Give yourself an incentive to get that card paid off as quickly as possible.