Why does January feel so loooong, even though it has 31 days, just like plenty of other months? After the fun and games of the festive season, when many of us might have got a little carried away with the spoils, the first month of the year stretches away like a long, hot road through the desert, with the oasis of payday so far away it seems impossible to reach. It’s not called Janu-worry for nothing.
But don’t panic, and even more importantly, don’t take on debt to make it through the final two weeks of the month. Even if you overspent a bit in December, here are some tips on how to stretch your money without compromising your financial health.
Do the maths
If you were paid early in December, around the 15th, then you’ll know that January is not a normal month when it comes to finances. Take a deep breath and do the maths. Creating a monthly budget is one of the most powerful ways to take control of your cash. The only way you’ll ever manage to clear debt or start saving is if you know how much you’re spending. Luckily, 22seven makes this super easy — link your accounts and you’ll see an overview of your finances, with how much you’ve spent in different categories like food, clothes, school fees and more.
In the meantime, to help you get through the next couple of weeks, work out how much money you have left and divide it by the number of days remaining until you get paid. Don’t go above that amount each day. If you feel it’s a bit late to make a budget for the rest of January, you can certainly start thinking about February.
Plan your meals for the next few weeks. Consider cooking one full meal that you can add to and adapt for the days following. For example, roast a chicken for dinner and turn it into chicken mayo and chicken salad for the next two lunches. Pack your own lunch and avoid buying expensive fast food at work.
Cash in your loyalty points
Have you been diligently accumulating loyalty points from your bank and various retailers? Well, January is the perfect time to cash in. Whether your points help you get a discount on fuel, food or toiletries, every rand counts and will help you get to payday without getting into debt.
Have fun for free
Just because you’re skimping and saving doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with family and friends. There are lots of inexpensive and free outings that you can do together, like picnicking in a park, visiting a museum or hiking in nature. Explore your city and you might find some hidden gems!
Avoid January sales
Yes, every shop is promising ‘unbelievable’ specials, but you’re smarter than that. The last thing you want to do right now is buy more stuff. Stop browsing online, limit your time at malls… Do what it takes to avoid temptation.
At the same time, have a look at all your debit orders and subscriptions and check if they’re all still necessary and relevant. Paying for a service you’re not using? Cancel it!
Turn 2022 into 2022seven
With two weeks left until the end of Janu-worry, remember that the main goal is to get to payday without having to take out a loan. Use the 22seven app to manage your money so that you can kick-start February with your full salary intact. You can do it!