How To Avoid January’s Financial Hangover

December can often be an expensive month. Whether it's purchasing Christmas gifts, attending festive parties or buying all the trimmings to host family and friends, costs can quickly add up. Come January, the financial hangover after a month of fun can feel very real. So read on to check out our tips on stay on top of your money in the New Year.

The financial hangover of Christmas excesses can feel very real come January. However, our tips might help see you start the year in style.

1. Create a budget to avoid a financial hangover

It might seem obvious, but when life gets busy a budget can fall off your to-do list. Set aside time to list all your fixed outgoings, such as household bills, rent, mortgage or childcare, and look back over 3-6 months of bank statements to come to realistic figures for your flexible costs such as weekly grocery bills or social costs. Writing everything down will enable you to clearly see what disposable income you have and help you to not overspend.

2. Clear out the cupboards

Our research found there will be an estimated £3.5bn worth of unwanted Christmas gifts cluttering up our cupboards come January. If you received a present that isn’t quite to your taste, don’t leave it to languish. Consider passing it on to someone who might need the item or list it in our For Sale categories to make a little money. For a quick sale, take time to look at similar listings to gauge your pricing and don’t forget to label the item as ‘brand new with tags’. It could be the perfect money-saver for someone else looking for a gift.

3. Review your spending

Many of us are guilty of signing up to subscriptions that we either forget about or don’t use enough to justify the cost. So make January the month where you review your outgoings. Write down all your direct debits and ask yourself if you love it and use it. If you don’t, perhaps there’s a cheaper alternative. For example, a monthly gym fee could be cancelled in favour of at home work-out kit and a magazine subscription could be replaced with a free library card.

4. Think ‘free’ first

When you need an item, it’s easy to jump online and order the product new. However, there are thousands of Good Finds in our Freebies category all from great homes that no longer need what they are listing. Sharing amongst the local community is at the heart of Gumtree, who knows – perhaps a neighbour already has exactly what you need.

5. Embrace cash

When paying with a debit or credit card it can be difficult to envisage the actual money you are spending. However, if you pay in cold, hard cash the transaction can feel more real. To help you stick to a budget, take out the money you want to spend in the week. If you need more, physically having to go back to a cash point or bank will give you time to think whether you really need or just want the item.