Never mind the Twelve Days of Christmas, because when it comes to December, it’s all about trying to eke out every last penny from the last pay cheque of the year. Most of us will get paid early in December and have to make our cash last five or even six weeks before our accounts are replenished – which is hard when the festive season is all about…well, being festive. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to that lunch out or those cheeky drinks after work but a tenner here, a fiver there, it all adds up. So, here are some top tips to making those wages last through the January blues.

  1. Sell unwanted Christmas presents: It sounds ungrateful, but if you’re not going to get any use out of a gift, what’s the point in holding on to it? Just because you don’t have a penchant for scented candles that smell a bit like toilet cleaner, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. Online auction and marketplace platforms will sometimes take a percentage cut of your final selling price – but it still results in more money than you had before.
  2. Get kitchen savvy: Turkey leftovers might be boring but it’ll save you a small fortune in your food bills. Cook up batches and freeze them and you’ll have home cooked ready meals for Jan. This also means you don’t have to worry about cooking something from scratch when you get home from a long day’s work!
  3. Visit friends and relatives: Instead of spending all your money on nights out or restaurant meals, dedicate some time to catching up with friends and family in the comfort of their own home. And if you happen to turn up while they’re about to start cooking and they kindly offer you a portion? Well it would be rude not to accept right?
  4. Turn down the heating: Say what now? In January? You can stay warm by layering up – who said the Christmas jumpers had to get packed away? And if Santa brought you a onesie – well, lucky you, because you’ll be extra toasty.
  5. What January sale? Let’s be honest, you don’t really need that vegetable steamer or cold press juicer, do you? The January sale is no longer a diary event and the sales are on pretty much all year round; so, save your cash for when you’re feeling a bit more flush.
  6. The great outdoors: If you’re really organised, buy the kids some outdoor toys instead of computer games for Christmas, that way you can all go outside and save on the heating and electricity. Plus, it’s good for you – just wrap up warm.
  7. New Year’s resolutions: It’s a new year – so that means a new you, perhaps it’s time to give up smoking or another expensive habit – you’ll save yourself a packet.
  8. Become a coupon king or queen: You know that person that stands at the checkout rifling through their purse for the vouchers they’ve carefully cut out? Well that could be you. Don’t underestimate what saving a little bit here and there can do for your overall finances.
  9. Get a better deal: Don’t settle for the status quo; comparethemarket.com for a better deal – shaving some pounds off your home and car insurance doesn’t mean you have to cut back on cover. Plus, is that TV, broadband and mobile phone deal really the best you can find? Start doing your homework now for some longer-term savings.
  10. Start saving: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little nest egg? Well, seeing as you’ll be making some serious savings by staying in, eating leftovers or being fed by friends and family, January is the perfect time to start thinking about putting all those savings that you’re making in a savings account or cash ISA so find out which one’s right for you.

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