January is that time of the year when all the bills pile up and when we have to start paying for all those nice things we bought before Christmas. For most of us pay day feels like it will never come and avoiding the shops is a must. So what can you do in 2018 to make your hard earned cash stretch a little bit further so you don’t end up strapped for cash.

If you, like me work full time then you know how nice it is to treat yourself to something small once in a while. When I treat myself to something I also use it as an opportunity to save. Now I am talking about nonessential treats. So if I decide to splurge on a large Americano from Starbucks that I don’t really need I ask myself if I buy this coffee can I put the same amount into my savings jar. So if you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the treat either. Go without.

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recently I have started to use the “24 hour rule”. This rule helps me to avoid buying expensive or unnecessary items just because I received an email about how lovely they would look on me. If you put the item in your shopping cart leave it and come back after at least 24 hours. This will give you time to really ask yourself do you need it and maybe you will realise that you have something very similar hanging in your wardrobe already.

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One thing I did last week was to unsubscribe from a lot of marketing emails. I work in the area of Data Protection so by law, each email is required to have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom of the email. Ask yourself do you really need to have all these emails clogging up your inbox and you might avoid temptation purchasing that something that you never ever wanted.

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Stop using your credit card. I used to be a disaster for using my credit card. I used to barely pay off the interest but then I realised that I needed to take control of how I used it. If you are having trouble controlling your credit card use, but don’t want to cut it up in case you need it (to buy that cheap Ryanair flight), freeze your credit card in a bag of water. Needing to thaw your card will force you to really consider the purchase before you make it.

Another way of saving is by bringing your lunch to work. Apart from you knowing exactly what your eating (all those greens) you are saving money everyday. If buying your lunch at work costs around €5 everyday, but making lunch at home costs about €2.50, then in a year, you could save approx. €500. Think how handy that money would come in next January.

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Finally one more easy way of saving is the next time you make your favourite curry or stew, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day. That way you can get two meals out of one and use the ingredients more efficiently with less waste. If you don’t want to freeze it bring some for your lunch the following day and heat it up at work. Sometimes dinners taste even nicer the following day.

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And finally don’t forget how lucky you might be if you stopped by a thrift shop. Next time you clean out your wardrobe drop your nice bits that you no longer want to one of the many charity shops. Who knows while dropping off a bag of clothes you might be fortunate enough to pick up a nice top or handbag for yourself. Check out my blog on second hand shops.

Thanks for reading

E

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