Spent too much at Christmas and New Year’s Eve? Finances are sure to be tight in January but, with many others in the same boat, now’s the time to resolve to sort out your spending in 2013.
Write a list of all your income, including regular overtime and things such as tax credits. Then write down all your expenditure. Take the second total away from the first, and that’s what you have left to spend each month. Divide it by four (or five, if it’s a long calendar month) to break it down into a weekly sum.
It can help to write down everything you spend, or to sign up for online banking to keep track of what’s in your bank account. There is no doubt that the cost of essentials such as food and fuel is rising, but there are deals to be found by using price comparison websites. Use supermarket loyalty cards to collect points and you might find it helpful to go shopping armed only with cash, not credit or debit cards.
If you are really struggling financially, then make 2013 the year you sort it out once and for all. Speak to your bank manager or energy provider if you don’t think you can meet essential bills or mortgage payments. They might be able to suggest reduced payments or a short payment holiday until you get back on your feet. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau is there to help, while your local council’s website might also have links to useful agencies.