5 tips to beat the January blues

I once saw a meme that said “Aahh finally! The 6 months of January has ended!” This pretty much expressed how many people feel about January… its cold, dark and looong! Most employers pay their staff in mid-December so they may have spent their income even before the beginning of January.  In this blog I will be writing about tips to help you prepare for 2020.

  1. Review your Christmas and sales spending

On the run up to Christmas it is easy to lose track of how much you would have spent. It’s important to review your spending especially if you have over spent as this will help you to plan for the future. The best way to do this is to review your expenditure using bank accounts or saved receipts. Make a list of everything purchased and categorise them. Write down how much you spent in each of the categories and use this as a starting point for your 2020 Christmas budget. You can then use this as a savings goal for 2020 to ensure you don’t over spend and you are well prepared for the Christmas holidays.

Realising that you have overspent before the start of the month can cause anxiety. Fully understanding your financial situation may bring a sense of calmness as you can start to work on what you need to do. With calmness comes the clarity that is needed to make effective and realistic plans for the month ahead. Some creativity can be used to ensure no further money is used on non-essentials or cut back on certain items. 

2. Invite some friends over and ask them to bring a dish

Having something to look forward to is a good way to release the stress. Host a get-together with some of your friends in the middle of the month and ask them to bring their favourite dish and a drink. You don’t have to spend additional money as you can use food you already have to make your dish. You can play games or watch a movie and it won’t cost a lot. 

3. Review your goals for 2020 using SMART

Setting goals which are achievable is important. I like to use the SMART model for setting my goals. SMART basically means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound. Here is an example of using the SMART model and not using it.

Goal without SMART Goal with SMART
 I want to save more in 2020 Specific: Save an additional £1,200 during the year to invest.

Measurable – £1,200 by the end of the year. I will break this down to manageable chunks of £100 per month. 

Achievable – I can cut down on nonessential expenses like shopping in my budget (e.g. cutting down on grocery shopping on perishables which I end up throwing away (Est. saving £50) or not upgrading my phone contract for one more year which will reduce my phone bill – Est. saving £50) to be able to free up the £100 per month or create another source of income.  

Relevant – This aligns with my overall goal of attaining financial freedom  

Time-bound – I will save £100 per month so that at the end of the year I will have £1,200

Setting goals using the SMART pushes you to ask yourself questions about your goals and make them realistic and manageable. On the example above, the goal without SMART is not specific, difficult to measure and achieve. With SMART you can easily put in structures to measure your progress.

4. Plan a holiday

Planning a holiday in advance will give you something exciting to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be somewhere far away, you can even plan a staycation. The good thing about planning in advance is that prices are likely to be cheaper and you can get the best deal. You will have time to make comparisons to get good deals and save up for additional money to spend on other things.

5. Rest and look after yourself

This is an important tip which gets overlooked most of the time. Take time out to rest and look after your physical and mental health. As a mother I usually find that at any given time I have about 5 to do lists running in my head. I usually find it very relaxing to sit down with a cup of tea and just write about anything that comes to my mind. This helps me download the thoughts in my head and to also reflect. I enjoy taking walks with my family which helps me to look after my physical health whilst spending time with them. 

Happy new year!

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