The New Year has a way of being both exciting and sobering at the same time.
Having a fresh calendar and an opportunity to start over sparks all kinds of motivations in the form of New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions often revolve around getting in shape or losing weight.
Perhaps this is spurned on by all the food we eat over the holidays.
But then again, the New Year drops us right into the middle of January, with no real holidays to look forward to and tons of work in front of us. It also happens to be one of the coldest months of the winter season.
So while the snow piles up and we’re stuck indoors dealing with our holiday sugar-crash, we’ve got a great opportunity to reflect on our finances and come up with new plans to save some money.
But what kind of savings opportunities does January bring?
We all know that it’s not going to be our heating bill. Yet there are plenty of areas where we can save in January that should be noted and taken advantage of.
1. Gym memberships
January is one of the biggest months of the year for fitness clubs and gyms, which causes many of them to cut prices and make it easier for people to join.
While some might raise prices during this time, a lot of clubs offer special deals and discounts that you can’t get during the rest of the year. It’s better for them to get more people into contracts than it is to overcharge for just a few; so if you were thinking about joining, check up on some of the special offers.
You might just save some money compared to waiting.
Being stuck inside isn’t always fun, and some people can even experience increased levels of frustration and seasonal depression as a result.
However, it does mean that you’re saving money on petrol and whatever you might be spending if you were to go out for an evening on the town. Entertainment at home is much cheaper than entertainment out. Try a DVD rental or go with a Netflix account.
3. Shopping and after-Christmas sales
December is hands-down the most lucrative month for most major retailers. This means that afterwards, they’ve got some inventory that they’ll do just about anything to get rid of. This is why you get after-Christmas sales and really good deals on clothes, gift items, decorations and anything else that was part of their November and December inventory.
They’re trying to move things out for the spring and summer seasons, so it’s not a bad idea to do your Christmas shopping in January. It’s possible that you could save a lot of money.
4. Start a New Year tax-deductible envelope
Keeping receipts of tax-deductible expenses, like travelling in your own car for work or certain other costs, will save you money when tax season comes around next year. A good way to keep track of everything is simply to keep it in an envelope labeled “Tax-Deductible Expenses for 2014.”
5. Start a Christmas fund
Christmas can wreak havoc on our personal finances, often causing people to go into significant credit card debt just to make it through the holiday season.
Try to start setting money aside in a Christmas fund in January.
If you’re able to keeping contributing throughout the year, £30 a month means you’ll have £360 by the following December. Many banks offer Christmas funds, though you can set one up yourself by working it into your budget or by leaving the money in your savings account.
A fresh start
January is all about a fresh start for a lot of people, and it can certainly provide the motivation and opportunity for you to save some money and set in motion some good habits for the year to come.
If you’re frustrated with the cold weather and sad that you don’t have any more holiday fun to look forward to, buckle down and save some money so that you can enjoy the next holiday season debt-free.
January affords us some unique money-saving opportunities, so be sure to take advantage of them.
It’s a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep.
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.