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The Financial Hangover

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With the presents unwrapped and the New Year celebrations a distant memory, January can be a financially bleak time for a lot of people, statistically speaking it also has the most depressing day of the year – the 24th January.

Everyone talks about it like it’s a scheduled annual event, The Financial Hangover. Nursing a holiday hangover is never fun but many important lessons can be learned as a result. There are a few steps we can take to avoid financial woes next January with good planning and budget management.

Money skills take time to master, no matter what the season. Take ownership of your choices and truly resolve to do better this time next year.

Five top spending tips:

  1. Draw up a budget, and stick to it by withdrawing cash for all discretionary items.
  2. Make a habit of only using cash for your purchases, that way when the monthly cash runs out, you won’t be as likely to go over budget.
  3. If you live close to where you work, try leaving the car at home and walking. With the price of fuel today, this could get you fit and save you pennies!
  4. Make a grocery shopping list by planning your meals ahead of time and try to stick to your shopping list at the supermarket.
  5. Determine which luxuries are important to you, and discard the rest with your new mantra – do I really need it?

While we can cut back on little unnecessary luxuries as nothing more than surplus to requirements, it would not be so prudent to cut back on your health care. Regular eye tests are important to maintain healthy eyes and good vision so take advantage of free eye tests to protect your sight – without damaging your purse strings.

And, while avoiding a January sales shopping splurge on your credit card, it could be an ideal time to incorporate an upgrade of your current spectacles into your budget. With savings of up to 50% off a non disposable purchase, the offset against your annual budget can be justified and guilt free.

Have fun this New Year, and prepare for a financial hangover free January 2012!

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