Getting back to reality after Christmas is never easy. There's the painful first day back at work and the boring task of taking the tree and decorations down – and that's not including the long wait until the end of January payday.
You can wait as much as five to six weeks before you get your wages in the New Year. This can be a long time to make your money stretch after Christmas. To help you make it through to payday, we're taking you through some tips to make your money last.
Your first point of call when you want to make your money stretch further is taking a look at your household budget. You can make a budget if you don’t already have one.
When you’re updating your budget for the month, make sure you list all of your incomes. This includes your wages, overtime payments and any benefits you get. Once you’ve done this, list any priority bills that are going out over the month. This might include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, childcare and grocery bills.
Don't forget to include any credit you're paying off – this might be more than usual if you used your credit card over Christmas. You also need to set aside some money for any irregular bills like your TV licence payments. Once you've listed all of your outgoings for the month, you can look at the areas where you can afford to make cutbacks.
This might mean having just one takeaway in the month rather than four or walking instead of taking the bus to work. This isn't the only way to make your money last until the January payday – here are a few more to help you stretch your money further.
Stretch it further
Do it yourself – buying your lunch or hot drinks at work can be a big expense and there's no reason why you can't make it yourself. The £2.50 that you spend on a cup of coffee each day or £3 that you fork out on a sandwich can soon add up. It works out much cheaper to buy in bulk and prepare beforehand.
Use your freezer – when you're a little strapped for cash, your freezer is a lifesaver. This is because you can buy in bulk and store the excess food that you have in there to use at a later date. Even better, you can buy reduced items that are near their best-before dates and make them last a little longer by putting them in your freezer.
Put down the plastic – although it’s convenient, it can be easy to lose track of what you spend on your debit or credit card. So why not leave your plastic at home this January and only draw out money that you've budgeted to spend? By doing this, you'll be able to decide how much money you want to spend beforehand and stick to it. You could even give yourself a target of what to spend every day or every week.
Sell your unwanted presents – let's face it, this Christmas you probably received some items that you don't want or need. If so, selling your unwanted Christmas gifts online could help you make some extra cash for the month. Or if you're having a New Year's clear out, you could look to see if you have any everyday items that could be worth a small fortune.
And if all else fails, look down the back of the sofa – your spare change might just be worth something!