Tips to void the Januworry Blues

Tips to avoid those ‘Januworry’ blues

For many South Africans, January is a time of financial strain. With Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, gifts, food, travel, and all sorts of other unusual expenses, it’s all too easy to let our spending get out of control. But there’s no need to despair—there are plenty of ways to avoid the Januworry blues. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the month without breaking the bank, and set yourself up for a more prosperous 2023 in the process. 


Limit your ‘Silly Season’ spending

Christmas is a time for giving, but it’s also a time when many people overspend. If you’re careful, you can avoid going into debt this holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you stay on budget:


  • Plan ahead: Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for, and set a spending limit for each person. Then, start looking for sales and discounts early. The sooner you start shopping, the more likely you are to find good deals.
  • Be creative: Instead of buying expensive gifts, get creative and make something yourself. A homemade card or baked goods are always appreciated and don’t cost a lot to make.
  • Regift: If you receive a gift that you don’t really want or need, regift it to someone else. Just make sure the person you’re giving it to doesn’t know the original giver!
  • One of the biggest expenses during the holidays is food. If you’re hosting a big gathering, it can be tempting to go all out with an expensive menu. However, you can save a lot of money by keeping your meals simple. Stick to traditional dishes that don’t require rare or costly ingredients. You can also go potluck style and ask guests to bring their favourite holiday dish, or go with the traditional South African ‘Bring and Braai’. 
  • If you’re travelling, consider staying in an Airbnb instead of a more expensive resort or lodge. You can often find great deals on vacation rentals, and you’ll have more space for family and friends. Or, make this the year you finally go on that camping trip! 


Whatever your plans are this holiday season, there are plenty of ways to save money and still have a great time. And as the New Year approaches, this is a great opportunity to get into some healthy financial habits that will stand you in good stead for 2023 and beyond: 


Create a monthly budget and stick to it

Create a Monthly Budget

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that is often overlooked. Sit down at the beginning of the month and make a list of all your necessary expenses. Be sure to include things like rent, groceries, transportation, and debt payments. 


Once you’ve got all your expenses accounted for, set aside some money for savings and leisure spending. Then, be sure to stick to your budget—no matter how tempting those summer sales may be!


Cut back on unnecessary expenses

This is another important step in avoiding the Januworry blues. Take a close look at your spending habits and see where you can cut back. For example, if you’re spending too much on eating out, cooking at home more often can save you money. Or, if you find yourself buying new clothes every other week, try shopping less often or sticking to a budget when you do go shopping. 


Of course, some expenses are harder to cut back on than others. Car, home, health insurance, and medical aid are prime examples. In these cases, it’s a good idea to shop around now and then and see if you’re really getting the best possible deal. These industries are highly competitive, and more affordable products come out all the time. 


For example, if you have a simple hospital plan, you might want to compare what you’re getting with the benefits offered by EMERGIVAC. While our solution is NOT a medical aid, it comes with a whole host of add-ons that you would pay a small fortune for if you had separate plans with different providers.


For instance, for one monthly fee, you and your family also get access to our Emergi-Guard (24/7 Armed response) service, Medical & Trauma Assist, and 24/7 Roadside & Household Assist services. Find out more about the many benefits of becoming an EMERGIVAC member here


The point is that by cutting back on unnecessary expenses, you’ll free up more money to put towards your savings goals.


Create a plan for your debt repayments

If you’re carrying any debt from Christmas shopping or vacation spending, now is the time to create a repayment plan. Make a list of all your debts, along with their interest rates and minimum monthly payments. Then, prioritize your debts from highest interest rate to lowest. Once you’ve got a plan in place, be sure to stick to it—that way, you can get rid of your debt as quickly as possible and avoid paying any extra interest charges.


Get smart about saving 

When it comes to saving money, there are a lot of different approaches you can take. Some people choose to save a fixed percentage of their income each month, while others try to put away a specific amount. However, if you really want to get serious about saving, it’s important to come up with a plan that works for you. 


The holidays are a great time for brainstorming ideas and working on what your financial goals are, and how you plan to get there. Whichever route you choose, the key is to be consistent with your savings plan and make it as easy as possible to stick to it. (For example, having your savings come off your bank account via debit order eliminates the need to exercise your own willpower!) 


In conclusion 

January doesn’t have to be a month of financial stress—if you’re smart about your spending and take steps to avoid unnecessary expenses, you can make it through the month without breaking the bank. 


Creating a budget and sticking to it is essential; so is cutting back on non-essential expenses and creating a repayment plan for any debt you may have incurred over the festive season. By following these simple tips, you can avoid the Januworry blues and start the new year off on the right foot financially!


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