There’s nothing more sobering than being broke in January. Sipping cocktails on the beach fades into a distant memory, as the payday stretch begins. For South Africans, December is not just a month it’s a lifestyle. But after balling out during the holidays, many of us find ourselves cash-strapped – and the month feels as long as a year. The Daily Vox put together some tips to help you stay afloat in JanuWorry.
1. Track your spending and budget accordingly
The first step is to be aware of what you spend money on and to cut out what’s unnecessary. We’re not saying be frugal but you can probably live without changing your hairstyle every month or buying a new pair of sneakers to follow the hype. This can set a precedent for the rest of the year.
2. Change your spending habits by cutting out luxury items
Take store-bought cappuccinos for example. Your average cappuccino costs around R23 and if you multiply this by five that’s R115 a week and R460 a month! No one is saying, give up coffee but it’s much cheaper to buy yourself a jar of good quality instant coffee for around R100 and save yourself money and the time you would have spent getting to the coffee shop and queuing to be served.
3. Don’t drink in January
It’s always a plan to meet friends over drinks for a young catch up about the holidays. But alcohol is expensive – and nobody wants to start 2018 by drinking themselves into debt.
4. Take skhaftins to work instead of buying lunch every day
You can save so much money making your own lunch every day. All you need is some time and creativity (which you can find on YouTube where some people have created whole careers in coming up with newer, more delicious lunch box recipes). It might not be that wrap from your fav or KFC but it’s going to make your pocket smile.
5. Try going vegan for January
Have you heard about Veganuary? It’s basically quitting animal products like meat and eggs and milk for the month. Its healthy – and so much easier on the wallet. Just make sure you buy your fruits and veggies at your local supermarket and don’t buy into the superfood hype.
6. Shun the mid-season sales
If you walk around in a mall or browse online catalogues in January, chances are you’ve seen the beautiful crimson sign saying SALE. And even if it makes your pulse race and your palms sweaty, be strong and look away. Being bored of your closet is an opportunity to mix and match your clothes – and even go thrifting for cool and cheap new pieces if you absolutely must.
7. Seek alternative means of transport
The petrol price is a never ending strain and driving or even taking Ubers and Taxify’s can be expensive. It would be cheaper to take public transport like minibus taxis and buses or even carpool with people that live and work in areas close to you. That way you save the environment and save money. Yaaassss!
8. Set saving goals for 2018
You want a car? A fancy holiday in the tropics? A house? It’s probably going to take a long time but if you roughly draw out a plan of how much money you can save per month – and stick to it – you could be sipping coconuts in Bali sooner than you think.
9. Say no to cheap credit offers from banks
Banks are going to offer you credit cards and loans with special interest rates on the cheap. Don’t make a decision in January that you’ll regret for the rest of the year. Rather draw up a budget and stick to it or speak to a financial adviser before making hasty decisions.
10. You don’t really need a gym membership
We all go into the new year with the “New Year, New Me” mindset and gym membership is at the top of that plan. But you don’t need to sign up for a gym membership that you – let’s be honest – probably won’t use all year. There are so many other more inexpensive ways to keep fit. You can start a running club with your friends, walk around your local park, do home workouts on Youtube (there’s everything from yoga to zumba and kickboxing workouts on there).
11. And if you’re looking to entertain yourself over the weekend – there are plenty of cheaper things to do!
Take a walk around the city centre, visit free art galleries, chill with your friends, read a book, go to the beach or your local park. Or you could just sleep. It costs nothing and you probably need it after the debauchery that was Dezemba.