There are two things about January that make me vow every year I will book a sun holiday and just pretend like it's not happening. January is always going to be an unpopular month - it falls after the party month. Call it hangover month. You feel nothing but pain and wish it was all over. It's the adult month to your December child.
Out go the late nights and overindulging, in comes the sensible behaviour and the early nights.
The worst bit is that you are now officially skint. And as we all know, that really is the worst thing about January. (Apart from you masochists out there who are also trying to diet and give up smoking).
Well we've come up with four ways to help you survive until pay day.
See how much money you actually have
Brace yourself, go online or to the atm machine and check your balance. Calculate how many direct debits are still to come out, rent, mortgage, loans and how much you can realistically afford to pay off your credit card this month. Then see how much cash you have left after this. Take it out and make it last week by week until pay day. You can still eat well for relatively little - and it's not all about pasta and tinned tuna. Go online and look for inventive recipes. We will add some of our low cost favourites in the coming days.
Treat yourself in different ways
You don't need to buy any more new clothes, dvds, alloys for your car (even if there is a special offer). We suggest waiting for a couple of more days before you rush out to buy that fab jacket you just have to have marked at 70pc off. Wait a few days. Treat yourself by having a bubble bath (assuming that water restrictions have been lifted by the time you read this) or setting some time aside to watch those movies you didn't get around to at Christmas. What about going on long walks, followed by lighting a nice fire and just eating your tea in front of it and reading a book. Catch up with some friends on skype or even the phone at off peak times. Arrange to meet people at their home for lunch or have them round to your house rather than dinner out or a night in the pub. There's nothing like getting back in touch with old friends and at least you can be miserable together.
Look at where you can make savings
Yes we know we keep saying it but see how many contracts you have that are up for negotiation or close to. uchoose.ie can help you make those changes - so if you need a better deal on broadband, digital TV, electricity, or want to cheaper way to pay off your credit cards - you are in the right place. It only takes a couple of minutes and you'll feel much better. It might take a few weeks to feel the benefits but you'll be making savings for the rest of the year.
Sell off any unwanted pressies
Sell under a pseudonym if you don't want the mammy breathing fire and brimstone down your neck for giving you yet another christmas jumper. Unless you can knit and can skilfully take said jumper apart and remake it into something you'll actually wear, then consider ebay or ebid. One man's trash is another's treasure. Seriously though, have a look around the house and see if there is something you could sell - books, dvds, designer handbags that are still in good nick, clothes with the labels still on (c'mon admit it). Even if you only get a few quid for it, you'll still get a buzz from it and it could be the vital few quid that will get you to pay day.
And the good news is that we're already half way through January.