12 Ways To Make Your December Pay Last Until January

12 Ways To Make Your December Pay Last Until January

It’s estimated that up to a third of employees in the UK will be paid early this month. And while that might mean a bit of extra cash to spend on gifts or dinner with the girls pre-Christmas, come the New Year, it won’t seem like such a bonus. To ensure your pay stretches all the way to the end of January, we asked the experts for their help.

Clare Francis, Director of Savings & Investments at Barclays says…

Remove temptation and put as much as you can afford into an instant access savings account. If the money’s not in your current account, you'll be less likely to say yes to the online Christmas deals or last-minute Christmas goodies at the checkout. From there, give yourself a weekly salary. Not only will these regular cash injections as you move the money back into your current account bring a little festive cheer, you'll help yourself stay on top of your finances.

Look at where you can make savings elsewhere. Cutting down on food costs is a great place to start – use a slow cooker or casserole to batch cook your meals. Anything you don’t eat can be frozen and reheated, which will reduce the cost of your food shop. Better still, it will help to counteract the cost of those inevitable Christmas lunches.

Work out how much you can afford to spend per person. If you know exactly what you're buying for Christmas for each friend or family member, you'll be less likely to make a last-minute impulse purchase that could tip your budget out of kilter. If funds are particularly tight, suggest setting up a Secret Santa with family and friends. The element of surprise will keep things exciting on the day and it allows you to set a budget.

Bethany McCormack from First Practice Management says…

Use the 50/20/30 budgeting technique. The first step is to calculate your income after tax. After working out your expenses and outgoings, aim to spend 50% on your needs – food shopping, bills, insurance, essential travel etc. Bear in mind the difference between needs and wants; any payment that you can forego with only minor inconvenience – like a Sky package – is a want, not a need. Next, allocate 20% to go towards financial goals such as savings, investments or repaying any credit card payments. Finally, 30% goes on your wants. This may sound like a lot but it’s important to treat yourself sometimes. 

Try the 30-day rule. Basically, you wait a month or so before purchasing something you're concerned might be a frivolous purchase. That way, you have some time between your initial excitement about something to see if you still really want it. Of course, we're entitled to treats, but you may find that in those 30 days you’ve found something you’d much prefer to be your payday treat.

Turn off the TV. Stay with me... Cutting down on the amount of television you watch can have a surprising amount of financial benefits: less exposure to tempting ads, a lower electricity bill (and perhaps a lower satellite or cable bill if you downgrade your subscription) and more time to focus on other things in life.

We’re all guilty of being impulsively tap-happy with the debit card when we see a nice big sum at the start of the month. Remove the temptation by dividing your money into weekly budgets.
Sheridan New

Hayley Millhouse, Managing Director at OpenMoney Adviser Services says…

Give batch cooking a go. One way to make your money stretch is to batch cook meals in advance. Hearty soups, warming stews and casseroles are just a few of the great winter meals that you can cook in bulk. Making meals in bulk and freezing them until you need them can help you cut back on costly last-minute trips to the local shop and takeaways. Preparing portions for your working day at home too can also help you cut down the amount you spend nipping out for lunch. Those supermarket meal deals might seem cheap and convenient at the time, but it all adds up.

Be prepared to say no. Spending can add up really quickly throughout the Christmas period without you even noticing it. As it’s unlikely we’ll be allowed to meet up in large groups this year, we’ll probably end up going out with fewer people, more often, to ensure we’ve had the chance to see everybody we want to – and that in itself adds another expense. The old ‘never mind, it’s Christmas’ chestnut becomes the most used sentence in conversations, but it’s worth considering whether you really can afford to commit to everything you’re invited to.

Avoid using credit. If you’re planning on taking out an overdraft or credit card for a large purchase, it might be best to hold off these plans or save up instead to avoid tying yourself into a monthly payment moving forwards. 

Sheridan New, Chip's money expert, says…

Split up your spending money. We’re all guilty of being impulsively tap-happy with the debit card when we see a nice big sum at the start of the month. Remove the temptation by dividing your money into weekly budgets. Around £200-£250 is pretty amicable, but do be realistic – it is the silly season, so an above-average intake of mulled wine needs to be factored in. Keep it in an account you can’t access, or locked pots, so you can’t just transfer between your saving and spending account instantly.

Ditch Apple Pay and saved card details. We forget we’re spending real life money when it takes only seconds to make a purchase. When we have to go to the effort of getting out our card and typing in all the digits, that’s different. Any small effort to reduce unnecessary spending this month should be done.

Take a break from subscriptions. It’s a busy time, so think about what you can do without for a month. The gym? Netflix? The odd £10 here or there will genuinely make a difference towards the end of the month.


For more information on how to manage your money visit Barclays.co.uk, Open-Money.co.uk or GetChip.co.uk.

*DISCLAIMER: Anything written by SheerLuxe is not intended to constitute financial advice. The views expressed in this article reflect the opinions of the individuals, not the company. Always consult with an independent financial advisor or expert before making an investment or personal finance decisions.

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