Focusing on Your #1 Financial Priorities for January

So here we are again – a brand new year is in front of us. As is tradition, the excesses of the festive season are swiftly followed by the cutbacks – and sometimes the worries – retirement. If you are now counting the cost of one too many splurges in December, now is the time to do something about it.

Your options are limited of course. You can’t return everything you bought in the run-up to Christmas. Gifts for other people and food items will be long since enjoyed and used, so you have to accept whatever you spent as fact. Now is the time to focus on how to pay for it all if you are dreading the January credit card bill that is about to fall through your letter box.

Here are some tips that should help you through this period.

Focus on housing costs first

Some bills are more important than others. The #1 priority for everyone should be paying your housing costs. Nothing else matters if you can’t keep a roof over your head. For most of us, this won’t be the reality we’re faced with. However if you know you’ve got financial problems, make sure you start with getting your mortgage or rental payments sorted out.

Cut out all unnecessary expenses

Be brutal in January. What could you honestly do without this month? Oftentimes the excess of food we tend to splurge on at Christmas is still hanging around now. Store cupboard items and other things with a long expiry date that didn’t get used over the festive season can be brought out now. They will help you reduce your shopping bill this month. Brown-bag your lunches, avoid the coffee shop at work, avoid the January sales, do whatever you can to reduce your outgoings this month.

Need a new card?

If you know you have a credit card bill looming at the end of the month, consider how realistic it is that you’ll clear the whole thing. If you don’t think you can, consider swapping the balance to a 0% interest deal to pay it off with the minimum of fees.

Keep up these great habits throughout 2015

If you wanted to start the New Year by saving instead of spending money, you can still start in the right way. Once you have taken care of your bills by trying to reduce outgoings as much as possible, you can focus on the months still to come. Think about putting away even a token amount of money each week – you’d be surprised how optimistic you’ll feel even by doing this. Small habits can easily translate into bigger savings as you go along.

Of course your first priority will be to make sure you can start the year in as good a financial shape as possible. So make sure you know exactly where you stand now January is here. The steps above will help you get to where you need to be.