Solution One: Budget
Yup, this old chestnut. There’s no point looking for a solution to a problem that you’ve been ignoring. Dig out your account details and assess the damages. Try not to despair. As soon as you make steps towards solving the issue, you’ll start feeling better, so open up an Excel sheet and issue yourself a monthly budget, based on your income.
Compartmentalise your life into manageable chunks: food, bills etc. Allocate money to each outgoing and refuse to go over your budget. Also leave room for a savings account. Depending on how tight money is, you may want to start small – a tenner a week – and build up, when you feel more confident.
Solution Two: Switch Service Providers and Make Savings
If your bank account pays hardly any interest, move to a current account with better prospects. Online, there are plenty of price comparison websites that can show you the best service providers on the market. You could save hundreds of pounds just by moving to a different energy company.
Solution Three: Spend-Free Days
Get the whole family on-board with a spend-free day. Sundays are ideal for this, as it’s unlikely you have to go anywhere. Turn it into a special tradition, with a delicious home-cooked breakfast, and a day spent in PJs, relaxing, playing games, or watching DVDs. As soon as you leave the house, you’re surrounded by opportunities to spend, spend, spend, so keep the Sunday sacrosanct and give your wallet a day off.
Solution Four: Celebrate On the Cheap
February is riddled with little events to celebrate; and don’t worry, you won’t miss out on the festivities!
Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday), falls on February 12th this year. With pancakes simple and cheap to make at home (not to mention, super tasty!), the whole family can have a whale of a time with maple syrup and flipping competitions.
February 10th is the beginning of Chinese New Year. The night before, clean the house, as it’s supposed to bring good luck. The following day, decorate the house with homemade, red decorations and welcome in the ‘Year of the Snake’ in style.
Every spendthrift’s favourite holiday, Lent begins on February 13th, so try giving up one of your favourite things for 40 days and 40 nights. An expensive habit, such as drinking alcohol or eating junk food can turn into an all-round positive detox for your body and your bank account.
And how could we forget Valentine’s Day? Instead of rushing out to buy your loved one expensive gift, why don’t you make your own chocolates and cakes to show you care? Bringing your partner breakfast in bed, doing all the chores, and pampering him or her silly says ‘I love you’ better than shop-bought flowers.
Solution Five: Have a Sort-Out
It’s amazing how much stuff families accumulate. Have a pizza night in (shop-bought rather than take-away or use coupons online) and send everyone to their bedrooms to downsize their possessions. Fill bin bags full of unwanted items and then sell what you can on eBay to make money or hold a yard sale.