Plenty of us end up on a mission to spend less in January. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution prompted by the excesses of December, the dread of the credit card bill or the long wait for the first payday of the year, cutting back just seems like the sensible thing to do. But we’re also trying to survive what feels like the chilliest and most unwelcoming month of the year without making life too miserable. So, what’s to be done? Annie Mellor from automatic savings app Chip shares five easy ways to dial back expenditure without having to forgo all the fun stuff.
Breaking the habit
The family time of Christmas is wonderful, but January is the season for much-needed catch-ups with pals. If you’re in London and making plans, get into the habit of checking sites such as London Cheap Eats and Skint London before you decide where to go. Both have hundreds of food, drink and fun options all over the city for under £10, and they’re constantly adding new finds.UK-wide, try discount and deal websites such as lastminute.com and the usual voucher sites, as well as those that round up chain offers, such as moneysavingexpert.com. It’ll do you good to break away from your old favourite haunts and explore some new places, while saving serious cash at the same time – especially if you’re sticking to tap water for Dry January.
The mystery hack
You can get paid to buy essentials, try new pubs or even go out for dinner by going undercover as a mystery shopper. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join Market Force and take on any ‘assignments’ that you like the look of. There are fairly stringent T&Cs attached, including instructions on what to buy or order. You also have to spend some time answering questions online afterwards. But in exchange, you’re reimbursed for what you buy and you’re paid a small amount for your trouble. Double-oh-spendthrift, I’ve been expecting you...
Take something back
If you’re scouring the sales online and you’re not going through a cashback site, you’re losing out. The two best sites for cashback are Quidco and TopCashback. You just need to set up an account and then you can continue shopping as normal. Except, unlike normal shopping, you get a little cashback boost on the stuff you buy. The amount of cashback varies from retailer to retailer and the deals change regularly, but current offers include 10.5% from ASOS through Quidco and 15.4% from lastminute.com through TopCashback. If you’re going to do it anyway, you may as well make something back.
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get fit? Stocking up on beautiful new kit is one of the best motivators to get out there and smash your exercise goals. Buying a whole new fitness wardrobe can get incredibly pricey, but you can find brilliant low cost items at Aldi.
Whether you’ve vowed to take up yoga or you’re planning to turn the spare room into a gym, hit Aldi Specialbuys for some high-quality gear. You can get particularly good deals on technical items such as skiing and cycling clothing.
The last word
If you’re really determined to stop yourself spending this month, there’s one slightly unusual, but sure-fire way to prevent dangerous impulse buys. The first step is to delete your credit card details from any sites where they’re saved. Once you’ve done that, take a Tupperware or a takeaway container, fill it with water and float your credit card in there. Then put it in the freezer. It means you’ll have to go through the hassle of defrosting your credit card before you’re able to buy anything – which gives you time to cool off and decide if you really do want to spend that money after all…
Automatic savings app Chip can be downloaded at getchip.uk.