January Finances 101
January is a tough month for most people; financially speaking. It comes right after December; the month of festivities and merry-making. December has a knack of making people sufficiently philanthropic. It is not rare to find groupings in entertainment spots during December with every member throwing a round. Accompaniments are usually meats that come in various shapes are form. Then there are the holidays that entail travels to whatever destination. This requires money be it upcountry or an exotic destination.
In comes January, December’s first born sister. The bills check in as usual; nothing out of the ordinary in any other month. However your account probably can’t hack them comfortably without going into an overdraft. The month is longer than all other months. It is not as friendly as the second Sister February owing to the fact that most companies pay December salaries just before the holidays. You see the fiancé teams also need to go away on holiday hence they process salaries before they leave.
It is already too late to service your January this year. However, let us use the following tips to be a bit smarter for next January and December.
Save up for your December plans as from January. You can have a separate savings account for this; I recommend those accounts that give you very limited access to your savings. You can also save in a chama; book to receive your money in December or join those chamas that do the pool and loan system with final distribution of funds in December. Do not wait until mid year to start saving; you will never start.
Pay your January bills in December once your salary checks in early; rent electricity, water, DStv, internet etc. Trust me you will still be expected to pay them in January so the earlier you pay them, the les stress you will have in January.
Put aside most of your December salary in that savings account with limited excess. Do not have it available to you via ATM, mobile or internet banking during the Merry making period. It is much easier to go over the top and impulse spends when you have money easily accessible.
Do your house shopping for January in December. Buy your groceries and toiletries in bulk. Most supermarkets have reduced prices this period as a way of getting in the sufficiently philanthropic spirit as well. You will be grateful when you have a full pantry / fridge when you finally return back to reality on January 2nd.
All in all if you have a good plan throughout the year, December and January should be just another month to you.