Make this your most frugal January ever

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Has the Christmas season left your heart warm but pockets empty? You're not alone. A recent survey found that 75% of UK shoppers exceeded their Christmas budgets. Each New Year brings new promise, but too often it’s also clouded by a dwindling current account balance. Get your 2017 off on the right foot with these simple savings tips that could raise funds and lower stress.

"Providing it's not past its sell-by date, make it your mission to eat your way through the pantry, fridge, and the back of the freezer too."

Write it down

It's been ages since you kept a diary, but pull out that pad and pencil to keep track of your daily expenditure. Make reachable goals; uncover what you can omit, and what can be found cheaper. Instead of simply dining out, for example, first check daily deals on group-buying sites like Groupon or Living Social.

The little things

Daily flat whites can really add up. So can other non-essentials such as cigarettes and alcohol. Consider making January all about oxygen and lemon tea. While you're at it, assess your online and periodical subscriptions. Do you still read Vogue? Are you really getting the most out of Netflix?

Plan meals

Plan weekly meals ahead, write down the ingredients and put those, and nothing else, into your trolley. Push past prepared items and try cooking from scratch. Look up recipes and add these to your repertoire. Some of the supermarkets have features on their websites where you can browse recipes and add all the ingredients to your home delivery basket in one click!

De-clutter

Removing clutter is a great way to divest, and the newly cleared space is often accompanied by a renewed sense of freedom. Reassess what you and your family aren't using or no longer need. Make eBay your friend and sell belongings to earn cash back. It's also incredible how, even when cash-poor, giving to those less fortunate creates a feeling of abundance. Drop off unwanted items at your local charity store – you might pick up a bargain while you're there.

Zero-spend Tuesday

Let's say it's Tuesday. Pick one day of the week that you are absolutely not going to spend a penny. Make a fun reality-type survivor show out of it. Picking a day of the week that you won't spend at all will make you more aware, and more vigilant, about the money that you do spend the rest of the week.

Save the change

If you’ve resolved to hit a savings goal in 2017, why not open an account, round all your payments up to the nearest pound and sweep the excess there.  So, if you buy a coffee for £2.60, call it £3 and pop the extra 40p into your savings account. You’ll be surprised how quickly it builds up. You can do it automatically if you have a TSB account, but some other banks and providers offer similar services.

Strip the cupboards

Another fun family adventure is focusing on the bounty that has been neglected right in front of your nose. You'll be surprised what's hiding in the back of the cupboards. Providing it's not past its sell-by date, make it your mission to eat your way through the pantry, fridge, and the back of the freezer too.

Exercise for free

Gym membership specials are hard to resist this time of year, but many new members fall off the wagon come February and are still tied into the pricey year-long contract. Kill two birds with one stone and avoid the gym while challenging yourself to power walk, cycle, or jog to work. If it's too cold or too far, commit to exercising at home and download an exercise app, such as Runtastic.

These money-saving habits are sure to get your 2017 off to a smashing start. When at home, you can also try small lifestyle adjustments such as always turning off appliances at the wall, or putting on a jumper instead of turning up the heat. You can also save big on the electric bill by drying clothes the old-fashioned way, by hanging them out on the line (or airing them in a well ventilated room) instead of using the dryer.

Sometimes it only takes a little effort to save a lot.

 

Image credit: ImageZoo / Alamy Stock Photo

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