Money Talks: How do I make my December pay packet last all month?

One of the certainties about Christmas is the expense, so why not plan well ahead? Carol Brick, managing director of has some tips
Money Talks: How do I make my December pay packet last all month?

Too many people use their full pay to cover a fun-packed festive season and opt to “worry about it later”

While I always appreciate an early pay packet in December, I find it so challenging to make that income stretch all the way to January’s payday and must always either dip into my long-term savings or get into debt. Can you offer any advice?

Too many people use their full pay to cover a fun-packed festive season and opt to “worry about it later” and then find themselves, like you, dipping into their savings or ending up in debt to kick start the New Year which is far from ideal.

If we firstly rewind a little here, and I am sure you are muttering to yourself “Oh isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing”, but the very best time to consider the financial toll that Christmas might have on your finances is back in June when you had at least six months to budget properly for the festive season. That is the time to sit down and map out how best to set yourself up for a debt-free Christmas.

Set out your budget to include all relevant costs so you have a better idea of how much Christmas will cost.

Then having considered the number of paydays between then and the festive season, set up a direct debit to transfer these funds into a dedicated Christmas Savings Account.

Otherwise, can I offer you the following suggestions:

Bills like rent, insurance, loan repayments, and household bills do not disappear for Christmas.

These all still need to be paid, so put that money to one side as soon as you get paid in December, if possible, (even transfer it into a separate account that you cannot touch).

Another way to make your Christmas paycheque last longer is to set a strict spending budget that you must stick to until your January payday.

If you already use a monthly budget, you will need to adjust it slightly for January to make sure you have enough money to cover the longer period until your next payday.

Also consider areas where you can cut back your spending, for example, entertainment, clothing, beauty treatments etc.

Ditch Apple Pay and saved credit card details in January. Sometimes we tend to forget that we are spending real-life money when it takes only seconds to make a purchase.

If you’ve bought gifts and luxurious food and drink over the Christmas period, you are likely to have a bigger-than-usual credit card bill waiting in the wings.

This makes for awkward timing in January when you are forced to make your December paycheque last longer.

Check the balance on your credit card and try to pay off the minimum payment as soon as you have been paid. This will give you a clearer picture of how much money you’ve got left to budget for January.

There is no need to wait until December to buy all your gifts. Building a Christmas stash throughout the year during sales and promotions will spread the cost throughout the year and save you so much money when the time comes. I have been doing this for years and all that’s left to buy when December comes around are groceries and a few nice bottles of vino.

By taking some of these small measures on board, hopefully, all you will be left to worry about at Christmas is who will do the washing up and what to do with the left-over turkey on St Stephen’s Day.

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