January is a time of fresh starts.

A new year has begun, and we're all thinking the same thing: How can I live differently this year? What changes can I make to improve my life? "Saving money" is one of the top five resolutions Britons make each New Year,1 but 75% will desert the idea by 10 January.2

Is it possible to turn frugality into a sustained lifestyle that doesn't get discarded two weeks into the year? Where do you begin?

The way to start is by budgeting.

We know what you're thinking: "Budgeting? How boring!" But making a budget truly is the first step in developing a frugal lifestyle. And with the right attitude, it can actually be fun.

At the heart of it, a budget is a plan.

It's a strategy, made before the paycheques come in, of how you are going to spend your money when it arrives. A budget helps you become aware of your current spending habits and empowers you to change them where they've become unhealthy..

Why is that fun? Because it puts you back in control of your finances. Saving money begins with knowledge - knowledge of how much cash is coming in and how much cash is going out. Setting limits on your spending isn't a chore, it's a choice. You are in control of your financial future, and with a budget it becomes possible to get back on track.

It takes willpower and self-control

to stick to a budget, but the rewards are well

worth it. For one thing, saving money becomes much

easier when you know exactly where your money is

going. And in order to make the most of a frugal

lifestyle, one needs to be aware of how their

money is being used.

"I believe that thrift is essential to well- ordered living."

- John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Creative Budgeting Ideas

Save on next year's holiday cards, decorations and wrapping paper by buying them on sale in January.

and make a game out of who can spend the least in a month. List everyone's names on a board and keep track daily of how much each person has spent. Bills that benefit everyone in the house, such as rent and groceries, will be equally divided among all players, even if only one person actually paid for it. Likewise, parents who foot the bill for their kids' necessities would, for the game's sake, record the expense under the child's name. This is a good way to evaluate each person's spending on luxuries.

Every time you pay for something and go to write it in your budget, round the expense up to the nearest pound. Then and watch your money grow as the months go by. This is a good way to "trick" your budget and to save some additional quid.

. Once you've set a budget for each spending category (food, household, etc.), withdraw that money from the ATM and put the cash into separate envelopes for each expense. Then, pay in cash wherever you go. Once the envelope is empty, you've used up your budgeted amount for the month. This is a good way to track your progress and see how much money you have left.

What Frugal Living is NOT

Sometimes it feels like there's never enough money coming in, regardless of how meticulously you've planned, scrimped and saved. Other times, it feels like all the fun things in life are "too expensive" to indulge in. How can we cope with these problems?

For one thing, frugal living shouldn't be a financial prison. We're all humans and need to treat ourselves once in a while, so you needn't feel guilty about every little splurge. By allowing yourself a few smaller luxuries, it becomes easier to cut back on larger ones. Moderation is the key.

On the other hand, if pricey gadgets and gizmos are your only source of joy in life, it may be a sign that your priorities are misaligned, which in the long-run will be damaging to both your finances and your well-being (and will make frugal living nearly impossible). If you notice these tendencies in yourself, spend this month discovering at least 10 free things (activities, people, experiences, etc.) that bring you real joy in life.

Unlike a budget, real life can be quite unstructured and unpredictable. Again, you don't need to feel guilty when unexpected expenses arise that you haven't budgeted for. Learn from the experience and, if possible, put a cushion in your budget for the next month that is designated for emergencies.

Even when the banks are closed, QuickQuid is open Apply at www.QuickQuid.co.uk

Save £3,000 by this time next year!

Would you like to cut your debt in half by this time next year?

Average household debt in the UK is nearly £6,000,3 excluding mortgages. With the Frugal Year Challenge, you may be able to save at least £3,000 by next January, diminishing your debt 50 percent. Sound unbelievable? Take the Challenge and see for yourself.

To put aside £3,000 over a year, you would have to save…

£8.22 a day £57.69 a week £250 a month

Each month, we'll give you a personal challenge for managing your money differently from what you may be used to. Some of the steps may be familiar to you, while others will probably take you out of your comfort zone. But if you stick with the Challenge for all 12 months, by this time next year you'll have learned extraordinary things about yourself and your finances. And best of all, you may have paid down quite a bit of your outstanding debt. Ready? Let's begin!

January challenge:Think twice

Challenge yourself this month to put an end to impulse buying.

Keep track of your daily spending. If possible, carry around a money journal to write down your purchases right away. When you get that sudden urge to buy something you haven't budgeted for, think twice. Ask yourself, Do I really need this? Will I still want it a month from now? Will I be just as happy with something cheaper?

Take the time to observe where your money is going, and see if you can save at least £8.22 every day. How will you get there? By eliminating expensive habits.

Buying a drink at the coffee shop will set you back roughly £2.29 every day.4 If you cut it out of your routine, that's already 25 percent of your daily savings goal. If you smoke, you could save £7 by eliminating that 20-pack of cigarettes,5 whether you buy it daily, weekly or monthly. Bottled water costs an average of 8.5p per litre, if you buy the store brand, and that's almost 40 times the cost of tap water!6 Little cutbacks like these can add up fast. Try it for yourself and see the savings.

Goal: £250 saved in january

References

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