January can seem like a long month. In part, this is because the nights are dark and cold. And following the Christmas and New Year celebrations, January has little to offer, except diminished savings accounts and bulging credit card bills!
For many people, surviving to payday can seem interminable. And although there is little any of us can do to make the evenings a little brighter, we can put the time to some really good use.
If you find your finances are a little stretched, here are some suggestions to alleviate your situation.
First, on the income side of household finances, it is extremely important to take back control.
Claim back your money – various estimates suggest Irish taxpayers leave €300 – €350 million of unclaimed tax on Revenue’s table each year. First, examine if you have unclaimed medical expenses that can be claimed back at 20%. Plus, with 4 years of claimable expenses allowed, the amounts can be enough to make January a little more pleasant. Use the MoneyWhizz Tax Relief Signpost to view the most common tax reliefs available and then, claim directly via the Revenue MyAccount facility.
Credit card debt – where it exists, with credit card debt, consider converting to a lower-cost term loan. Check out your options on the ccpc.ie website for a full list of personal term loans. This option means credit card debt, which is expensive as it is revolving debt is limited via the term loan option.
On the spending side, if you received them over the Christmas holidays, remember to use those vouchers. It’s another great way to limit spending.
Comparing options – additionally, spend some time on comparing the market for the best deals on car and home insurance. This is January after all and with so many insurance policies up for renewal, this is also the perfect month to give your personal finances a thorough review. Use the MoneyWhizz Budgeting Buddy to review your personal finances in detail.
It’s important to remember that most financial products are switchable. This includes mortgages, insurances, pensions, current accounts and much more.
Reduce food waste – Food is also big-ticket item which unfortunately, we waste a lot of. According to Government sources, about €700 of perfectly good food is wasted per household each year. Check out mywaste.ie for lots of practical tips and how you can reduce food waste in your household.
Fraud – finally, as a side note, it’s important to be wary of fraudsters. January can be a difficult month financially and this can make some people vulnerable, and this is where fraudsters master their tricks to deceive! Outcomes can be loss of savings and much more!
In the meantime, Happy New Year!