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More than ever, Christmas is that time of the year when you wish you had unlimited funds to spend. You have several parties and dinners which you need to pay for and the more you go out, the more change of outfits you will require. This leads you to spending more money to buy new clothes. There are also the presents for family and friends which you need to cater for and probably quite a few secret santas going around too. In sum, December is the month when you end up spending all of your salary which leads you to being broke in January. What can you do in such a month which feels so gloomy?

Prevention is better than cure, we have all heard that one before. Rather than starting January without any money to spend or with debts to pay on your credit card, you need to learn to start budgeting ahead so that you are less broke following Christmas. If you are spending a lot of money on gifts, have a conversation with your loved ones. Agree to setting budgets or perhaps you can also try secret santa with your family rather than buying a gift for each member.

During Christmas you have several activities which you need to attend to which can make it quite a tiring period. Thus, January can be the time where you sit back and relax. Rather than going out and spending more money, have a few nights in. Organise a movie night or games night where, as a family or with friends you get together and enjoy spending time in each other’s company without having to spend money. During the weekend you could go for walks in the countryside and let’s face it, after all that food we would have consumed during Christmas, burning some extra calories will not hurt.

Another simple yet effective way to avoid spending unnecessary money is to eat at home rather than buy take away. Prepare your lunch ahead so that during your break you do not spend extra money on food. Cooking for yourself can be fun. Experiment with a new dish so that it makes it interesting and exciting to be trying something new. Use the month of January to do things you have been postponing for a while. This will help you to stay busy and not think too much about what you cannot do at the moment because you are broke. For example, do some spring-cleaning and get rid of things you have been hoarding unnecessarily.

In conclusion, post-Christmas period can be quite tough. It can seem like you went from having the best time of your life to a living a boring life. Use this time to be creative. There are quite a few activities that you can do without having to spend a lot or any money at all.

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on marilyn@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.