How four team Marie Claire members are being spend-savvy this January

Forget Dry January and Veganuary – this month we’re all about #Planuary…

In partnership with AVIVA

If ever there’s a good time to tighten our belts, it’s January. Even the most financially-savvy of us can get a little carried away with our spending during the festive season, whether that’s by being more generous than planned with Christmas presents or going out on a couple more nights out than were originally in the diary.

As ever, the start of a new year sees many of us trying to save a few pennies, so as part of Planuary we’re pledging to change one thing in order to take control of our finances this year by planning ahead – and you can too.

From frugal finance planners to novice savers, below we’ve shared what a few money hacks MC staffers are using to take control of their finances in 2019 that you can try too.

Kick a habit (and stash the money you would have spent)

Booze, cigarettes, coffee shop flat whites; if there’s something you’re giving up for January – or even the whole year – put the money you would have spent into a jar or savings account. For one of our colleagues it’s the coffees, and swapping that daily £2.50 coffee for a brought-in flask means she’ll save a minimum of £50 a month.

With this method you’ll be paying out the same amount of money you would have, so won’t feel more of a pinch, but at the end of the savings period you’ll have a nice nest egg to transfer to your savings account.

Prep your meals

When you’re busy it’s easy to fall into the pattern of popping out to buy a sandwich or salad every day. At about £3 a day a ‘cheap’ meal deal doesn’t sound like much, but that’s £15 a week and more than £700 a year you could save yourself.

You may be in awe of the girl who wouldn’t dream of popping to Pret and brings her lunch in every day without fail, but in reality it’s not that difficult. Set aside an hour or so at the weekend to batch cook a load of freezer meals that you can take to work and avoid buying lunch on the daily; Pinterest is your friend if you need recipes. Combine your lunch prep with the above step and your savings will be twofold. Win-win.

Plan, plan and plan again

The clue is in the name ‘Planuary’ – the key to being in control of your finances is largely down to having a good plan in place, and we’re not just talking about having a monthly budget here. Did you know that on average women miss out on £106,000* worth of pensions?

Pledge to change one thing in 2019, whether that’s reinstating your pension contributions, increasing the amount you pay in each month, or tracking down older workplace pensions, learn more about Aviva’s Planuary content.

Try a savings challenge

Savings challenges are great for two reasons; firstly, it’s fun to set yourself a challenge and two, you can set your sights on a pricey treat you wouldn’t usually be able to afford. One of our editors is trying the ‘one penny challenge’, which works by saving a small amount daily that increases by a penny each day. For example, on the 1st January you would pay in 1p, 2p on the 2nd January, and so on for the rest of the year, until 31st of December when you would pay in £3.65.

By the end of the year you’ll have a cool £667.95 saved (for our team member it’ll go on the Gucci Soho Disco bag she’s always wanted). Alternatively, if you have a bigger goal in mind, this really easy money challenge could save you just shy of £1,500 in 2019.

Ready to get smart with your savings?

*Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Women’s Risks in Life report

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