Surviving January gives some tips on how to make it to February.

After the overindulgent party that is December comes the hangover of January. The world has not only lost its tinselly sparkle, but acquired a darker, frostier, more impecunious demeanour. Gone are the Christmas decorations, the fake snow and Quality Streets; in their place is a can of de-icer and special offer beans. What can you do to get through the month and make it to the slightly brighter shores of February?

1. If you’ve spent all your money and more on Christmas, January is the month of cutbacks. Get the kids to invent amazing new recipes out of all the remaining food in the house. You never know – chocolate coin bake may become a household staple. Refuse to buy any more food until all items in the cupboard have been totally exhausted, including the tin of lychees you won two years ago in the summer fete.

2. No-one will want to go out much in January because it is so dark and cold so stay in, save money and organise a spring cleaning or 60-minute makeover competition. This combines budgeting and cleaning as well as childcare. It’s a win, win, win. On the downside, you may have to redo all the cleaning and spend hours moving all the furniture away from the doors and windows.

3. Alternatively, get to a charity shop, pick up a DVD for a pound and create your own indoor cinema complete with tickets, a torch and popcorn.

4. Celebrate surviving the week with a duvet evening or an indoor Olympics session, whichever seems more appropriate to your energy levels.

5. The new year is a time of reflection – if you have the mental capacity after weeks of nativity plays, Christmas hysteria and Christmas bugs – and for many that means thinking about finding a new job. Talk to friends and ex-colleagues. Put feelers out and use social media to make connections or ask what’s around. Be clear about the type of work and hours you want before you start looking.  

6. Save more money by the judicious use of vouchers and coupons. If you have teenagers, get them interested in programmes like Extreme Couponing and they can do all the research for you and even think they thought of the idea in the first place.

7. Recycle old clothes by cutting up bits of them and sewing them to other bits. You will have an original new look without spending any money as well as using up all the clothes the kids have grown out of.

8. Dust off your hot water bottles. If you work from home and can’t afford to heat your house just for you during the day, use multiple hot water bottles and duvets, but ensure you can still move your fingers if you need to type.

9. Get fit. Create your own jogging posse with your kids and get the whole family fit without having to spend a single penny. If your children are very small, build up their stamina through a few sessions of push-ups and squat thrusts before going for a longer run outside or you will end up running with someone small on your back. On the plus side you will get fitter faster.

10. Consider hibernation. Maybe the bears have got it right.

*For more advice on how you can save money and live within your budget, go to Money Advice Service. For advice on benefits or tax credits you might be entitled to, contact

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