Money-Saving Tips for December |

7 Money-Saving Tips to Make Your December Pay Cheque Go Further

It’s a long wait until the next payday, so here's some money-saving tips!

7 Money-Saving Tips to Make Your December Pay Cheque Go Further

All Credits: PA

Being paid early in December always feels brilliant at the time.

You have money in your pocket to spoil all your loved ones with Christmas presents and even have some dirhams leftover to treat yourself in the January sales.

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Transform Yourself from Spender to Saver

The problem is that after the frivolous spending, your finances often take a serious beating ahead of the New Year. With some companies paying staff in mid-December, there may be six weeks between pay days, which means your monthly spends can easily run dry.

We asked money-saving experts for their advice on how to stretch your next paycheque, so you won’t be eating just bread and rice for the rest of January.

1. Budget

A spreadsheet might not sound like the most exciting way to spend your evening, but it could really help you to keep on top of your funds between pay days.

“Creating a budget is probably one of the most important pieces of money saving advice that I could give to anyone over the festive period,” says Steve Code, director at Unity Mutual.

“Putting together an overview of how much money you’ll spend on presents, social occasions and bills can really help visualise how much you have for the month and will often prevent you from dipping into your savings,” he adds.

Not sure where to start? have a handy and free downloadable spreadsheet where you can input all your income and outgoings and see where you can save.

2. Use points instead of cash

If you know you’re in for a long financial month in January, now is the best time to lean on your points cards for the weekly food shop and toiletries.

“If you have points on different loyalty cards, use them – don’t let them sit there unused or, even worse, expire,” says George Charles, spokesperson for

“Most people don’t know how much they have on different loyalty cards, so find out by checking your accounts or asking in store. Even if it’s a simple AED5 worth of points here or there, it’ll cover some of the essentials without touching any cash.”

3. Sign up for online and mobile banking

If you rely on the ATM to provide your account balance, it can be easy to fumble through January with no clue as to how bad your money situation is.

“Keep track of what you’re spending by arranging for your bank to send you texts if you are nearing your debit or overdraft limit,” says Deborah Vickers, personal finance expert and channel director at

“This will help you to have fun throughout Christmas and the New Year period, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to be paying off debt for the next six months.”

4. Use apps and tools

“There are plenty of savings and budgeting apps out there such as Yolt, Squirrel and Money Dashboard,” says Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina. “It’s worth spending some time getting to know these apps to find the one that suits you.”

He says that the beauty with a lot of these apps is how they present information. “The abstract concept of money is transformed when you can see what sort of difference your actions are having, or when you can see exactly how your money is working for you on one screen.” Prepare to be horrified by how much you spend on brunch and taxis.

5. Review, review, review

The New Year is the best time to review whether you can save some money on your monthly bills.

“The easiest way to trim the fat on your direct debits is to shop around every time a subscription or insurance policy is due for renewal,” says Smith-Thompson. He suggests looking into whether switching your insurance policy, energy provider or bank could save you some cash.

“Another consideration is looking at your current TV package,” he adds. “You could by saying goodbye to movies, and considerably more if you can go without sports channels. Slimming down how much is regularly coming out of your account could quickly bolster your disposable income.”

6. Make three pots

“If seeing your bank balance as one big sum doesn’t make for comfortable viewing, try separating your spending into individual pots,” advises Smith-Thompson. “This will give you better visibility of which areas of your life you’re overspending on.”

The three pots saving approach is well established: an account for treats and the things that you know are coming up such as birthdays and trips away, an emergency fund to cover life’s unexpected trials and a bigger ‘rainy day’ pot.

7. Consider Dry January

It’s easier to avoid expensive nights out in January, so why not take the month off from drinking altogether? Boozing can easily add up and you’d be surprised by how much you can save.

“Use the month of January to focus on yourself by staying in and doing things around the house that you might have neglected in the previous month,” suggests Andy Barr, personal finance expert and co-founder of

“Keep yourself busy catching up on your favourite Netflix shows, enjoy long bubble baths with your Christmas smellies and snack on all the leftover festive cheese and biscuits – anything you can think of that will assist in stopping unnecessary spending and make your money last that bit longer.”