This time I'm keeping my New Year's resolution

6 January 2011

Ah, the beast of the New Year has reared its ugly head once more. Misery January, as it’s better known, means we all dance a merry jig around a list of promises a mile long – the most common being stop eating, stop drinking and stop having fun.

Like the pro that I am, I’ve written a list of new year’s resolutions – but vow to stick to only one of them. For the past five and a half years I’ve been mired in student debt, and I’m nowhere near clawing my way back into the black. Oh, and I like spending money too much. So, it comes as little surprise that resolution numero uno is to spend less. Not only spend less, but write down every single penny that I spend.

In the past I’ve simply whipped out the plastic and crossed my fingers when I visited the cash point. But for the past week, I’ve meticulously noted down what I’ve spent and where. It’s surprisingly addictive. Today I spent £1.84 on a banana, a greetings card and an apple in Tesco and ran back to the office to proudly scrawl this in my new budget book.

Each day, it’s painful to see how much money I’ve spent without really having much to show for it. This brings me nicely onto my second resolution – to stop drinking and eating out so much. I’ve vowed to find free (or at least, cheaper) things to do. To this end, I’ve wangled a free two-month subscription to LoveFilm, which gives me unlimited DVDs until the start of March. Without paying a penny, there’s two months’ free entertainment.

I’ve also signed up to the mailing list of one of my favourite restaurants, and it’s sent me lots of money off vouchers as an incentive to visit. While for the rest of the year these generous discounts only apply if it’s a blue moon/it’s the Pope’s birthday/it’s the Monday before Easter, January seems to be relaxing the rules. I’ve also found free passes for exhibitions and shows going on in London this month just by visiting their website and registering my interest.

While it might seem like the misery month, there are plenty of free things to get your mitts on – and it’ll keep my budget sheet, not to mention my bank balance, happy for the rest of the month.