Historically, January has always been a miserable month for me. The jolt of reality has always been a real downer after Christmas, despite embracing the return to normal at other times of year. As a kid who usually loved school, I really dragged my feet back in January. And as a student who loved uni, I dreaded packing up my stuff and leaving the cosy sanctuary of home for my shared house.
This year, however, something’s different. The weather has been awful, but for some reason January hasn’t felt so blue. Partly this is because I started the month with some exciting plans, which have helped to distract me from the neverending rain.
Eighteen days in and January is still running fairly smoothly, although there was a hiccup on the Dry January attempt after a particularly difficult day of mum life last Thursday (sick child off school, toddler practising Free Running off the furniture etc). So I won’t go polishing my halo just yet.
One of the reasons I’ve always hated January as an adult is because I’ve always been skint. I’ve not had cash to burn in the sales or to blow on a “beat the January blues” holiday. This is the first January in as long as I can remember when we haven’t noticed such a huge drop in spends and this is down to two big factors.
We were more organised with Christmas, meaning we spread the cost out a bit more. Plus, we’d already saved up some money for our summer holiday next year, as well as booking it all too. (I’m going to write a post soon on how we saved money on our family holiday abroad next summer, as there are a few things I did which you might find useful if you’re looking at ways to save cash on a holiday.)
All of this has meant January hasn’t been such a bleak month after all. TSB have some useful advice on saving cash this year in their New Year Money Resolutions guide and, unsurprisingly, two big areas are saving and budgeting.
Using a savings account to put aside a little money every month has meant we’ve been able to gradually spread the cost of things like holidays and Christmas without feeling a huge dent in our pocket. It’s not rocket science, but it’s never something I’ve managed to do up until recently. We’ve also got into eBay the last few months and made a bit of extra money on some of the things we no longer want or need – all of that cash has gone straight into the savings pot too.
My mum also has a big part to play in helping keep the drudgery of January at bay. Before Christmas she booked tickets to take me and Frog to the theatre to see a beautiful play (Elouise and the Curse of the Golden Whisk by the incredibly creative Wardrobe Ensemble – look them up, trust me) which gave us something fun to do on an otherwise rainy and miserable Saturday. And then, last weekend, she entertained, fed and generally looked after us all while my dad and the NLM started phase one of the bedroom renovation (building a new wardrobe).
We spent Saturday at soft play, before heading to the seaside for fish and chips and a play on the beach. Baby Girl is obsessed with my mum and follows her around like a little shadow, which is rather sweet (if rather tiring for my mum).
So far the month has had just the right amount of busy days in between calm ones. We’ve got on with house projects and my big work project of 2016 is well under way too, which is pretty exciting (as well as being daunting and scary).
One of the hardest things I often find about being a mum is that balance between getting stuff done and accepting that sometimes it’s enough just to make it to the end of the day with everyone fed, warm and happy. I often get frustrated if I haven’t ticked anything off my To Do list on any given day, but so far I’ve somehow managed to keep the balance so things have got done but I’ve been able to carve out time for the kids too. Not sure how I’ve done it, so of course it could all go wrong at any moment. Still, it’s nice while it lasts.
How’s your January going?
Thanks to TSB for working with me on this post. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.