Why Winter Is the Time to Get Your Finances in Order

Even though many of us feel the urge to hibernate when the mercury drops, don't get lazy when it comes to your finances − in fact, there are many reasons why winter is the ideal time to get your finances into better shape than the bikini body you'll definitely be sporting next summer (right?)

Stay in to save − as the days get colder and the nights darker, the inclination to wile away afternoons in the sun at the beach or sipping drinks in the pub beer garden fades away. Embrace this change as an opportunity to save and make staying in fun.

Invite friends over for a games or movie night instead of heading out on the town, and indulge in cravings for comfort food by cooking up big pots of hearty soups, stews or slow cooked meats. These kinds of meals can really make cheaper ingredients shine, and you'll pay far less than you would heading out for dinner at a restaurant. Not to mention the delicious leftovers can fill your freezer or lunchbox, saving you from spending money on meals in the future.

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Review your memberships − as you wind down for winter, club memberships, gym passes and other outdoor activities that you usually do in summer may get less of a workout. Look at putting your membership on hold or downgrading during winter. Since you'll be staying in more anyway, keep your fitness up on the cheap with the plethora of free online workout videos available on Youtube that you can do in your own living room.

You can also use your indoor time to shop around for better deals on things like your phone, internet, insurance and look at how your money is working for you. If you have a lot of debts spread across different channels, maybe now is the time to consider debt consolidation and a plan to pay it off.

Plan and pay for future travel − Riding out the winter months is a little easier if you have a sunny vacation to look forward to. According to a report released by Skyscanner, booking flights and holidays 6 − 20 weeks in advance delivers real savings, often between 11 − 21% off regular prices. Book your summer holiday now to find a better deal, and count down the days until you can get away. Need some destination inspiration? Check out our top 10 countries to visit for less.

Learn a new skill − Downtime in winter doesn't have to be boring. Instead of another pizza-and-Netflix marathon, occupy yourself with learning a new skill, craft or language. You could even take an online university course from one of the many open providers. As the saying goes “skills pay the bills” and you never know, your new-found talents for crocheting or painting could even become a side earner for you!

Whatever you do this winter, make time to give yourself a financial health check. Try our budget planner tool to help you figure out your finances