Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'A fresh start is needed to ease my spending hangover'

In The Red

So how was it for you? The spend-fest that is Christmas and New Year, I mean. I had been so bogged down in domestic disasters (theft, crooked locksmiths, BT's terrible customer service) that I had let the whole thing escape me until the week before, when I frantically bought all my Christmas presents in one swoop.

Until then, I was so preoccupied that I had even managed to forget all those awful corporate Christmasisms: the "traditional" foods you've never heard of before (Chocolate snowballs anyone? Christmas flapjacks? Mince pie Latte?); the inducements to start spending long before December had even dawned; the new-fangled decorations that you really don't need. Every cloud, silver lining, eh?

On the down side, even with my spending stripped down to just a week, I'm still feeling the hangover. It doesn't help that around this time of year everyone you've ever met in your life suddenly wants a "festive catch-up", usually entailing a slap-up meal and a bottle – or three – of wine.

And, for all my good intentions, I know from experience that January is never cheap. It's freezing so your fuel bill soars. And it's the time of fresh beginnings, a concept which – I was reminded this week – has a price tag all of its own: all those year planners, calendars, diaries and diet books add up.

Still, I'm determined that they will be put to good use this year. I've made a longer list of resolutions than usual and I intend to keep them (apart from the one about avoiding sweets, I'm afraid, which has already fallen by the wayside; but give me a break, I'm running a marathon in April!).

I'm limiting my takeaway coffees to treat status, bringing a thermos of soup into work for lunch (apart from the days when I run in, when some of the money saved on the tube fare can go on my favourite £2 salad from M&S); I'm sorting out my various subscriptions, phone bills and bank accounts to become more streamlined (actually, I've already done most of this – and how satisfying it is) and I'm going to stop using cash points that charge fees just so that I can buy that piece of gum that I "really really need".

It's not that I want to save money as such (though that would be good). What I really want is to be able to afford more. Instead of frittering my cash away on a pack of gum here or a latte there, I want to be able to consume more meaningfully. I'd like to save up for a holiday abroad. I'd like to take photography classes with my amazing new Christmas present of a camera. And, um, I'd like some new clothes. Please.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administrator

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...

    Recruitment Genius: Payments Advisor

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Repayments Advis...

    Recruitment Genius: Investment Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of financ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests