Consumer expert shares top tips for saving money in the New Year

Linda Rider

Christmas is officially over and you’ve had all the gingerbread lattes and festive bakes you can take.

The decorations are still up but chances are you’re ready to reign it all in after a month of festivities, gift-giving, and a never-ending supply of chocolate.

For some now is the time to reset with fitness goals, healthy eating, and saving pennies on the top of many people’s lists.

If you’ve set new year’s resolutions but want to keep those purse strings tight we’ve spoken to the co-founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, Tom Church, for tips, tricks, and advice.

Here’s what the consumer expert had to say on everything from keeping fit on a budget to making Christmas cheaper in 2022.

Save on January fitness goals

Tom told us: “January is the perfect time to shop around for a gym membership as this is when they start promoting major discounts.

“This pattern happens every year – they’re banking on people wanting to get back in shape after the festive season.

“Many gyms will give away free gym passes for a few days so you can try them out – why not make the most of this deal to see which one is best for you? Plus, when you do decide on a gym, you will usually be able to find a code to avoid paying the joining fee.

“This shouldn’t be difficult to find as lots of brands will promote that they’re doing away with the fee for January.”

However, if you don’t want to shell out for a gym membership, Tom explained there are there are plenty of other ways to keep fit on a budget.

He suggested using fitness apps, which can be installed on iPhone or Android, to hit your goals.

These are his top five:

1. Map My Run

This app is perfect for people who want to track their fitness activities. It doesn’t have to be just running as any workout can be logged. More than 600 activities are available for tracking including cycling, walking, cross training, and yoga. You can also connect your fitness device so data can easily be imported.

2. Strava

Well-known in the cycling community, this app is also great for anyone wanting to track their fitness goals. You’ll be able to see your walk, ride, or run on a map afterwards and share it with your followers. What’s more your friends and family can give you kudos after you’ve done a workout – giving you that extra boost to keep going.

3. Nike Training Club

There are more than 200 different workouts available to choose from whether you enjoy cardio, yoga, or strength training. You don’t need access to a gym or any equipment to get started which is what makes this app such a hit with people on a budget. As you improve your fitness you can check out the advanced workouts and get in shape like the pros.

4. Couch to 5K

If you’ve always wanted to get into running but felt unsure of where to start this app is a great choice. You can begin with walking-focused workouts and begin including short runs until you can keep going for longer. This programme is spread out over several weeks and you’ll be guided by celebrity coaches along the way.

5. YouTube

You don’t have to download a dedicated fitness app to find a library of workouts. There’s plenty to choose from on the popular video uploading app whether you like high-intensity interval training or guided spin classes. Check out what’s on offer by searching for what you like and see what comes up.

Make the most of January sales

It might seem odd to go shopping straight after Christmas but Tom said the January sales are a good opportunity to buy Christmas presents for the following year.

With little planning you can pick up gift sets and festive stocking fillers on sale at heavily-reduced prices at the likes of Boots and TK Maxx.

“Putting these away in the garage or attic is a great way to make your Christmas bill cheaper next year,” Tom explained. “Where possible think ahead to other occasions too.

“Whether it’s birthdays, upcoming weddings, or similar you can make use of the sales to pick up some bargains and avoid the last-minute dash for full-price items closer to the time.”

He added: “It’s during the January sales that you’ll see end-of-season stock coming out as well so you can think about later in the year and stock up on things like clothes for the summer months. Plus, if you’ve got kids, you can buy clothes a few sizes bigger while they’re heavily discounted.”

Take on veganuary to save money

Tom said going vegan could save you up to £258 a year with research revealing that main meals cost 40% less when you go vegan, saving 71p per person on average.

He pointed out that it’s important to shop smartly when going vegan, however, avoiding ready-made food or processed meat ‘alternatives’ as these will often cost more.

“Focus on staples such as fruit, vegetables, beans, pasta, and rice,” he explained. “These can all be bought cheaply. Plus the classic methods of planning meals in advance and batch cooking will all help to keep costs down.”

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