January is a gloomy month. Many of us are still recovering from spending and indulging too much over Christmas, the weather is miserable and a summer holiday feels like a lifetime away.
So it’s not surprising that today (January 18) is said to be the most depressing day of the year, affectionately known as Blue Monday.
But if you are feeling a little blue this Blue Monday, don’t worry – our top tips will help you to feel on top of the world again (or almost).
1. Give your bank balance a boost
If your bank balance is looking a little sorry for itself, give it (and yourself) a lift by switching to a better deal and saving yourself some money.
Switching your energy tariff, for example, could save you hundreds of pounds and it only takes around five minutes to fill in a few forms.
Similarly, if your car insurance or home insurance is up for renewal, run a quick search on our comparison channels to see if you can beat your renewal quote - it’s an easy way to put some cash back into your pocket.
And if your current account itself isn’t working for you anymore, it could be time to move to a more competitive offering. Your new bank will do all the hard work for you (read our guide to switching here) and you could even earn a bit of money.
Switching to First Direct’s 1st Account through MoneySuperMarket, for example, will earn you £150 cashback so long as you use the Current Account Switch Service and pay in £1,000 or more within three months.
You’ll need to keep paying in £1,000 a month, or have another product with First Direct, to avoid the £10 monthly fee on the account.
First Direct is renowned for its excellent customer service, so if your existing bank’s service is getting you down, this could be the choice for you.
Alternatively, if you tend to keep a large balance in your account, the TSB Classic Plus account pays 5.00% AER (variable) on balances up to £2,000 and you’ll receive 5% cashback on your first £100 of contactless or Apple Pay payments each month until the end of 2016.
You’ll need to pay in at least £500 a month and register for internet banking, paperless statements and paperless correspondence.
What’s more, if you open your account before February 8 and complete your switch before March 4, you’ll get £100. You’ll need to pay in £500 or more within 28 days of switching and have at least two direct debits on the account.
2. Take that first step to clearing your debt
Our latest research shows that three-fifths (62%) of Brits currently have unsecured debt – that’s debt other than their mortgage, such as a credit card balance, personal loan or overdraft.
And if you’re one of them, you’re no doubt feeling stressed, worried and overwhelmed.
But even just taking a small step towards tackling that debt will help you to feel more on top of things.
A good place to start is by shifting debt from a card charging interest to one that doesn’t. This will give you some breathing space and a chance to start clearing your debt without worrying about interest stacking up.
The Halifax credit card, for example, offers 40 months at 0% on balance transfers made in the first 90 days (minimum transfer of £100). This offer is available until February 15.
The card charges a transfer fee of 2.95% (3% after the first 90 days) and once the 0% period is up, you’ll pay 18.95% pa so try to clear your balance before then. The card has a representative rate of 18.9% APR (variable)*.
You’ll need a good credit score to be accepted for the best deals, so if you’re concerned, use our Eligibility Checker facility which will tell you how likely you are to be accepted for each credit card and won’t leave a mark on your credit file.
Find out more about tackling your debt in this article.
3. Rethink over-ambitious New Year’s resolutions
It’s easy to get a little carried away at the start of a new year, and promise yourself that you’ll do more exercise/eat more healthily/spend less money/keep on top of the household chores/see your family more often, and so on.
But if you haven’t set yourself realistic and achievable targets (or you’ve set too many), you’ll end up feeling worse than when you started out.
So take a step back and re-evaluate. You can then start looking at point 4…
4. Start planning for something good
Money might be tight this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning ahead.
Choose a goal you want to work towards and start thinking about how you’re going to achieve it – whether that’s a weekend break away, your summer holiday or your first home.
If you can start budgeting for it and setting aside a little money each month, even better, but just getting the ball rolling and having something to work towards can make you feel that bit more positive – and keep those blues at bay.
*Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable).
All credit cards are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See MoneySuperMarket.com for further information.