Blue Monday! How To Get Your Finances Back On Track
January isn’t known for being the brightest month ever, but what you might not realise is that January is thought to be the most depressing month of the year.
The comedown after all the festivity of Christmas, a slightly more rotund body from over-indulging, not to mention the dawning realisation of just how much money you spent on family and friends. All of these things come together with a spot of grey and dismal weather to make you feel less than perky!
What you may not have heard of is Blue Monday. Today, Monday the 16th January 2017, is thought to be the most depressing day of the entire year.
Ultimately, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the concept of Blue Monday, however with every year that goes by it seems that more and more people are starting to become aware of its curse.
It is thought that a variety of aspects can come together to create an almost formulaic combination. This includes credit card debt, the weather, the amount of time it has been since Christmas, and those feelings of failure stemming from not achieving our much coveted New Year’s Resolutions.
Add into this a general feeling of sadness or low motivation, and you have a recipe for a very blue day!
Don’t be blue this blue Monday, get your finances back on track
We don’t believe that you have to be blue this Blue Monday. In fact, we are on a mission to help people not only beat Blue Monday, but give January a good old dusting off too.
Rather than looking at your finances with a bleak and grey tint, why not use the middle part of January as a way to really get them back on track?
It doesn’t have to be a major overhaul, after all, let’s not push ourselves too much this month. Instead you could look at particular parts of your finances and see how you could improve them.
Credit card debt
Your credit card debt is a great way to start sorting out your finances. This is because it is easy to sort out and doesn’t take too much effort. The easiest way to do this is to look at just one card first. This means that you can tackle one balance at a time, and have more chance of success.
When planning to pay off one credit card, shop around for the best rate possible. This could come in the form of asking your creditors for a better rate, or maybe seeing what other credit card providers can give you.
The quickest way to pay off your credit card is to make large lump sum payments against the balance. However, if you cannot afford this then consider paying of the minimum payment twice every month, that way you will be reducing the balance, if only by a little bit. Alternatively, some people choose to take out a Debt Consolidation Loan, to amalgamate multiple credit card balances into a single debt.
Get more control
Many of us take a back seat when it comes to our spending, and this could be having a huge negative impact on the way our finances look. Don’t just let it happen, be active in your approach.
Plan your debt, plan your savings and make sure that you take the time to take an interest in what is happening in both. It is much better to spend 20 minutes every week on your finances than spending huge chunks of time every few months. If your debt is getting out of control and you are struggling to manage your fiances, then you may want to consider something like an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) or a Protected Trust Deed should you live in Scotland.
Think about those purchases
Linked to the above tip, it is also a good idea to think carefully about purchases before you make them. Impulse shopping can be dangerous, especially for things such as credit card debt, which is why you should always ask yourself if you really need to buy it.
The best thing to do is walk away, and leave it a few days. If you still feel that it is a necessity, maybe you could save up to make the purchase rather than putting it on the credit card and creating further debt that needs to be paid off.
Have a selling spree
Instead of spending in January, why not make it the month that you have a selling spree? There is a good chance that your home will be feeling a little more cluttered after some of the festive treats, so not only can it make you some extra cash, but free up some space too.
Take a look around your home and see what may be worthwhile selling on. You may be surprised by how much money your things can go for, and this money could be put away to pay off debt, or perhaps to go towards a purchase that you really want to make.
Teach the next generation
Whilst this isn’t particularly targeted at improving your own finances, this is something that you should definitely make time for.
If you have children, then it is a great idea to try and teach them about the importance of looking after their money from an early age. Otherwise you may find that they learn bad habits during their teenage years, which could lead to a snowball effect and a bad financial situation in early adulthood.
So, if you are feeling blue this Monday put down the ice cream and instead pick up your bank statement. You may be surprised how much positivity you can create, just by tackling your debt head on and planning to end your year in a much better financial position then you may have started it in.
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16 January 2017
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