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Blue Monday: Three tips to help you tackle financial woes

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Today marks ‘Blue Monday’, thought to be the most depressing day of the year following the festivities around Christmas as Brits look to the warmer weather of Spring.

Financial concerns play a major role in our lives and are likely to contribute to the ‘Blue Monday’ feeling. And this year’s cost-of-living crisis is also likely to weigh on personal finances even more.

Nearly half of UK adults said they were finding it difficult to afford rising bills, according to recent ONS data, but there are small ways to help you start to take control of your finances.

Rio Stedford, financial planning expert at Quilter, said: “January can often be a tricky month financially as people tend to have a longer wait for their monthly pay cheque following early payments ahead of the festive period in December, alongside an often costly month of celebrations.

“The current cost-of-living crisis is adding to the strain this year, and many people will no doubt be feeling the pinch financially this month as a result.”

He lists these three steps to help get your finances in order and help you tackle money-related stress:

1) Ask for help

Money can often be regarded as a difficult topic of conversation and many people tend to avoid it, but it is vital to open up about financial worries as carrying the burden alone is not the answer. It is important to remember that there is help available.

As a starting point, talking to a friend or family member about your worries may help, but if you are not comfortable to do so then financial guidance is available. There are several government-backed services such as MoneyHelper, as well as charities such as StepChange and Citizens Advice, which offer free support.

Where possible, seeking professional financial advice can also be highly beneficial in terms of implementing a long-term plan for your finances. A financial planner will be able to support you in your planning and decision making and will help ensure you find the best possible solutions for your circumstances.

2) Make a budget

People often lose track of their spending throughout December, and when January arrives may be left feeling overwhelmed, so it is important to get back on top of things.

Creating a budget is a great step to take in terms of regaining control of your finances, and there are many online budget planners that can help you. A budget will allow you to clearly see how much you spend and where, and from there you may be able to identify areas you could cut back on.

The start of a New Year presents an excellent opportunity to take stock, review your expenditure and reprioritise. For example, you should review your subscriptions to ensure they are still meeting your needs, and where possible you could look to switch to better deals to help reduce costs.

3) Boost savings where possible

Having an emergency cash savings buffer is very important, though before you look to start saving you should ensure any debts are paid off first – starting with those with the highest interest rates. Debt can have a negative impact on your mental health, so it is important to address these issues as soon as possible to help reduce stress.

Once you have settled any debts, you should look to boost your cash savings where possible. Currently you can earn up to 7% interest. While the cost-of-living crisis may make it more difficult to put money aside, having some cash in reserve is critical as it provides a cushion to fall back on should you need it.

Once you have an adequate pot of cash saved, you could consider investing for the longer term. Given the current high levels of inflation, cash savings can effectively decrease in value over time. However, it’s important to understand that markets do go up and down, so weigh up whether you can afford to take this risk for hopefully better returns than cash.