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Five money tips to keep the January blues at bay

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With Blue Monday (21 January) just around the corner, Online Tax Rebates’ director Tony Mills outlines five tips to stay on top of your finances and weather what is seen as the most depressing day of the year.

As Christmas is starting to feel like a distant memory, some of us could be forgiven for feeling a bit despondent.

To add to the feeling of woe, it’s estimated that five months is the average length of time it takes to pay off Christmas debt

In fact, 21 January is billed by some commentators as ‘the most depressing day of the year.’

As many of us prepare to take a long, hard look at our personal finances, here are five financial tips to consider ahead of Monday.

Keep a financial diary

It might sound like a chore, but keeping tabs on where your money goes is one of the best ways to wipe the slate clean and start the financial year on the right foot.

Keeping a log can help you see where you’re ‘leaking’ cash. You’d be surprised how much the extra coffee here or there can add up.

Banking apps like Monzo or Moneybox can give you a clear picture of what you’re spending most on and give you the option to save or invest by rounding up your purchases.

Claim money back

If you flinch at the sight of the tax column on your payslip each month, don’t fret. You could be due a healthy tax rebate and don’t even know it.

Why not make 2019 the year you get what you’re due? Whether you’re married, wear a uniform for your job, use childcare or work from home, you could be entitled to money back from the government.

Getting your facts straight on the schemes and entitlements you’re owed could be the first step you take to starting the financial New Year in style. There are a number of calculators available online to help you to speed up this process, allowing you to sit back and plan what you’re going to do with the extra money!

Spare no expenses

It is estimated that more than a third of workers say they never claim back their expenses.

While most work expenses are relatively meagre, small sums can quickly add up and leave you out of pocket.

If this sounds like you, why not start the new year afresh and download an app such as BizXpense Tracker or Concur Mobile. They take the hassle out of claiming expenses by simply allowing you to take a photo of your receipts as you spend so you can more easily log your claim.

Make work work for you

Investing in employee wellness is an ever-growing trend among businesses. These programmes are designed to produce happier, healthier and more productive members of staff.

However, an additional benefit to the workplace wellness boom is that it can include perks such as life insurance, subsidised memberships, financial education and private healthcare. These benefits could provide a handy safety net in the long run and help you become more financially secure.

Take advantage of the ‘new year, new you’ mentality and make sure you’re up-to-date on all the wellness programmes and schemes being offered at your place of work.

Remember: it’s never too early

As the old saying goes, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’. With this in mind, January is the perfect time to start laying down some financial foundations.

No matter what your age, make sure you fully understand the details of your company pension plan and, if it’s possible, think about adding more money to the pot – should you receive a pay rise or a bonus. After all, you never know what the future may hold!