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Five simple money wins on ‘Blue Monday’

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Today has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ as Brits are down in the dumps over the weather, failed New Year’s resolutions and a Christmas debt hangover.

You may not be in the mood to tackle piles of paperwork but saving money can start with some simple steps – here are five to get you started:

1) Cut up the credit card: as well as being therapeutic, it should stop you spending any more on credit cards. If you have an outstanding balance on your card, consider shifting the debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card to help reduce the cost of paying it off. It’s best to check your eligibility before applying so a footprint isn’t left on your credit file. If this feels like a step too far, at the very least, stop putting any other spending on it.

2) Could you be a Premium Bond winner? For the more than 20 million Premium Bond holders, there’s more chance of winning a prize and the fund rate also recently increased to 1.40%.

But NS&I reports there are many Premium Bond holders who may have forgotten about the products. Typically, when you sell your holdings, you should receive an alert if there are any unclaimed prizes. But for any older bonds that have been cashed in a while ago, you should write to NS&I with your name, address and holder’s number so it can check your prize draw history. In total, there are over 1.4 million unclaimed prizes worth more than £57.5m. You’ll need the address it’s registered to and the holdings number to claim.

3) Carry out a direct debit purge: analysis has found that consumers pay an average of £160 on unwanted services and subscriptions such as gym membership and online streaming services, in just three months. Go over your bank statements, cancel what you don’t need or make sure to cancel a service before a free period expires.

4) Check your mobile phone contract: many people take out a mobile phone contract where the cost of the new handset is included in the overall price of the fixed-term deal such as over a two-year period.

At the end of the fixed-term deal people have the option to stay with their network on the same contract, take out a new contract or move to another provider altogether. But charity Citizens Advice has warned that customers of EE, Three and Vodafone who choose to stay on the same plan after their deal’s up, don’t get the bill reduced.

In fact, those who stay on the same contract with their provider after their fixed term deal ends are still charged the same amount as when they were paying for the handset – an extra £22 a month for a phone they’ve already paid off.

If your phone’s still in good working order, consider getting a sim-only deal which should work out cheaper.

5) Switch energy: Hundreds of thousands of households are missing out on annual savings worth up to £300 by sticking with their supplier, according to the regulator Ofgem. Take five minutes to compare and switch energy to save. Uswitch compares the best deals for you, or auto-switching sites such as Look After My Bills and Flipper will search the market for you and complete the switch on your behalf.

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