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How To Beat The January Blues

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Blue Monday is the 3rd Monday in the month of January. If you haven't heard of blue Monday before or have no idea what it is well it's supposed to be the day when we can get very sad and down in the dumps. It's not surprising really because January is probably the worst month of the year as it's the month after all the Christmas festivities and there is not much to look forward to. If you are feeling a little blue today then read our tips on how to beat the January blues.

a path through the woods


Get Outside
On these darker days its only natural to want to stay inside and curl up on the sofa however it is best to try and head outside for some fresh air. if you can. Going for a walk and getting some light can make us feel a whole lot better. In between Christmas and New Year we went out to the park a few times and it really did help. Just that bit of fresh air cleared our minds and dusted off the cobwebs.

Go Shopping
Taking a trip to the shops in January can really help beat those 'down in the dumps' days. There are lots of January sale bargains still to be had out there and finding something you want or need at a reduced price can give you a lift that you need.

Disneyland Paris castle
Plan A Trip
After Christmas we all want something to look forward to so planning a trip is a great way to lift your spirits and have something planned in your diary. January is when I start browsing the Internet for cheap flights or breaks away, usually it involves a trip to Disney however we have already booked our Disneyland Paris trip this year. That doesn't mean though that I can't try and sneak another holiday in. 

Try Something New
January is the month for resolutions, aims and goals but they are usually made up of things we want to change about ourselves. Whether it is our weight, our job, our lack of exercise. However it would be nice for one of our aims or goals to be something positive. Think about something you've always wanted to do whether it's learn a new language or join a dance class and do it. It's good to try something new once in a while and get out of our comfort zones. One interesting idea would be to treat yourself with a fun and exciting experience - our friends from Experience Gifts have plenty to choose from! 

books

Me Time
We all need a little 'Me Time' however most of us tend to put others first and we forget about us. It's important to remember that we need time for ourselves away from busy work schedules and every day life. We need to make sure we take care of ourselves and January is the best time to start a new routine for ourselves whether it's a weekly pamper night, an early night or just curling up with that book that you've been meaning to read for a year. I am determined this year to read more and although last year I did pretty well since joining my book club

If you are suffering from the January blues this year just remember you are not alone. Most of us don't like January but its just one month out of twelve and thankfully it's almost over.

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Ideas To Help You Save For Christmas

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Saving for Christmas for most people starts in January. Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of year so it's sensible for us to get a head start and start preparing for Christmas as early as now. The January sales is a great place to start as you can get some amazing bargains on gifts, decorations or homeware that you can put away in preparation for Christmas. Every year I say I will start saving for Christmas as soon as possible and I never do. This year I have decided I am going to start saving for Christmas now and I have a few ideas on how to help you save for Christmas if you want to start now too. 

save money logo


1p Challenge
The 1p challenge is probably the most known saving scheme as is quite a popular choice. It's very simple to follow and if done correctly by Christmas you will have over £600 in your saving pot. 

So here's how it works

On 1st January you put 1p in to a savings jar
On 2nd January you put 2p in to a savings jar
On 3rd January you put 3p in to a savings jar
On 4th January you put 4p in to a savings jar
On 5th January you put 5p in to a savings jar
On 6th January you put 6p in to a savings jar
On 7th January you put 7p in to a savings jar
and so on adding 1p on to your total each day. 

By the end of this challenge you will have saved well over £600 in time for Christmas. 

This challenge can be done in reverse if you wanted to save larger amounts at the beginning on the year.

On 1st January you put £3.65 in to a savings jar
On 2nd January you put £3.64 in to a savings jar
On 3rd January you put £3.63 in to a savings jar
On 4th January you put £3.62 in to a savings jar
On 5th January you put £3.61 in to a savings jar
On 6th January you put £3.60 in to a savings jar
On 7th January you put £3.59 in to a savings jar
and so on until Christmas. 

It's a simple saving challenge which would certainly give you a head start towards your Christmas Spends. 


The 52 Week Challenge
This idea is similar to to the 1p challenge however you don't have to remember to add your pennies to your savings jar each week you add each week and it's a pound challenge rather than a penny challenge so by Christmas you will have saved over £1300.

So here's how it works

Week one add £1 to your savings jar
Week two add £2 to your savings jar 
Week three add £3 to your savings jar
Week four add £4 to your savings jar

By the end of the month you will have saved £10 now this won't seem much but it soon mounts up as you head in to months 6,7,8 and finally in to December when your pot will have well over £1000 in it. 

You can also do this challenge in reverse too

Week one add £52 to your savings jar
Week two add £51 to your savings jar
Week three add £50 to your savings jar
Week four add £49 to your savings jar

Doing this challenge in reverse means that at the end of the month you will have £202 in your pot. 


Save With Your Supermarket
Asda offer a savings reward card which is perfect if you shop at their store. The cards are usually found in store or you can order one online. Every time you shop you can add an amount to your savings card. You have full control so can add as much or as little as you like and as often as you want. The amount you save on your card can be put towards your shopping in store, online and also on George online.

At the end of the year they usually offer a small reward to say thank you for saving with them each year.  These rewards were for 2021 but assume they will be similar for 2022. I will update when the 2022 rewards have been confirmed.  

Savings on card £30 - £79
Bonus reward £1

Savings on card £80 - £129
Bonus reward £3

Savings on card £130 - £179
Bonus Reward £6

Savings on card £180 - £229
Bonus Reward £9

Savings on card £230 - £279
Bonus Reward £12

Savings on card £280+
Bonus Reward £15

If you are a regular shopper at Tesco then you can will know that Tesco offer a reward scheme in the form of Tesco Club Card Points. These points are converted in to vouchers throughout the year and are a great way to save to help towards your Christmas food shop. 

You could also buy gift cards throughout the year which are usually by the checkouts to save for Christmas. Unfortunately Tesco gift cards can only be loaded once so they cannot be topped up so not as easy as the Asda Christmas Saving card but still worth it if Tesco is your regular supermarket. 

supermarket trolley filled with money


Money Saving / Cash Back Apps
We have been using money saving apps now for quite a few years and the amount of cash back we earn really does build up. This can be left in the app or you can withdraw and add to your saving jars. There are so many money saving and cash back apps out there but these are a few of our favourites. 

Checkout Smart
Checkout Smart is a cash back app that offers you cash back on certain products when bought at certain stores. 

Every day new offers are loaded and the more you use it the more the offers refresh. All you need to do is..

Check the app each day for offers
Choose which offers you want to redeem
Head to the supermarket and buy the products
After purchasing take a photograph of your receipt
Await confirmation of your cash back

Once your cash back has been confirmed it will go on to your balance. You can cash out your balance at any time however no fee will be charged if your balance goes above £20.00. Cash back can be paid to your bank via BACS or PayPal.

The amount of cash back on products does vary however sometimes the app offers you the chance to receive 100% cash back making it completely free. 

Shopmium 
Shopmium is very similar to Checkout Smart. It offers you cash back on certain products and usually refreshes every 1 to 2 days with new offers. 

To use Shopmium all you need to do is

Check the app each day for offers
Choose which offers you want to redeem
Head to the supermarket and buy the products
After purchasing take a photograph of your receipt
Await confirmation of your cash back

Shopmium doesn't give you the option to save up your cash back within the app, it is sent directly to your chosen payment method once validated. 

There is a reward scheme with Shopmium called Shopmium club. It gives you the option to upgrade to Gold level free of charge by completing easy steps. 

Share your referral code
Every member has a refer a friend code that not only benefits you but your friend too. If you friend signs up using your code ( KFYYKYGQ - This is mine) your friend will receive a free gift. At the moment it's a tube of Pringles. You as the referrer will also get a reward of £3 which will go as credit against future cash back offers. 

Redeem Offers
Submit at least 10 cash backs to reach Gold level then submit at least 1 per month to maintain in the Gold level. 

There are lots of benefits to being in Gold level including
Exclusive challenges
Previews of offers before they go live
Special gift on your birthday
Momentarily reserved offers

Quidco
Quidco is an online cash back app that offers great rates of cash back when shopping online. 

There are hundreds of retailers including well known stores such as Argos, B&Q, H Samuel this list is huge. You can also earn cash back on holidays such as TUI, Easyjet, booking.com. It's also great to earn extra cash back when switching telecom, gas, electricity providers. There is so many options to earn. 

Refer a Friend Scheme
Quidco offer a refer a friend scheme that unlocks a bonus of £10 for your friend once they have signed up and had at least £5 cash back confirmed on to their account. As a referrer you will be notified once someone signs up using your referral link or your referral code (6857695 - this is mine) you will then be credited with £30 cash back.

We are just a few pounds shy of £600 savings since we started. Cash out is available via PayPal or bank transfer. You also have the options to buy vouchers with your cash back instead of taking cash. The vouchers are available with an added % bonus on top and differ depending on the store.

For example if you had £20 to cash out you can 
Take £20 cash
Buy a voucher for Amazon with an added 2% on top 
Buy a voucher for JD Sports with an added 10% on top
There are plenty of vouchers available and the added bonus ranges from 2 - 25% extra. 


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