It’s a funny old month January isn’t it? On the one hand you’ve got glass half full people embarking on life changing resolutions as the start of the new year brings new enthusiasm and the motivation to make necessary changes.
On the other hand, three Mondays into the month and we’re told it’s officially the most depressing day of the year and a sense of doom and gloom fills our social media news-feeds.
Well, first of all forget the hype, Blue Monday was manufactured by Sky Travel which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation. An equation generally derided by scientists.
In other words, it’s safe to say you won’t feel anymore or any less depressed just because it is the third Monday in January. However, you can use it to kickstart your new year motivation and make some real improvements to your financial outlook.
Why Blue Monday is the perfect time for change
When January 1 strikes we are full of it aren’t we? Setting out a ridiculous, impossible amount of improvements we are going to make to our lives.
The problem is, by the time we’ve punished ourselves to the brink two weeks in to the year most of the initial motivation has almost completely disappeared. The diet is on hold, the gym can wait and the money you were going to save has already been spent on something to cheer yourself up about the whole miserable thing.
The problem with most people is too much change too soon ends in us quitting. Knowing how to set yourself small, achievable goals throughout the whole year, not just January, is paramount if you want to get off to a good start.
Overload yourself and you’ll achieve nothing, feel deflated and simply give up.
Small change can make a big difference
For many people saving money seems an impossible task. Outgoings are too high, income is too low, and life refuses to stop throwing curve balls throughout the year.
However, usually it’s not a complete lack of spare money to save, but rather a lack of good financial habits.
One of the best and easiest good financial habits to incorporate into your everyday life is skimming your bank account. It’s quick, simple and effective. Most importantly, it instills the saving habit into you without it stretching your budget.
What is skimming?
Bank account skimming is a simple saving technique that allows you to save away small amounts of money regularly without it stretching your budget too much and leaving you short of cash.
When you first decide to start saving money away, the usual method is to allocate a lump sum monthly. In our boldness we can often be tricked into thinking we’re able to save more than we can, and a large lump sum quickly becomes a daunting prospect and, you guessed it, we quit trying.
How does skimming work?
Set up a savings account if you don’t already have one.
Use your debit card to pay for anything you need to buy throughout your day.
At the end of the day, log into your internet banking and check your balance and round it down to the nearest £1.
So for instance, let’s say your balance is £921.34.
You would round that sum down to £921.00 to make a nice even number, and transfer the 34p into your savings account.
Some accounts will not allow you to transfer under a pound, if that is the case with your bank account round down to the nearest 5 or £10, so £920.00 in this example.
I can’t afford to skim my bank account every day
You’re not on your own, it’s nothing to worry about. The beauty about skimming compared to generic 52 week saving challenges is you can do it whenever you like. You may well have no spend days if you prepare and take your own food to work for instance.
Start off as small as you like, but if you realise you can afford to save more crank it up a bit.
If you can manage to save £25 per month in small, manageable chunks by Christmas this year you will have up to £300 saved. When over 50% of us will still be paying the credit card bill for Christmas 2017 when they put the tree back up in 2018, can you really afford not to?
Struggling to make ends meet on Blue Monday?
January is always a tough month and you maybe feeling the pinch. If it is getting too much to handle give us a call today on 0161 468 7695.