Beat the January blues

11 January 2013
Now the festive season is over; decorations are coming down, the money has been spent and we are left back at work feeling sluggish in the dreary days of January. Traditionally the New Year is an opportunity to make changes in your lifestyle. However with wallets tightening it can feel difficult to start something new because of the costly implications. Research carried out by ShopperVista found that over half of British shoppers (51%) will be aiming to save money on their grocery shopping over the next 6 months; the figures increase to 67% for families with teenagers. 
On the high street the atmosphere was a little quiet for retailers. “A flat end to a flat year” as it was described by David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, as retail sales figures were released on January 8th. The figures show an increase in retail sales by only 0.3% in comparison to 2.2 % the previous year in like-for-like sales. Online sales were up 17.8%, a slight decrease on the percentage from last year (18.5%). Despite the high internet use, it only accounted for 10-12% of total retail sales. The low figures show us that as consumers, we are watching our money with even more care. Read the full report by the British Retail Consortium here.
Since the New Year is all about new beginnings here are some cost effective goals to help you make the most of the New You in the New Year. So how can you brighten up your start to the New Year on a budget?
Final Reductions in stores: 
Fancy a new wardrobe? Marks and Spencer have a fantastic sale, offering items at a reduced price and special offers such as Buy One Get One Half Price on luxurious shirts, save £5 with Three for £10 on knickers plus Men’s suits are up to 60% off. New Look are currently giving you up to 60% off on both men's and women's items. Get women’s jeans from as little as £9.99, Two maternity tops for £12, and two pairs of men’s jeans for £30. Don’t forget, if you are a Pockit Pay Monthly cardholder, you will get cashback on top of the sale prices and promotions. 
The sales period is a great opportunity to snap up things at a cheaper price, which you can use as gifts throughout the year or as Christmas presents in the future! Get stocking fillers at clearance prices; check out the Christmas sale at Marks and Spencer for stocking fillers for as little as £0.75 and a pack of 12 Christmas crackers for as little as £6!
Try something new:
As it is a fresh start to the New Year, why not take up a hobby and try out new experiences. Our cashback retail partner Virgin Experience Days is having a January sale, get 25% off afternoon tea for two at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in London or enjoy a 2 for 1 English Vineyard Tour with Luxury Wine Tasting. For our male readers, if you’re feeling a little rough why not treat yourself to a 55min MOT treatment at Bannatyne’s (save 28%) and ladies, save up to 50% on spa treatments. Virgin Experience Days are also offering, for a limited amount of time only, 13% off all special offers plus Pockit Pay Monthly cardholder get an extra 8% cashback! 
Manage the finances: 
Managing your finances in the New Year is one of the most common New Year resolutions and also one of the most important ones. With rising costs and little movement in wages, it is important to monitor your incomings and outgoings. Creating and sticking to a budget can be difficult but with a little discipline and understanding it can be quite simple and rewarding. Try following some of the tips below: 
Get organised. Collate and review bills, receipts, irregular payments and tax over the past few years to give you a rough idea of the whole picture. 
Set a SMART goal. Give yourself a reasonable goal that you know you can achieve, whether it’s clearing up some debts, paying off an account, or even setting money aside for a holiday. Remember make sure the goal is a SMART one: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely.
Stay motivated. Keeping up the momentum can be rather difficult; the best thing to do is set aside some time once a week to review your expenses. Similar to having a work out partner, find a trusting budget buddy to advise you on your budgeting journey – this can help keep you motivated and on track. Check out our blog on Budgeting for 2013 for useful guides and more information on how to manage your finances.
Categories: Money Saving Ideas

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