5 practical ways to cheer up your finances on Blue Monday

Posted on

In 2004 a psychologist named Cliff Arnall coined the expression “Blue Monday.”

He reasoned that, due to a conflation of bad weather, limited daylight, and post-Christmas debt, the third Monday of January was the most depressing day of the year.

He has since confessed that the claim, that he made for a travel agency, had no foundation in fact, but the name has stuck.

There is general acceptance that getting through January can be challenging, especially if your finances did take a bit of a battering over the Christmas and new year period.

This year Blue Monday falls on 17 January. Although you may think that the concept is nonsense, it could well be a good day to actively take steps to make yourself some money, or to give yourself a mental boost by sorting out some financial issues.

Here are five suggestions for cheering up your finances on Blue Monday.

1. Complete your self-assessment tax return

If you submit your self-assessment tax return online, the deadline for doing this is midnight on 31 January.

If you need to complete a return you should have received written notification from HMRC. It’s worth checking on the HMRC website if you’re unsure.

On Blue Monday you’ll have a fortnight left before the deadline, so give yourself a lift by grasping the nettle and starting to get it done. You may need to obtain copies of some of your financial records to complete your return, so starting it now will give you time to do so.

HMRC have improved the online submission process over the last few years. It’s now much simpler to complete your return, so it shouldn’t be as daunting as you might think.

You may also make some money from it. For example, if you normally work in an office but have been working at home during the pandemic you may well be able to claim a tax rebate of £125.

2. Claim your higher or additional-rate pension tax relief

When you complete and submit your self-assessment tax return you may also be able to claim extra pension tax relief.

You generally benefit from basic-rate tax relief every time you make a pension contribution. But if you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer, you will need to claim any further relief due to you through your tax return.

Recent research published in the Telegraph revealed that 8 out of 10 higher-rate taxpayers eligible to claim this relief fail to do so, missing out on an estimated £810 million every year.

If you haven’t previously completed a self-assessment tax return but have made pension contributions and paid tax at either the higher or additional rate, you may also be able to claim relief in arrears.

You can backdate claims for up to four previous tax years, which could give you a substantial financial boost.

3. Review your financial outgoings

Monday is normally the quietest evening of the week, so why not use the evening of Blue Monday to review your financial outgoings? As well as keeping track of your finances, you may also discover that you can save money, or even that you’re owed it.

Go through your latest bank statement and note down all your regular outgoings. Then check that the correct amount is being debited, and that you don’t have any money being taken that shouldn’t be.

It’s possible that you may have cancelled a particular contract, but money has still been collected, or you’ve paid a higher amount than you expected through a direct debit mandate.

Also check to see if there are any regular outgoings you can cancel.

Then, allocate what you’ve saved to either reducing your debt or to give your savings and investments a boost.

4. Consider switching your bank account

It’s likely that, at some stage, you’ve saved money by switching things like your car and household insurance. You could be one of the many people who save hundreds of pounds each year in this way.

Another way of potentially both saving money and making it is by moving your current account from one provider to another.

Many banks offer a cash bonus of as much as £150 for you to switch, and they will also take care of all the administration involved with changing direct debit details.

If you and your spouse or partner bank separately, you could potentially celebrate Blue Monday 2022 by earning up to £300 between you!

Before you go ahead, however, you should ensure that you don’t end up paying higher bank charges and that the facilities offered by any new account meet your personal banking needs.

5. Review your investments

Constantly checking the value of your pension fund and other investments normally isn’t advisable. It’s far too easy to overreact to sudden market fluctuations and make short-term decisions that don’t lend themselves to long-term performance.

However, if you haven’t reviewed them for some time, Blue Monday could well be the time to do so.

For one thing, in spite of the pandemic, markets around the world performed relatively well in 2021 so you may be pleasantly surprised. For example, the Dow Jones index rose by an impressive 18% in 2021 and the FTSE 100 was up 14.3% in the year.

Secondly, it’s worth checking through your portfolio and getting up-to-date valuations to ensure that it is still performing in line with your expectations and that it’s suitable for what you’re trying to achieve.

Get in touch

If you need help or guidance when you’re managing your personal finances, we’ll be happy to help you.

You can email us at enquiries@blackswanfp.co.uk or contact your adviser on 020 3828 8100.


We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter