Don’t let Blue Monday sink your finances

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Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the entire year, is upon us. The concept was first dreamed up by a British travel company, which calculated the timing of Blue Monday using an equation that takes into account weather, time since Christmas, debt levels and “time since failure to keep New Year’s resolutions.”

Under the fanciful formula, this year’s Blue Monday falls on Jan. 16. And, with all of its impending gloom (after all of those holiday parties and with our waistbands maybe a little tighter, the weather outside grayer and colder than ever, etc.), Blue Monday is one of the easiest days on which to fall behind on personal finance goals.

Maybe you’ve been steadily paying off credit card debt or you’ve been saving up to buy a house. Either way, remember not to stray despite what Monday brings. You’ve worked so hard and (we promise you) those goals are very reachable. Meanwhile, there are ways to stay positive and optimistic, even through these possible winter woes.

Ways to fight financial blues

One way to keep it positive is to look into rewards credit cards. Depending on your credit score, you may be eligible for cards with a series of fun, worthwhile perks. Cards can help you earn mileage for that big trip to Aruba, for instance, can help you get 5 percent cash back in places like restaurants, wholesale clubs and Amazon, and can offer cash reward bonuses.

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Another upbeat activity you can partake in on Blue Monday — if you haven’t done this already — is to make a clean and clear budget plan for 2017, outlining exactly what your overall goals are and planning your monthly budget to the dollar. This will help ensure you can really pay back that major college loan or start setting aside a hefty retirement fund for when your golden years arrive. Once your budget is finished, sit back and luxuriate in the knowledge that you have 2017 completely covered.

Savor your money victories

Was 2016 a year you’re especially proud of in terms of reaching finance goals? Odds are even if it wasn’t perfect, there’s something for you to be proud of. Take a moment on Blue Monday to review some of your greatest 2016 accomplishments, and think about how 2017 will be even better.

Finally — a word of caution — remember there’s one activity you must absolutely not partake in on Blue Monday: shopping therapy. When the going gets rough, it’s easy to pop into Best Buy or Macy’s and buy those virtual reality-ready components you’ve had your eye on or that Martha Stewart Collection Appleton plaid flannel duvet. But these impulse purchases can set you back on bigger goals, and though they may make you feel good for just a moment, that feeling’s fleeting.

So Godspeed savvy savers. And remember, no matter how hard this time of year may be, there’s no scientific proof Blue Monday actually exists.

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