Today, 15 January, is commonly called 'Blue Monday', supposedly the most depressing day of the year.  

This is because the weather is awful, you've overspent on the holidays and the bills are piling up, yet payday is still far away.

Although there’s no scientific proof that "Blue Monday", it’s not that hard to believe.

So instead of reaching for a pile of cakes, a bottle of wine or whatever else you look to for comfort, we've listed five ways to get your finances on track.

[Read more: How to winter-proof your home and slash you energy costs]

1. Don't ignore the problem

January is cold, depressing and boring so most people will have already broken their resolutions. Therefore today is the time to start again, with more realistic goals.

Making a budget and being organised is the number one route to get here. The most efficient way to do this is listing absolutely everything you need to spend money on, and then seeing how much you have left over.

Alternatively, you can do your budgeting digitally.

There are loads of budgeting apps out there, some connect to your bank account so they can track your spending habits and some require you to enter information manually.

Some banking apps even have budgeting tools built in. Be careful about which apps you use as you don't want your personal details getting into the wrong hands. 

If you’re in debt, use anything extra to pay this off first – and be sure to avoid costly interest while you're at it (more on this later).

If not, put it into a savings account and build up an emergency pot to pay for things like the boiler breaking. You should aim for enough money for three to six month’s income in here.

The savings market is far from perfect, but there are some decent options for building up an emergency savings buffer. Read Where to earn most interest on your cash or head to the loveMONEY comparison centre to check out some of the best deals around.

2. Switch

Many providers rely on customer apathy, whether it's bank accounts, phones or energy bills.

However, switching is a very simple way to save money. The downside is it takes time and it’s not a fun task. The upside is it could save you a lot of money so it's worth an hour of your time.

Head over to the loveMONEY comparison centres to make sure you're getting the most from your money with your bank accounts, mortgages and energy bills.

Websites like BroadbandChoices can help you work out the best broadband and landline deals for you.

3. Get help

For those people who are really struggling with debts, the first step is admitting this and speaking to someone.

The TV is jam-packed with adverts advertising payday loans and how helpful they are, but they should really be avoided.

Even if you’ve been declined by a mainstream lender, if you’re borrowing from a payday lender it’ll not only affect your credit record but it could lead to big problems if you’re not able to repay it on time.

There are numerous free charities which can help you. The confidential service from StepChange Debt Charity, for example, offers free debt management plans and its advisers can speak to lenders to try to organise interest breaks from expensive debts.

Read Where to get free debt advice

4. Clear your debt interest-free

If you're in debt, it's vital you clear it as cheaply as possible.

With a 0% balance transfer card, you can transfer your debts over to a new card and pay off debt interest-free. The usual rules apply: make sure you can pay back the minimum amount in full every month.

Interest-free periods are getting shorter, but you can still get a 38-month deal with the MBNA Platinum Credit Card, which charges a relatively modest 1.44% transfer fee.

Alternatively, you could go for the Barclaycard Platinum 37 Month Balance Transfer Credit Card, which comes with a 1.4% fee.

5. Start small

In January it’s easy to make over-ambitious resolutions which you’re unlikely to keep.

What is much better is making smaller changes which will be easier to stick to. Bringing in a packed lunch every day, for example, could save around £100 a month, whereas quitting the gym could be an annual saving of £600.

Selling your stuff online is another easy way to make some cash, or even hosting a swishing party or a car boot sale.

And that's just the start: whether it’s energy bills, food shopping or travel – there are lots of small changes you can make which are easy to stick to but will save you a bundle.

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