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Thursday is Britain’s poorest day – what can you do if you’re feeling the January pinch?

Thursday 19 January is the poorest day of the year as people wait up to 45 days between paydays, we look at how 0% balance and money transfer cards could help.

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New uSwitch research reveals that Thursday 19 January 2017 will be the “poorest day” for many of us.

The day is a result of a payday gap up to 45 days between December and January, with 28% of us having a wait of more than a month between paydays. This gap, combined with heavy Christmas spending, has forced many to start 2017 in the red.

Feeling the January payday pinch?

Spread the cost of Christmas and stop paying interest on your existing credit card debts for as long as 43 months with a 0% interest balance transfer card

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A third can’t pay existing bills

A third of Brits are concerned they won’t be able to meet all their financial commitments this month, and the young are struggling more with the figure rising to 43% among those aged 18-34.

Two months to recover from Christmas

According to our research, it takes the average person up to two months to recover financially from their December spending.

However, for around two million people it will take until summer 2017 to get over their Christmas debt hangover.

How we’re cutting back

Almost half are planning to take steps to reduce their outgoings, with many saying they’ll go out less or even cut back on food. The most popular steps to save money in the new year include:

  • 21% said they’ll go out less frequently
  • 19% plan to cut back expenditure on food
  • 10% will cut back on basic utilities
  • 7% intend to sell possessions or return Christmas presents
  • 7% will cancel subscriptions (i.e. Netflix or Amazon Prime)

What else can you do?

If cutting back expenditure alone wont fix your financial health, there are a few quick fixes you can use to sort out your money this year.

With 13% of us taking out extra credit in January, many are turning to borrowing to help ease the strain. Credit cards are a flexible way to borrow and if used wisely can help you avoid interest and spread out your bills over a longer time period.

Balance transfer cards – stop paying interest

Balance transfer cards can hold your existing credit card debts and won’t charge interest on the balance for a set period of time. This can be as long as 43 months, with the current deals available on the market.

However, they will typically charge you an upfront fee of around 3% of the balance transferred and keep an eye out for the relatively high rate of interest you’ll need to pay once the interest free period has expired.

Money transfer cards – clear your overdraft

Money transfer cards enable you to transfer credit into your current account to be used as cash.

These cards work in a similar way to balance transfer cards, where there will be an interest free offer period lasting as long as 41 months, but again you will need to pay an upfront transfer fee of around 3-4%.

This is a good way to clear your overdraft and give you a reprieve from interest charges. But note the debt simply doesn’t go away and you’ll still need repay it, but a money transfer can help you spread your costs.

Take action now

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch, says:

“For millions of consumers, this is the the most financially challenging time of the year. It’s vital that people take action now before debts spiral out of control and it becomes even harder to get on top of your finances.

“If cutting your outgoings isn’t enough and you are relying on extending your borrowing, shopping around for the best deal is key – don’t get taken in by the first offer you see.

“Making sure your credit score is in good shape can ensure you are eligible for the best deals, if you need to rely on extra credit. You can do so with some straightforward steps, such as making sure you are on the voting register and applying for only one credit card or loan at a time.

“If you feel like your debts are unmanageable help is at hand. Charities like StepChange offer free and impartial advice to assist you in getting debt under control.”

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