New year, blue me: How Brits navigate the ‘January blues’

As the holiday buzz fades, January can bring a mix of emotions. We’ve delved into our recent survey to understand how Brits navigate post-Christmas financial strains and cope with the ‘January blues’.

A calendar displaying the month of January in 2024. With a white alarm clock and a small plant on a purple background.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

 

Although December brings a month of Christmas cheer, the aftermath often casts a shadow on financial stability, with 40% of UK consumers grappling with cash constraints post-festivities.[1] Paired with the bleakness of the month, this monetary strain contributes to the onset of January blues.

January isn’t just a new start, it’s also a time when many go through a period of sadness after the excitement of the holidays. The cold weather, short days and the arrival of post-Christmas bills can all contribute to this feeling, making January a tough time for many of us. 

For some, solace comes from shopping during the New Year sales, but with so many dealing with financial limitations after the festive period, immersing in retail therapy can be a gentle balancing act. So, we’ve explored how you can shop through the January blues without breaking the bank.

Approaching the ‘January blues’

 

Our survey data has highlighted how Brits tend to approach the holiday hangover. Almost half of the nation struggles financially after the festive season and over a third (35%) admit to experiencing the January blues, grappling with post-festive melancholy amplified by financial constraints.

Those of us between the ages of 30 and 50 seem to be hit hardest by new year troubles, as 44% of respondents who said they suffer from the January blues belonged to this age group. Women are also more likely to experience these issues in the new year - 66% of those who stated that the January blues affects them were women.

Retail therapy is a popular respite among all the doom and gloom, with 17% of us using shopping as a way to combat the January blues. The science suggests that this works, too, as retail therapy can help to restore a sense of control and autonomy. This then releases dopamine - the brain hormone responsible for making you feel good.

Also, 17% fight the blues by taking a winter getaway, seeking some comfort in the form of a holiday escape. However, with money matters looming large, navigating January trips and sales can be a delicate balance between desire and caution.

Indulging in retail therapy during financial stress

 

Because of the financial pressure felt after the festive season, the January sales become a crucial time for savvy shoppers seeking deals without blowing their budgets. One of the ways you can enjoy these sales while protecting your wallet is through the use of voucher codes.

Last year, consumers saved a staggering £545,840 during January 2023 using this trick.[2] The majority of purchases (46%) were for fashion items. In fact, consumers saved a total of £171,640 during this period on fashion alone, so there are plenty of savings to be made for those looking to glam up without pushing the boat out.

Don’t worry though, if travelling is your preferred way of overcoming the January blues, all is not lost. 8% of purchases through our site in January were for travel and accommodation, and a total of £72,338 was saved on these transactions. So, for those who like to take a winter getaway in January or get their summer trip booked early, there may just be an impressive deal waiting for you.

January sales offer a chance to shop smarter after the holidays and using voucher codes during this time can be a game-changer. However, while voucher codes can help you bag a bargain, it’s essential to strike a balance. It’s important to be mindful of your budget and not get caught up in the allure of deals. 

Our data highlights the benefits of being savvy with your purchases, but shopping smartly isn’t about savings - it’s about making confident and conscious choices. 

About this data:

 

[1] Data used in this report was collected from a YouGov survey of 2,000 UK adults on 7 October 2023, unless stated otherwise. Respondents were selected at random and were taken from varied age demographics.

[2] Information pertaining to the money saved during January 2023 was taken from internal MyVoucherCodes data detailing the vouchers that were used during the month. Category data was also extracted from this.

For ‘fashion’ the following categories were included: curve, designerwear, fashion, fashion accessories, footwear, lingerie & swimwear, men's fashion, sports clothing and women's fashion. For ‘travel and accommodation’ the following categories were included: days out & attractions, experience days, flights, holiday & travel essentials, holidays, theme parks & attractions, and travel.

Sarah-Jane Outten
Editor

Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.

I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at sarahjaneoutten.com includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more. 

I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!