September: the new January

It’s the perfect time to make feel-good changes

Rooftop bars, weekends away, and giant inflatables – whatever your scorching hot summer looked like, we hope it was a good one. But as much as you may have loved the endless BBQs, glitter-doused festivals and Love Island re-couplings, the chances are there’s a part of you that’s a little bit excited for September. If so, you’re not alone.

‘September is the real new year’, trumpeted the renowned Wall Street Journal in one headline, noting the phenomenon of people making resolutions to improve their lifestyle in the autumn, with the return to work feeling like a fresh start. Here are just some of the reasons why September is the new (and improved!) January.

It’s hard to forget the school days

Homework, sports days and packed lunches – you might still breathe a sigh of relief that your school days are done and dusted, but the reality is it’s almost impossible to shake off the habits of our early years. 

As much as we may have groaned through maths lessons and French tests, heading back to school was also an exciting time. Whether it was seeing friends after a summer of separation or stockpiling new gel pens and glittery exercise books (we’ve all been there), there was a lot to look forward to. After a fun-filled summer it was officially the time to buckle down, get your text books in order and show off that new backpack. 

Whether it’s conscious or not, you’re likely to be thinking along the same lines this autumn. The back to school season is full of positive energy, so why not capitalise on it? Motivation is in the air, which makes now the ideal time to kick-start your new savings habit. After all, there’s always something to save for: Christmas, New Year celebrations, birthdays, holidays, a new house or car… the list goes on!

Your fitness is back on track…

Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like a big BBQ and a bucket full of beers, every single weekend. But – oh wait – these shorts feel a little tight. After four months of blissfully carefree indulgence on holiday and at home, September is the month when many people reassess their fitness regime and commit to a few months of ‘being good’ – before the mince pies and raucous office parties of Christmas inevitably take hold. 

Whether you’re getting back into your normal four-times-a-week gym habit, or trying out a new sport, exercise class or running route, September is one of the most effective months to do it – without gloomy January telling you you’re better off on the sofa. And if you’d like help to get back in shape on a budget, then check out our article, 6 ways to keep fit on a budget.

…And so are your finances

With all that summer fun comes a bank balance longing for some TLC – let’s face it, we’re all a bit more inclined to splash the cash when the sun’s out. No wonder this is a time when people look at not just their exercise routines, but how to get ‘financially fit’. 

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your money since January, by September you’ll have a good idea of your monthly outgoings and how much you can realistically stash away each month. In many ways, September is a much more positive month than January, so it’s an excellent time to reassess and re-evaluate what you need to do to get your finances on track (and reign in the spending before the expensive Christmas shopping begins). Our article Taking your first steps in planning your finances should give you a kick start if you’re looking for prompts on how to get on track.

Small adjustments allow for big change

Trying to overhaul your life in one of the coldest, darkest months of the year is no easy task. If you’re looking to make changes – whether it’s big things like looking for a new job or a place to live, or small things like taking up a new hobby – you’re likely to be far more incentivised in September. 

A lot of this, believe it or not, comes down to the weather. January is grim (and that’s being generous). It’s a time to laze around on the sofa and not be racked with guilt for missing that 6:30am gym session – especially when it’s still pitch-black outside. 

Apparently many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions just several weeks into January – and no wonder. Without blue skies and longer days, lethargy creeps in. But September? Much nicer. We spend two-thirds of September still tilted towards the sun – meaning that for 20 days of the month, daylight outlasts the night. If you have changes you want to make, now’s the ideal time. 

Work productivity is at an all-time high

Whatever your line of work, you’re likely to be at your most efficient in September. For hundreds of years, it’s been the most productive month in rural Britain’s calendar, with teams working for hours to get crops in before the weather turns. 

Sure, you may not be riding a tractor around country lanes, but chances are you’ll have a renewed energy and motivation in whatever you do. After a summer dotted with holidays, long weekends away and covering your colleagues’ work while they take their annual leave, September is a time when you all reconvene, pile into the meeting room and make plans for the year’s home straight. Whether you work for yourself or are full-time employed, don’t be surprised if you’re blasting through your to-do list and replying to emails 100 times faster than normal.

Read more inspiring ideas on how to get the most out of the season in our article, How to save money this autumn.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.