January is officially the most depressing month of the year, when you're dealing with the cold, the dark mornings, and the festive comedown. At the same time, most of us have had our budgets stretched to breaking point, so there's no way we can splash out on cheering ourselves up. Fortunately, there are ways to bring a little joy to your life for nothing.
1. Have a drink
If you're not having a dry January, then sign yourself up for the Pitcher & Piano newsletter, and you'll get a voucher for a free drink sent to you every month. In January there's a Bacardi Mojito on offer.
2. Get yourself to the gym
The experts at Magicfreebies.co.uk argue that at least it's less painful if it's free, and recommends tracking down a free monthly pass from the new Sports Direct gyms using the code FIT15. It doesn't all have to be hard work either - especially if there's a swimming pool.
3. Join a Park Run
These are 5km runs held in parks across the country. You have to sign up online before you go for the first time, and in return you get the chance to participate in a free, timed run, push yourself to improve, and meet other local runners who might just help persuade you to get out and get fit. In many of the races, dogs and prams are welcome too, so you could use it as a chance to make your regular exercise a more social experience - without forking out for classes.
4. Take in a London skyline
You don't have to buy tickets for the Wheel, the Shard, or pay for an expensive meal at the Gherkin, because the users of HotUKdeals.com have spotted that you can get access to the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie for free. You need to register in advance, and there's lots of demand, so it's worth doing it plenty of time before you plan a visit. However, the views are spectacular.
5. Have a makeover
Magicfreebies also highlights that you can enjoy a free mini facial at Origins this month - with a skin consultation and your pick of free skincare samples. You can also get a free makeover at your nearest Body Shop and a free Benefit Brow Wax at Debenhams.
6. Make a free calendar
Three Mobile has set up a very silly website which lets you take a photo of yourself, and then places it into photos of various scenarios for every month of a calendar. You can be Santa, a skier, in a rock band... you get the drill. Then you can print it off for a pick-me-up for the rest of the year.
7. Finally finish the Lego the kids got for Christmas
There's something particularly depressing about half-finished Lego models hanging around the house - and that's not even taking account of the pain of stepping on the leftover bricks. If you're being held back by missing parts, then you can have them replaced for free by the missing parts service. A word of warning, though, don't go over-the-top or they will charge.
8. Spend hours watching decent TV
If you sign up for a month's free subscription to Netflix, you'll have access to hundreds of box sets and films to keep you entertained all month without having to leave your home. Just make sure you cancel it before you're charged for the next month.
9. Hold a shwopping night
It's like a bring and buy sale without the money. Get your friends to bring along a couple of items they no longer wear (but think someone else might like). Then you can all take your pick from each other's cast-offs. It's a great way to refresh your wardrobe for nothing, and if you get everyone to bring a bottle you can turn it into a free party too.
10. Get a free hot drink
If you have an Aviva insurance policy, and you download the MyAviva app, then as long as you go into the app every Monday, you can get a free hot drink at Cafe Nero - either a coffee, a tea or a hot chocolate. The deal will run every Monday in 2015, so there are plenty of freebies to cheer you up all year.
Of course, there will be times when you need to buy something specific, and none of these freebies will help. However, you should at least make sure you don't pay full price for your shopping. It's worth visiting the AOL Deals site and searching for the store, or the type of item you want to buy, to see if you can get a hefty discount to help you make it to the end of the month.
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