Coronavirus: 5 things you can do to help your finances
It’s safe to say the current state of affairs has caught many of us off-guard. With very little to no time at all to prepare for the situation we're finding ourselves in now with our finances.
Many have either been laid off from work, had hours reduced or are now receiving 80% of their pay for the foreseeable future, which is understandably raising concerns when it comes to paying the bills.
Read our page on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and use the calculator to see what your new income could look like.
The more you can do now to prepare yourself financially, the better.
1. Do you have an emergency budget?
It’s always a good idea to have an emergency budget, so you may already have one, but if not, now is a good time.
It doesn’t have to be a huge sum of money. Just look at how much money you have coming in, against how much is going out. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see how much you have left over and how much you can afford to put to one side for emergencies only.
2. Where can you save money?
It’s always a good idea to review your finances every so often anyway. This can help highlight any areas where you can make cutbacks, even if just in the short-term. This should be quite easy to do at the moment, especially those social areas as most things have been suspended/postponed for the time being anyway.
- Freeze gym memberships - create a home gym instead with things around the house
- Cancel Sky Sports - you can do this within the My Sky app
- Walk to the shops rather than driving (get your daily exercise in too!)
- Grow your own vegetable patch
- Be economical with food - cook in batches and freeze portions
- See if you can save money on your household bills
Read our top 10 tips on how you can save money.
3. What insurance policies do you have?
It’s worth digging out any insurance policies you have in place, such as mortgage payment protection or income protection, as these might be able to help pay your mortgage if you’re struggling.
If you’re not sure what policies you have, get in touch with your mortgage adviser and they’ll be able to help you.
4. Do you have any savings?
Although it’s not ideal, you may have to start dipping into your savings account to help ease some of the financial pressure at the moment. If your money is tied up in a savings account, contact your bank or building society to see if they’ll make an exception to the rule and let you access the money now.
5. Can you apply for a mortgage payment holiday?
If you don’t have an insurance policy to help, or any other funds in place, and you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, it might be time to see if you can apply for a mortgage holiday to take a break from your mortgage payments.
Notify as soon as possible
As soon as you suspect that you might struggle to pay your bills, you should get in touch with the relevant people to give them as much notice as possible.
Here are some useful contacts and sources of information:
Council Tax Reduction - https://www.gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction
Struggling to pay rent - https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/rent-arrears-problems-paying-your-rent
Water bills - contact your individual supplier
Gas and electricity - contact your individual supplier
Worried about getting into debt - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/help-with-debt/
Take care of yourself
It’s also important to take care of your mental health during this time. Struggling with your finances can be a very stressful time, and on top of everything else that’s happening, it’s important to keep an eye on this as it would lead to relationship problems, or even depression and panic attacks if left untreated.
There are many charities that focus on mental health who you can turn to, like Mind, Anxiety UK and Every Mind Matter. Don’t forget, you can always reach out to your GP for support. They might not be able to see you face-to-face right now but they can carry out telephone or video appointments.
Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.