COVID-19 has had a massive impact on money. People have been furloughed, some have lost their jobs completely, the retail industry has been massively hit, the hospitality industry more so.
The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme is a great way to try and kick start that industry and our spending, but what if even with a discount that is just not affordable? For some families a meal out is just not affordable, no matter what the discount.
For people struggling with money during these strange times, help is available, however a lot of people are too scared or embarassed to ask for help. There has always been a stigma around debt and that now, more than ever needs to change. If you are struggling, you can start by speaking with your service providers. You can also try online tools such as a mortgage calculator which can help you look at how much you are paying and if you got a different deal what your payments would be.
If you are renting your property, there has been an extension to the eviction ban, but if you are open and honest with your landlord, they will be able to do more to help you. They might be able to apply for a mortgage holiday themselves (if they don’t own the property outright) or they might be able to offer a temporary reduction in your rent. By just not paying your rent, you risk causing them financial difficulties and they will not consider you a good tenant, risking your home in the long run.
Here are some other ways to help your money in these “unprecedented times”:
- Ensure you are meal planning, this can reduce your grocery bills and minimise food waste
- Shop around before making any purchase
- Keep an eye out for coupons, vouchers and discounts
- Try an additional income stream such as surveys or mystery shopping
- Don’t rush into any financial decisions such as taking out additional credit like loans or credit cards – these may take the pressure off in the short term, but can harm your finances and credit long term
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Make or review your budget – budgets are not permanent, they can change as your circumstances change
- Check you are not elligible for any grants or benefits
If your finances have not been impacted by COVID, or perhaps they have but only minimally, now is a great time to look into building up your savings. Perhaps you can afford to put a bit of money aside every month into a savings account. This money might come from money you were spending before such as eating out or socialising, or it might come from something which you are no longer paying for such as a gym membership. I know a lot of people are now putting the money they would have spend on commuting into savings as they have been working from home.
COVID has had a terrible impact on people in many ways, some have even paid the price with their lives, but if we can find an ounce of positivity in all of this then I think it is our duty to do that. My budget and savings account are definitely more future proof than they were.