The outbreak of Covid-19 has left many feeling anxious and particularly worried about their finances. With the unknown ahead and very few answers, it’s only normal to feel stressed about the months ahead. There are many different financial situations which you may find yourself currently in, so here we will try to give you some general tips on how to survive financial stress or difficulties.
“Coronavirus is crippling the UK’s household finances – and the Government needs to do even more to help households financially through the coming weeks and months. Direct cash support to affected households, an immediate suspension of debt collection and bailiff visits, and widespread payment holidays sound like drastic measures – and they are, but they are needed right now.”
The first tip is to set a budget sheet up and track your spending. Ideally you already have an excel file or document of some sort which you use to track all of your finances. If not, set one up. Write up where you get money from, where money goes out to and how much you’re saving. You need to be able to pinpoint exactly how much money goes out to various bills, grocery shops and any other expenses.
And then, get into a habit of saving. Look at if there are any expenses which you can eliminate. Any TV subscriptions which you can do without until you’re back on a full pay wage. Are you paying for Netflix accounts or gym memberships which you can cancel? Can you reduce the amount that goes out monthly for your phone contract? You’re most likely using a reduced amount of data now, so can you change your phone contract or at least get a cheaper deal?
No amount of saving is too small. Look at what you spend on your average grocery shop and spend some time working out where you can save money. Perhaps change the brands which you purchase, or the items which you buy. Change your shop from buying pre-packaged, ready chopped fruit and veg to buy whole, loose fruit and veg which you prepare yourself at home. These measures don’t have to necessarily be permanent but temporary changes during this uncertain, lockdown period will help you in the long run.
The next tip is to keep track and improve your credit score. Use your credit card little and often, get your name on some bills if it isn’t already and fix any mistakes which are currently on your report.
And most importantly, ask for help and seek guidance. Citizens Advice shares information about benefits, debt and what you’re entitled to depending on your situation. The official GOV website has information regarding redundancy, benefits and managing debt.
Most importantly, be sure to look after yourself and your wellbeing. If you find that the emotional distress is damaging your health, see a GP or you can refer yourself for psychological therapy services. Stay active, stay safe and keep saving!