With COVID-19 Coronavirus affecting everyone’s lives, you might find that your financial situation isn’t quite as secure as it was.
Perhaps you felt that you were managing your loan and credit card repayments, but now worry that you can’t afford them when you’re only getting Statutory Sick Pay?
Maybe panic buying is stretching your grocery budget, or you’re struggling with the extra cost of having your children off school?
Money’s tight for many, and might only get worse before it gets better.
How can you prepare financially, for a continued pandemic?
Look over your budget
There has never been a better time to take a look at your budget. Are you paying any bills and subscriptions for things that you’re not currently using? Can you switch to a different energy provider in order to reduce your costs?
You might also need to temporarily raise certain budget categories. This is just as important as trimming some down. Be prepared to pay more for your groceries, until the pandemic is over. Make sure that your budget is an accurate representation of where you’ll be spending your money. Increasing the money that you’re budgeting for food isn’t a negative thing, but allows you to prepare so that you’re not taken by surprise.
Speak to lenders
If you’re borrowing money and feel like you’re struggling to keep up with repayments, the first step is to speak to lenders and ask them what help they can offer. These are exceptional circumstances, which means that many lenders are offering unusual flexibility. They may give you a payment break or temporarily reduce your Direct Debit.
Consider debt consolidation for paying off several credit cards or helping you to manage your money if your lenders aren’t being sympathetic.
Know what you’re entitled to
If you need time off work, you’re now entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from the first day of your sick leave. This could help you to manage your financial situation. If you’re self-isolating, you can call 111 to get a fit note without the need to visit your GP.
If your child’s school closes, they must provide educational tools to help keep them busy at home. This will save you spending your own money on workbooks and games to keep them occupied. If you’d booked a holiday, it’s also worth checking if any part or full refund will be offered. Many companies are extending their goodwill and may refund you when they usually wouldn’t.
Remember that this will pass. By taking control of your financial situation, you’ll come out of the other side with your bank balance intact.