Keeping your finances healthy
Well, we didn’t see this year coming, did we? 2020 has been challenging to say the least and, as things slowly start to return to normal, many will still be feeling the effects of Covid-19 on their finances
Whilst the priority for everyone is to remain safe and well and to look after those loved ones who most need our support, we also need to maintain cash flow and pay our bills.
With so many people on reduced income, perhaps furloughed or simply left unemployed by the devastating impact of the pandemic, it’s crucial that they know about the support available but also to do whatever they can to remain financially afloat.
If your job has been affected, you have probably found yourself with more time on your hands than usual. Spend a few of those extra hours researching the help available, finding out how you can save money and evaluating your expenditure, and you may well find ways to relieve some of your financial worries.
The government has introduced several schemes to help individuals and families who have experienced a reduction in income. To find out what is available and keep up to date with government assistance and advice, visit the government website www.go.uk/coronavirus. It’s important to check you’re getting all the state benefits or financial support you’re entitled to.
Most people are aware that banks and building societies are offering three-month mortgage breaks, but many providers have extended this by another three months, providing a total break of six months. Taking advantage of this could certainly relieve the pressure on your monthly finances, but do bear in mind that your interest will continue to build during a mortgage holiday, meaning the total amount of interest you’ll pay over the term of your mortgage will increase.
Several companies are offering partial car insurance refunds to customers if there has been a significant change in their driving behaviour during the crisis. Whilst some leading insurers have automatically issued refunds, others might need prodding. If you’re not using your car as regularly as you used to, it’s well worth contacting your car insurer to find out what they can offer you.
Also, spend some time researching different utility suppliers to see if you can reduce your household bills. This is the perfect time to switch to a new supplier or find out whether you could be on a cheaper tariff with your existing supplier.
Another useful exercise is to evaluate your spending, finding out exactly where your money is spent each month and whether you can make any reductions. The Money Supermarket website has lots of advice on this and is a good place to start.
Finally, if you’re planning a clear out, remember that someone somewhere might absolutely love those clothes you never wore or that ornament you’ve kept hidden in a cupboard for years. It’s so easy to sell unwanted items nowadays, on sites like ebay and Gumtree, so give it a go. You may be very pleasantly surprised.