Many people are having to adjust to living on lower incomes during this difficult time, so it makes sense to get your finances in order and look at ways you might be able to reduce your outgoings.
Here’s our rundown of some of the things you may be able to do to help make your money go further.
Claim what you’re entitled to
If you’re struggling to get by because you’re unable to work due to the coronavirus, or you’ve been made redundant by your employer, look into which benefits you might be able to claim. Several charities offer online calculators to help you work out how much you may be eligible to get. These include Turn2Us and Entitledto. As so many people are claiming, expect delays when using these services.
Cut your costs
Go through your bank statement and check whether there is anything that you regularly spend money on that you could live without. Lots of companies such as gyms and those providing access to TV sports packages are allowing customers to pause regular subscriptions and memberships for the next few months without penalty, so check with yours and see if you can take a break from payments.
Review essential outgoings
Go through your essential spending such as your mortgage and utility bills and see if you can reduce your monthly costs by switching to better deals. For example, if you’re on your mortgage lender’s standard variable rate, you’ll almost certainly be able to reduce your monthly payments by switching to a low cost fixed or tracker deal. Get in touch with your lender to see whether they can offer you a cheaper rate and seek advice from a mortgage broker who’ll be able to advise if you might be better off remortgaging with a different lender.
Changing your energy tariff could also help you save money. Mark Todd, co-founder of comparison site energyhelpline.com said: “The cheapest energy deals today are 16%-18% lower than this time last year. This means that customers coming off a fixed deal can save by switching again. The half of the country still on a pricey standard tariff can save 33%, which coincidentally is £33 a month or £395 a year.”
Locate your savings
It’s a good idea to have a savings buffer for when times are tough, so tot up any savings you might have so you know exactly how much you have to fall back on. If you think you might have any savings that you’ve lost track of, use the free Mylostaccount.org.uk service to help you locate them.
While you’re sorting out your finances, have a think about whether there are any gaps. Do you, for example, have an up to date will in place, or have your circumstances changed since you last wrote one?
It’s also worth reviewing any protection policies you might have, such as life insurance or income protection, to see whether you might need additional cover.
Bear in mind, however, that if you’re looking to take out cover now, insurers have withdrawn unemployment cover for new applications. Although they continue to offer accident and sickness over, some policies may now exclude coronavirus so always read the small print before buying.