Been furloughed or struggling with money right now? Here are five tips to help you live on a reduced salary
Lockdown is hard enough to cope with when you’re worried about (and missing) friends and family, and trying to homeschool a child and manage your own feelings, without adding in money worries.
But that’s just what many people are doing right now. It’s estimated that more than nine million people in the UK will be furloughed thanks to Covid-19. And many more freelancers, casual workers and small business owners will be either living on a drastically reduced income, or be earning nothing.
And with the cut-off date for companies to furlough employees being extended to Sunday 19 April, many more people might find themselves without work (and their former income) on Monday.
So what can you do if you’re struggling with money? Joel Kempson, personal finance expert at money.co.uk shares these five tips.
1) Cut down on bills
In times of financial difficulty, it is important to make cuts where you can. Even during the coronavirus crisis, you can still make sure you are not overpaying on services like energy, mobile and broadband. A simple switch can save you hundreds of pounds over a year.
2) If you’re in trouble, ask for help
Many providers are offering payment breaks and tariff changes to help customers struggling to meet bills. Some, including Thames Water, are even offering grants to households with outstanding bills from previous years. Many banks are also allowing customers to go on a mortgage payment holiday.
3) Save money on pay TV
Even with more time on your hands, there is still thousands of hours of TV to keep you occupied without hefty subscriptions. Check services like Now TV for free trials and All4 and iPlayer for movies and TV shows included in the cost of your TV licence.
With most sports in the UK postponed, there is little reason to be splashing out on expensive subscriptions. Contact your provider to see if you can pause your payments or get money back.
Both Sky and Virgin Media are offering sports customers the chance to pause their payments, while BT are offering a credit on future bills.
4) Assess any outgoings you can get refunded
With the Government now urging the public not to use public transport, you may find yourself with a costly travelcard you cannot use, so look at getting these refunded.
While you can no longer get your exercise fix from a morning in the gym, make sure you’re not paying for it. Most gyms have frozen membership payments while others have switched to online fitness classes.
Vehicles that are not on the road do not need to be insured. If the coronavirus crisis means you no longer need to use your car, you can apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to officially declare your car ‘off road’. Once it is certified, you no longer need to insure it or pay road tax.
5) Look at making some extra money
Being furloughed does not mean you cannot continue to work. Many industries are short staffed because of the coronavirus crisis, so a second job could be a good option for you.
Your employment contract still applies while on furlough, so make sure your current employer is happy with you taking on new work.
Whatever you do though, don’t fall for MLM scams – many are cynically on a fervent recruitment drive right now. But the facts don’t change: 99.6% of people who join, on average, will lose money once expenses are taken into account. So you could find yourself in deeper financial difficulty.
For the full guide on managing your budget during the coronavirus crisis, go to money.co.uk. They’ve also launched a dedicated coronavirus hub to support people worried about their finances during the crisis.
Photo by Anthony Tran