Posted on 30/03/2020 by Resham Akhtar
The Coronavirus pandemic is set to profoundly change the way we live our lives. It's a distressing time with a huge amount of apprehension and, while the primary concern is health, there is no doubt that our financial welfare is a pressing concern for virtually all of us.
To help, Union Jackson have come up with 5 different areas of focus to save money during this time…
1. Preparing an emergency budget: Cash flow is a huge concern for all of us at the moment. The first thing we advise is to take a look at what income you have and what you are spending. It may seem a fairly obvious task, but pretty much everyone right now will need to cut back on what they are spending to get through the next few weeks and months, and it's always better to be PREPARED. We know planning budgets, cutting costs and calculating spending is a laborious task, but once it’s all over you will definitely be pleased and somewhat relieved you did it!
This could be a chance to really think about long term plans and savings, if you need an extra helping hand you can use online budget planners to get you through it.
We recommend: https://about.hatchplan.co.uk/budget-planner#budget-planner-script
2. Mortgages: Mortgage lenders have revealed they will offer support if you have to take time off work because of Coronavirus, including a repayment holiday of up to three months. It was agreed with the Chancellor on the 17th March that banks offer 'forbearance' (tolerance and help) on mortgages.
This means all banks should offer those struggling a three-month 'holiday', allowing customers a short-term break from having to make mortgage payments during this time. This ‘holiday’ must be agreed with your lender on a case-by-case basis and we would advise you to get in touch immediately if you think you will miss any payments.
Please note: According to the Money Saving Expert, it’s very important to remember that: “if you take a mortgage holiday you WILL still be charged interest for the time, you're not making payments. But you won't have to pay it back immediately – it'll be added on to the total cost of your mortgage and factored into repayments when you start making them again.”
What if I’m renting?
In recent days, the government has announced an emergency legislation to postpone new evictions from social or private rented accommodation during the Coronavirus crisis. We advise you to speak with your landlord to come to an amicable agreement for a repayment plan, especially if you think you will be struggling to make payments.
If you are not able to have terms agreed with your Landlord, they will not be able to apply to the court to start possession proceedings until you have missed rent payments for at least three months.
3. Gas and Electricity bills: If you are struggling to keep up to date with payments on your Gas and Electricity bills, we advise you contact your provider immediately. They will be able to tell you about ways you can make affordable repayments that best suit your current situation. In the case of a prepayment meter, you will receive help if you’re not able to top it up due to lockdown restrictions and self-isolating.
According to energy companies, this will include credit being sent through the post, money being automatically added to your meter and companies sending people out on your behalf to top your meter up.
4. Water Bills: Water companies across the UK have put additional provisions in place if you’re worried about paying your water bill due to the Coronavirus. Depending on your circumstances, this includes payment breaks, adjusting your payment plan, stopping new court applications on unpaid bills during the current restrictions and stopping any enforcement action.
If you feel like you will miss a payment, we strongly advise getting in touch with your provider to see what support is out there for you.
5. Credit Cards and Loans: Many Lenders will be offering support for those struggling to make repayments due to the Coronavirus. Depending on your situation and repayment history, some companies are offering forbearance, and many will remove interest on missed payments for this period. Many banks and card firms have also confirmed they will allow emergency credit limit increases, but this does not include waiving fees for missed payments.
We advise speaking to your lender to see what help is out there for you as it's far better to prepare for the worse than to miss payments.
Loans: Many banks and credit lenders are offering support for those who are struggling financially due to the Coronavirus. What help is offered to you will be determined by your current situation, and income. Many companies are offering to reassess repayment plans so that they are more affordable, and some have offered a payment holiday with no added interest charges.
If you are struggling to repay loans, we advise you get in touch with your lender ASAP and inform them of your situation.
You are not alone in your concern about what will happen next, the truth is no one knows what will happen and these are unparalleled and unclear times for everyone. As well as your friends and family, talk to as many people as you can, including those in your industry, to see what they are doing and for support. We can get through this together!
If you need more advice, please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org