We know this is a worrying time for many people, so we want to help wherever we can with any financial concerns you may have.
None of us truly know how long the disruption from the Coronavirus outbreak is going to last, so one of the best things we can do to arm ourselves against an uncertain future, is to make a plan.
Working out your current financial situation and planning a budget will help give you a sense of control. It should also help protect your long-term financial health for when things are – finally – back to something like normality.
Write a shopping list
If you know you’re going to spend on essentials, find out what items you’re after in advance and compare prices. They may be cheaper on one site than another, so doing your homework can really pay off. That way you’ll know if you’re really getting the most bang for your buck.
Get app happy
Money saving apps such as Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB) are two of the most popular budgeting apps around. They help you create a budget, track your spending and encourage you to live within the budget you’ve set for yourself.
Cut your card interest
If you think you’re paying a bit too much interest on your existing credit card balances, a 0% interest balance transfer card could help you avoid interest on your card debts for as long as three years.
You might need to pay a small transfer fee and make sure you’re prepared for when the 0% period ends.
The credit market is changing very quickly at the moment in response to the outbreak. As a result of this, we’d advise acting sooner rather than later if you do plan to apply for credit.
*We’re a credit broker not a lender
Find a cheaper mortgage
Take a look at mortgages to see if you could get a cheaper rate. You might find you could save hundreds, or even thousands of pounds a year.
If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments due to knock-on effects from the outbreak, please get in touch with your lender as soon as you can, to discuss taking a payment holiday. It’s being offered by most lenders at the moment – here’s an at-a-glance breakdown of how mortgage lenders, and others, are giving support. Don’t worry – your credit score should be protected even if you need to take a payment holiday.
Pay less for energy
It’s worth checking if you could get a better energy tariff before the increased electricity use of working from home drives up your bills.
It’s also worth considering whether you’re happy to be tied into a fixed deal year-round, or if you want the flexibility of a variable tariff.
Consolidate any debts
If you’ve got a few different loans and overdrafts that are stubbornly sticking around, a debt consolidation loan could help spread the cost.
Something to think about is that the longer you take to repay debts, the more interest you’ll pay. You’ll need to weigh up the benefits and potential risks to decide which course of action is right for you.
Check your credit report and score
Your credit report is essentially your financial CV. Lenders, banks and card providers will look at it before deciding if you can have credit cards, loans, overdrafts, mortgages and more.
You can access your Experian Credit Score with a free account.
These tips should be useful at any time, but we hope you find them especially helpful now, when we know many people have enough to worry about. By taking a few steps, you can be better placed for whatever the future holds.