In debt? Don’t have a clue about money? Worried about your investments and student loan? We hear you which is why we have pulled in expert Elizabeth Buko to share her top tips.
Social distancing: conscious spending
For a lot of us, there may be areas where we can reduce our spending or even just resist the urge to spend. Here are some tips on conscious spending:
end relationships with unnecessary/unutilised subscription or paid apps;
watch out and question your energy bills and switch up providers when you can;
don’t get carried away shopping online for clothes, accessories and gadgets you don’t need; and
resist the urge to indulge in spending on treats or alcohol. It’s a stressful time, with grocery shops open, there is a tendency to want to buy alcohol or treats to make us feel better. Resist the urge, make a grocery list and stick to it.
So how can you spend consciously? Spend on essentials – food, accommodation, bills and on upskilling yourself, so that you come out of this season of isolation richer in most areas.
Get credit smart
If you don’t have enough to cover your expenses then use your credit card to pay for all your essentials. Make sure you pay the minimums on all your credit cards and loans but you do not have to overpay right now.
Some credit providers are waving, increasing limits or lowering interest fees and some are giving payment holidays. Get the phone numbers of all your credit/loan providers and speak to them about your situation (even if you feel you are in a good place right now). You never know what blessings are awaiting you when you ask.
Keep your cash home and ramp up your savings
You are staying home, and so should your cash. Now is the time to ramp up your savings. Look at the areas where you would normally have to spend but can’t right now. Transfer those savings into your separate savings account.
Here are some areas you can start with,
Transportation costs- fuel/train/bus fares
Fun/Lifestyle costs such as going to the spa, salon, gym
Social costs eg. eating out and birthday gifts
Overpayments on debt
Showing symptoms? Get help
If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should definitely call the NHS 111 for help. Same goes for your money. There are a few government initiatives available, so see if you qualify for government assistance.
HMRC’s 80% income support for employees
HMRC’s 80% income support for self-employed
Self-employed individuals can claim universal credits
Housing allowance is increasing
Call your credit companies to discuss your options
Mortgage companies are offering 3 month payment holidays
Don’t touch your face
(Leave your long-term investments and essential insurance untouched)
Banks have waived any associated fees to access your long term savings and investments but they were long term for a reason. You knew things could and would come up that would test your ability to hold on. So don’t touch your future income unnecessarily, the market will recover and your investments will recover. If you are stuck, seek help.
It might also be tempting to make cutbacks in the area of insurance. You may want to terminate any essential insurance you have now. But first, weigh up the pros and cons. Is it worth terminating £100’s of thousands of life/health/home insurance just to save £100 right now? What plans do you have for your family financially if something happens to you tomorrow?
Seek opportunities to invest in
The stock market crash presents a great opportunity for smart girls to start or turbo boost their investments with relatively little capital. You can start investing in stocks & shares from a little as £1 via robo advisors such as moneyfarm, wealthsimple, nutmeg etc and take advantage of the low share prices before the market recovers.
This is also a great time to plan on how you can increase & diversify your income streams.