The Covid-19 outbreak has damaged the economy and reinvented the way we work. As a result, many people in the UK have suffered some sort of financial difficulty. It is already having a huge impact on the economy. Although it’s impossible to know what the long-term effects are likely to be, we know we’ll feel them for years to come.
Consequently, many people – especially those on a low income – are facing a future of uncertainty. And sadly, the trajectory doesn’t seem to be pointing in the right direction.
During these trying times, money worries are common place. That’s why we’ve put together this blog resource, which is aimed to help you maximise your income using the support readily available.
Read on for where to find financial advice and information to help you stay afloat, reduce stress, and deal with debt.
Financial resources and support during coronavirus
There are four types of financial support available to you during lockdown. These include:
- Debt consolidation
- Crisis support
- Business support
We’re going to take a look at all four of these financial resources and how to access the correct financial advice available for your needs.
Check whether you’re entitled to claim benefits
Depending on your circumstances, several options are available to you. The Money Advice Service and Gov.Uk are both helpful resources that offer general information regarding any benefits you’re entitled to – especially if you’ve been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. There’s also an online benefit calculator to help you work out whether you’re being paid the right amount.
Another great resource is Citizens Advice UK, who will be able to talk you through all your options and point you in the right direction for financial support.
Consider seeking debt support or consolidation
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, unexpected expenses force us to take on extra debts to pay for the overheads. There’s no shame in admitting this and seeking help to protect your future and limit the damage to your credit rating.
Thankfully, there’s lots of free, expert advice to help you deal with debt worries during the pandemic. In order to access the right support and solutions, consider making an appointment with a free national debtline advisor or calling them on 0808 808 4000 for impartial, judgement free support. They offer the best financial advice without the costly overheads.
Learn what crisis support is available
In hard hitting times and periods of uncertainty, knowing there’s somewhere to turn during a crisis is lifesaving. No matter what your circumstances are, if you’re in need of urgent support and information, charitable or crisis grants are available.
Turn 2 Us is a national money management charity focussed on helping people going through a tough financial period. They also offer an online grant search tool, which lets you find the charities offering a non-repayable grant for those on a low income.
Another great resource is Shelter, which is a housing charity who offer information about the various cash support available in a crisis. This includes information about:
• Rent support
• Universal credit and advanced payments
• Emergency financial help
• Council tax support
• Free food vouchers
• Free school meals
• Help with bills during the pandemic
Finally, if you’re hungry food banks are a great solution. I you need to locate you nearest food bank, the Trussell Trust website has everything you need to know.
See what you can claim to help support your job or business
With the economy at an all-time low, the government has set up various contingencies. These support those struggling to make a profit during the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re self-employed and need access to income support, money management advice, or furlough support information for your staff, visit the government guidance on what help is available.
If you’re a London business owner, the Pay it Forward scheme is offering 100% free fundraising to help businesses raise vital funds to stay afloat, rebuild, and recover from COVID-19. If you’d like to join the Pay it Forward platform, register your business and reap the rewards. Alternatively, The London Business Hub helps entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow businesses in the capital. They’ve recentlylaunched a portal that helps employers manage and mitigate their exposure to COVID-19, ensuring their longevity.
Top tips for improving your personal finance management during the pandemic
Now you know what support is available, here’s how to run a quick financial health check;
• Create a financial money management and contingency plan for all eventualities. This will help you stay calm and focussed in the unfortunate event you fall on hard times.
• Save as much as possible. During these uncertain times, every little helps. Put away change and reconsider frivolous expenses.
• Find out what tax relief you’re entitled to during the pandemic.
• Clear your debts where possible – preferably before saving!
• Create a budget spreadsheet that lets you clearly see your incomings and outgoings.
• Invest in health insurance and make sure it covers critical illness.
• Write a will to protect your assets and ensure your loved ones receive their dues.
• Regularly check in with your personal finance management planning to make sure you’re on track.
Although these steps might sound extreme, ensuring your peace of mind during these uncertain times is invaluable. The UK is preparing for a pandemic-free summer; however, we still don’t know when life will get back to normal or when the economy will recover – if ever. We all have the right to financial security, so taking the time to remain astute now will pay off in the long run.