During these extremely unusual times, most of us have to pay more attention to our finances. Job security seems the stuff of dreams and with no regular childcare available our work world has turned upside down. First off, know that you are not alone. We are all in this together. Everything can be solved or sorted out however bad it may seem at the time.
About the author:
Thrifty Charles has not only mastered the art of money saving for herself, but used to advise vulnerable people on how to make their golden nuggets go further. She is a world of knowledge and knows how to live it up without breaking her piggie bank.
Here’s a few ways to alleviate some of the tension:
Ask for help
Call your mortgage provider if you need a mortgage holiday and apply now! This will help ease the stress if your income is likely to decrease. Similarly applying for council tax support or universal credit if you are eligible. If you have any other payments you cannot make, please call the company, speaking to them directly will make things a whole lot easier and there are often dedicated teams dealing with financial hardship, it will save you getting any scary letters and give you some control over the situation. Sometimes it is possible to freeze the interest on loans/credit you have. If you have any debts you are paying interest on now is the time to do that balance transfer on the credit card or find better rates for loans.
Do a direct debit audit
Make a list of all your direct debits and sort them into priority (council tax, mortgage/rent, energy bills) and non-priority (subscriptions, memberships etc.) can any of your non-priority be cancelled? subscriptions you no longer use: Gym memberships, things you could live without (temporarily). Once that’s done, look at what’s left and look at reducing them, switching energy providers, shopping around for the best deals on insurance/mobile phones, taking energy-saving measures. It is surprising how much you can save just by taking these simple steps.
Next up is to start budgeting! Having no idea how much money we have going out can lead us to panic and bury our head in the sand when it comes to checking bank statements, credit cards etc and hence lead to overspending. Having the full picture of your finances and having money allocated for all your expenses can make a huge difference in how you spend. Being in control of your finances also makes you feel a lot better and your spending habits will probably improve as a result. By budgeting, you will also be able to identify how much you could put away in savings for that future holiday!
Cutting your food bill is all about planning ahead. Do a stock take of food you already have and base your weekly menu plan around it. Batch cooking, using up leftovers and freezing food are all ways to make food go further and reduce food waste. Good shopping habits can also cut food bills considerably – always have a list and stick to it! Look carefully at the price of items, check the reduced section and start to swap out branded products. Think about where you shop and if there is a cheaper alternative.
Cut back to the essentials
Given that eating out and takeaway coffees are off the cards for the foreseeable future, see how much better off you are because of it and take this forward by investing in a thermos flask and picnic bag for when we are able to be out and about again.
Come up with side hustles
Are there any other ways you can make money? Any skill or talent you could put to use? Selling items you no longer need on Facebook marketplace or ebay is a great way to clear out and make some extra cash. Survey sites such as www.prolific.com or www.i-say.com can make you money or points you can convert to vouchers. Using cashback sites when purchasing such as www.topcashback.com can also generate some extra cash. Switching bank accounts will often pay out too. None of the above will make you a millionaire but it’s surprising how much every little adds up! There is great community on social media offering lots of ideas on side hustles and how to save money #debtfreecommunity #ukmoneybloggers
Thrifty Charle’s thoughts
Given the current situation we may be able to take this opportunity to change our money mindset for the better. Yes we need money for our basic needs but right now money cannot stop or solve what’s happening in the world. A new appreciation of the simple things in life may come to light, along with a different approach to the notion of money = success. Together with a shift in perspective on life, we may find our money mindset and spending habits change for the better too.
Fridge list summary
If you’ve enjoyed our tips on how to make your money go further, here’s a short list to stick on your fridge:
- Apply for a mortgage holiday
- Freeze interest on loans
- Review your direct debits
- Shop around for better deals
- Take energy saving measures
- Start budgeting
- Menu plan to cut food bills
- Think of other ways to make money
- Keep reading our blogs to save more
Watch this space for more detailed blogs on each of the topics.
Share your money saving tips
Comment below with your great money saving tips to help others.