1. Taking a mortgage ?holiday? and deferring your loan repaymentsIf keeping food on the table and paying bills on time looks like it could be a challenge, speak to your bank. On Tuesday 17 March, banks agreed with the Chancellor that they would offer ?forbearance? (tolerance and help) on mortgages. This means that they should all be offering anyone struggling a three-month ?holiday?, giving customers a temporary break from having to make mortgage payments during this time. And it?s not just mortgages ? many banks will help those struggling to repay personal loans, including waiving fees for missed payments.
2. If you?re renting, speak to your landlordThe chancellor has sadly not yet announced direct help for renters, though he?s hinted that there may be more to come in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you rent your home and are struggling to keep up with payments due to Covid-19 related complications, you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible to work out a plan. Thankfully, it has been confirmed that private tenants will not be evicted from their homes for at least three months even if struggling with their rent under emergency coronavirus legislation announced by the Housing Secretary.
3. Cut your costsAnd cut them today. First off, make a list of everything you spend money on. Total it up and immediately cut the 10% of things that you already know you don?t need. Secondly, more time indoors means that this is your opportunity to start cooking. Doing a weekly meal prep on a weekend and boxing up daily meals will not only save you a small fortune vs Pret or Deliveroo, but you?ll be much healthier too.
4. Cancel non-essential recurring paymentsConsidering freezing or cancelling those payments you don?t need, no matter how little they cost. Chances are that you?re no longer getting value from your gym membership, dental plan, magazine subscriptions, club memberships and other non-essential payments that have been chipping away at your bottom-line. It would be worth calling your gym, for example, to explore your options including whether they are offering reduced rates or a payment holiday. Every penny saved is a boost to your budget and will help you to afford the essentials.
5. Claim back money you could be owedThe Student Loans Company is holding on to over ?28 million in student loan over-payments. The company says they have contacted everybody who is owed a refund. However, due to the somewhat ephemeral nature of students and graduates, many change addresses numerous times without updating their details, which means many people will have slipped through the net. This could be you. Likewise with energy providers: it?s estimated that they owe UK households ?1.5 billion. Check-in with your provider and see if they owe you any money from overpayments.
6. See how the Government or your local MP can helpThe Government is constantly working on the ways it can support small businesses and the self-employed during this time. Check out the Government website to stay on top of things. In the meantime,?HMRC?has set up a?helpline?for businesses and?self-employed?people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19. Call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice, or alternatively contact your local MP who may be able to help???find out who they are here.
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