Important: This is a fast-changing situation. We will be updating this page with relevant information, as and when it’s available to us. Please send us an email via [email protected] if you can’t find the answer to your coronavirus-related questions in this guide (please note that we unfortunately won’t be able to respond to every email, but we will try our best).
Coronavirus and your money
During a National Lockdown as we saw in March and now again as we head towards Christmas, the UK government told us to stay at home as much as possible. We are allowed to leave our homes only to buy essentials, to care for someone vulnerable, to exercise or if your job really cannot be done from home. As the pandemic progresses and we move out of National Lockdown, we will move onto an alert system with varying local restrictions - different depending on what part of the UK you live in. The government will inform the country of any updates to these guidelines if and when they become available on gov.uk/coronavirus.
These coronavirus guidelines will mean that many people will be working from home for the first time in their lives, getting used to video calling with their colleagues and balancing home and work-life. Others might be worried about risking redundancy due to their employer’s company being hit by the coronavirus. For example, many shops, restaurants and even online retailers are now closed or limiting the amount of employees that can work due to the economic impact on their business’ performance.
These times are insecure, and will possibly leave you feeling very worried and/or vulnerable. Fortunately there are various things you can do to combat the impact of the coronavirus on your financial health. Below we outline the actions you should take, your rights and various ways to save money.
Step 1: Build an emergency budget
If you find yourself in a situation where you lost your job, or saw your hours scaled back due to the coronavirus -and as a result your monthly income has decreased- it is time to urgently look at your budget and understand your financial health.
For most of you, the amount of money you need to spend will also change significantly due to you and your family having to stay at home. Combined, these changes in incomings and outgoings make it highly likely that your household’s normal budget is affected by the coronavirus. We wrote a guide to explain step-by-step how you can build an emergency budget to understand your current financial situation and stretch your budget for the coming months. Read more about budgeting here.
Step 2: Take immediate actions around your bills
Changes in your income due to the health pandemic might lead you to a place of financial struggles. If you foresee or are currently finding it difficult to pay monthly bills such as your mortgage or rent, energy bills or loan repayments, we have outlined the steps you need to take in this article.
The key advice, no matter what bill it is that you struggle to pay, is to contact the provider of those services. The world has never found itself in this situation, and the UK Government is working together with businesses to ensure that the effects that this health crisis has on our financial health is as limited as possible.
Next to recurring direct debit payments for essential services, we also provide tips on how to cut spending on other bills in this guide. Now is the time to look into which regular payments can be paused, deferred or cancelled to ease the pressure during COVID-19.
Step 3: Protect your income and know your rights
We understand that you, together with the rest of the country, might feel anxious about losing your job or seeing your income being affected over the next period due to the coronavirus. Such a big health crisis is unprecedented in our lifetimes and we want to ensure that you’re aware of your rights and of the help that is available to protect your income.
The UK government is working around the clock to help offer as much security as possible to people living and working in the United Kingdom. Part of the safety net measures that have been provided by the government are making Statutory Sick Pay available from day one for those who need to self isolate, lowering the barriers to access Universal Credit and other benefits, and encouraging employers to avoid redundancies by offering to pay part of the employees’ salaries either under the current extended furlough scheme until march 2021 or for reduced hours under the Job Support Scheme. We have explained your rights in detail in this guide.
Step 4: You may be able to borrow money during the coronavirus
Recent events are resulting in many UK direct lenders lowering the number of loans they write out, or altogether stopping to provide loans, to new and existing customers. If you’ve gone through the Loan Search Application on our site and saw that all lenders declined your application, this might be due to a bad credit score or simply the current state of affairs in the market.
Understanding if and how much you might be able to borrow during a world pandemic is important. Next to our “Get Accepted” journey, which shows you which lenders accept your application in principle, we offer tips on how to get accepted for credit during the coronavirus here.
Step 5: Look at our tips and offers to save money today
No one is clear how long the coronavirus will impact the way we live and work in the UK. That’s why, right now, it is the right time to look at your financial situation and understand where you can save money. We are working around the clock to understand what offers can help you save on your bills, for example by switching your energy provider or getting a refund on cancelled holidays or events because of the coronavirus.
We have pulled together the best offers we could find in collaboration with our partners. They are all listed and explained on this page and we will be adding to them on a regular basis.
Take control of your Money during the coronavirus
Choose Wisely is here to help you take control of your financial health during the coronavirus. We understand that everyone in the UK - including us ourselves- are affected by this health pandemic. Therefore, we want to make sure that you are aware of your rights, the help that is available to you and ways to save on your bills. Stay safe and let us know if you have any questions by contacting us via email or on our social channels.
Inez came on board in the Summer of 2019. Her main focus has been helping as many people as possible find our website through online marketing, writing content and partnership deals. She boasts 6 years of FinTech experience with other brands and has an in-depth knowledge of our customers.