It’s time for another Muddy Boots Self-Isolation Survival Kit blog, and today we wanted to touch on the emotive topic of money.
With the coronavirus pandemic causing many of us to seriously consider its potential financial implications to our family homes, along with feeling the worry or fear that can bring, we wanted to do our little bit to point you in the right direction of help we can all access.
So, if you don’t have an emergency savings fund, or a millionaire family member ready to throw some cash your way, and either find yourself struggling to make ends meet during these uncertain times, or just panicking about it, here are five simple steps to take:
Easier said than done… but hear us out on this one! There is help available to ensure we all stay financially afloat!
Firstly… Sick Pay
If you (or anyone else in your home) cannot work due to coronavirus you will get SSP from day one, rather than from the fourth day of the illness. Statutory Sick Pay will also be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by coronavirus. This will apply from 13 March 2020.
Secondly… Universal Credit and ESA
Those seriously affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance up front without physically attending a job centre – information on this can be found here.
ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) is also available to those working, and is definitely worth checking out.
Pick up the phone
One of the best things you can do is proactively pick up the phone and start calling companies or individuals who you pay monthly and see what they are offering in terms of support.
Some examples of these might be;
Most of the main banks have already announced ‘mortgage holidays’, meaning you could have a 2-3 months break from paying part or all of your monthly payment.
Credit Card / Loan Holidays
On a similar note, banks are also starting to offer ‘payment holidays’ on credit cards, loans, overdrafts, as well increased credit limits, so it’s well worth a call to see how you can take a breather on payments!
As of yet, nothing official has been put in place in terms of landlords charging rent over the next few weeks, but it is worth a call sooner rather than later, just so you know where it is. Bear in mind they may be benefitting from a mortgage holiday on your property themselves. They may not be able to offer you no payments, but reduced payments could be an option, so pick up the phone and have a chat.
Finally, feel free to try any other companies or individuals to see what they are offering. You won’t get if you don’t ask, and you will probably worry until you know for certain, so pick up your phone and call your gas & electric provider, council tax, insurance companies… whoever, to ask what payment breaks they can provide.
Draw up a new budget
One of the best things we all can be doing is refreshing our personal budgets for the next couple of months. Hopefully after making some of the calls above you will already have freed up some wiggle room, but also looking a little deeper into any non-essential spending may be helpful.
With the new guidance on avoiding ‘pubs, clubs and social occasions’ we will probably all end up saving a few pounds, combined with some slight cutbacks and some strategic food shops, we could all walk through this with money left over (or at the very least at even!)
Avoid emergency loans
We really would advise avoiding emergency or pay day loans as much as you possibly can.
Obviously, they are attractive, and can deliver cash to you within minutes, but you will be made to pay way over and above to finalise the account, which will only stretch any financial difficulty way past the end of this current season.
Finally, and most importantly, to get through any and all financial challenges this season presents we have to keep communicating!
With your family, friends, colleagues at Muddy Boots… whoever! Just make sure you aren’t trying to handle the burden alone, and that you are sharing any problems you are facing. Not only will this ensure a sense of relief and support to you, but it may just bring about creative ideas you wouldn’t have thought of alone.
Whatever happens, we will all get through this together!
Team Muddy Boots