For people across Wales, these are challenging times. Only now are households no longer being asked to stay local. The coronavirus restrictions have put a lot of things into perspective – from the role of key workers to the leisure activities we once took for granted. But it is also a chance for many to take stock of their financial situation and manage their money more effectively.
Keeping track of your finances is something that is a good habit to get to in ‘normal’ times. The recent lockdown restrictions, however, now make that point much louder and clearer. There are many reasons why you may be inspired to get on top of your money matters. There are several small things that you can do quickly and easily too; all of which add up to have a big impact.
The effect of the pandemic on your money
The coronavirus affected the finances of Welsh people in different ways. For some, the situation actually improved – with no commuting, gym memberships or leisure activities to spend money on. And, yet, there are many households for whom the pandemic is causing a great deal of fear and worry. Not being able to work, for example, means many are suffering from lost earnings.
One fifth of people believe that, no matter the impact on your own financial situation, the crisis acts as a ‘wake-up call’ when it comes to managing your money. It doesn’t need to be complex either. Yes, it can seem daunting – but the practical steps you can take are actually really easy. And, without too much effort, you’ll find that you can feel more confident about your finances.
Measure what’s coming in… and going out
Even though restrictions are being eased, our spending habits are now very different – at least for the short-term. To get a much clearer idea of what this means for you, create a budget and map out everything that’s coming in – and going out. Whether it is household bills, car payments, the mortgage or long-term loans, it is important to have a clear picture of your outgoings. From this, you can see what you need to balance the books and where you can pull back on things you don’t need.
Switch suppliers and providers
For those hit hardest by the impact of the coronavirus, payment holidays can offer some short-term relief on things like mortgages. But what about things like energy and broadband bills? It can be helpful to shop around. You could save hundreds each year by switching to a different – and cheaper – provider. A price comparison site can normally do the job for you too.
Set attainable savings goals
Too many Welsh households have little or no savings to fall back on. If and where possible, you should always try and put something away each month – even if you don’t think it’s much. One approach is to set yourself a target you can reasonably reach. Don’t think of saving as a vague idea – think of it something tangible. After all, saving £85 a month adds up to £1000 a year.
If you need help, ask for it
More than a fifth of UK adults struggle with money worries. If that sounds like you or someone you know, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. StepChange and The Money Advice Service are just two organisations who are there to support you with all things money-related. You can get free, impartial advice on the best way forward for you and your family.