Covid-19 has disrupted the entire UK economy, closing restaurants, shutting small businesses and putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work. People on 0-hours contracts and freelancers are some of the worst-hit, experiencing their monthly pay dropping from 100 to 0 in a matter of days. During such uncertain times, many people are suffering from financial difficulty as they have never seen before. So what can we be doing to make ends meet during the Covid-19 outbreak?
In an attempt to keep businesses afloat and to keep people in employment the government has announced more than £330 billion worth of guarantees. This includes introducing a Business Rate holiday, giving workers access to Statutory Sick Pay if they are forced to self isolate, supporting businesses by paying up to 80% of their worker’s salaries to allow them to keep employees on and making it easier for people to sign up for Universal Credit. In addition to endeavors above, the government is also in conversation with mortgage lenders about possible mortgage repayment freezes and is trying to bring about more support for self-employed workers who, at present, only have the Universal Credit system to fall back on. For many people, these measures don’t go far enough to help them support their livelihood, so what else can we do?
With business dropping virtually overnight, many people and companies are being forced to take out payday loans in order to survive. The government has promised an 80% money-back guarantee on loans provided by lenders to try and encourage them to continue offering them to SMEs in need, however, this has yet to be applied to personal loans that may need to be taken out by freelancers.
In the face of so much uncertainty, at present, the only thing that most of us can do to try and make ends meet is to cut back on our own costs in order to make the money we do have to stretch further. Here are some things that you can do to help cut your monthly expenses:
- Apply for council tax relief
One of the largest monthly expenses for most renters and homeowners is their council tax. If you are on a low income you could be eligible for council tax relief or a council tax reduction.
- Cut your food spend
The new, tighter, social distancing regulations are forcing most of us to stay at home and this gives us the opportunity to experiment with lower-cost food options. Go back to basics and make hearty and filling vegetable-based dishes such as soups, stews, and curries that cost far less than meat alternatives and are healthier for you too.
- Stop all unnecessary spending
Finally, if you haven’t done it already, then now is the time to look at your outgoings and to be strict about what you can no longer afford. You can save money on your phone bill with Apps such as Airtime rewards and you may also want to look at subscription services such as Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon Prime which may have seemed like necessities but are now little more than luxuries. Even if cutting these out only saves you £30 a month, that’s £30 a month in your pocket for essentials such as food and rent.
There’s no denying that times are hard right now and for many people, this post barely scratches the surface. It’s important to remember that more help initiatives are being announced every day, so keep an eye out on the GOV.UK website.