Keeping track of your finances during lockdown

How have your finances fared during lockdown? Has your business been affected or have you had to take a pay cut? Or are you among those who have found themselves with a bit more money than usual, thanks to saving on things like commuting and going out? Or don’t you know?

If there’s one thing that the coronavirus crisis has taught us, it’s that the future can have a curveball just ready and waiting to throw, so it helps to be prepared when it comes to your finances.

Here are some tips to help you keep track of your finances during this uncertain time.

Calculate your total debt

Do you know how much you owe? Now you’ve probably got a bit more time on your hands, it’s a good opportunity to get down and dirty with your debt. Get out your statements and find out the total of all your credit card debts, store cards and any loans. With interest rates at an all-time low, you could consider consolidating your debt. Wealth management firm Saunderson House suggest looking to see if re-mortgaging is an option. With interest rates on mortgages as low as 1.25% for a fixed two-year deal, this could be a savvy move.

Cull the direct debits you’re not using

Are you paying for a gym membership for a gym that is currently closed, or a premium subscription for a sports channel that isn’t showing any sports? Perhaps you’re paying a supermarket delivery premium and you can’t get a delivery slot? Some providers may have already got in touch with you to suspend your direct debits at this time, but it’s worth going through them to see if there are any you might have missed. Claim a refund for your season travel ticket as well.

Use online budget planners

The key to keeping a good grip on your finances is being aware of your true expenditure. Not just your usual outgoings such as rent or mortgage, utilities and grocery shopping, but those not-so-regular, but still significant costs, such as eating out, takeaways, fuel, clothes and nights out. Use on online budget planner to help you and go through a few months’ worth of bank statements with a fine-tooth comb, to make sure you don’t leave anything out! If your earnings have been reduced, this is a great way to identify places where you can cut back.

Seek the help of professionals

If you have investments or savings, it can be hard to know what to do at this turbulent time. With stock markets rising and falling, you may be worried about what’s happening. In this case, it’s a good idea to seek the help of professionals, such as financial advisers in London, who can take you through the various options. You may decide you may want to temporarily stop contributing to your savings while your earnings are reduced or you might want to take advantage of market falls by buying assets when they are cheaper, or make changes to your portfolio to reduce risk.

Make use of technology

There are many great apps available that can make light work of your finances. They link into your bank accounts, so will warn you when you’re about to go overdrawn – perfect if you’re not great at checking your balance. Some of them, such as Yolt, Emma and Moneyhub allow you to set spending limits in key areas such as eating out and will alert you when you’re about to go over them. They automatically sort your spending into categories so you can easily see how much you’ve spent on each.

Now more than ever, it’s important to a grip of our finances, so we’re prepared for whatever the future has in store. Armed with these tips, you should be able to do just that.

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