RAYMOND BENN & CO - CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – FINANCIAL SURVIVAL - PRACTICAL SURVIVAL – 17.04.2020

Many of us are facing daily challenges relating to the Coronavirus pandemic, including financial worries.

It may seem today that the problems we are facing with our bills, landlord, childcare, etc. are unsolvable but everyday there are new solutions – from government or from our own friends or family or communities. Our advice is to think about practical actions we can take, perhaps look at things from a different angle and to not hesitate in reaching out for help. This factsheet is packed with trustworthy websites with information that may be helpful to each of us at this time. 

There isn't always an answer today but doing some research and looking at possible options may well help you feel more in control.

Here are a few practical tips on what to do if you are concerned about your finances and bills.

Help with your rent, other debts, mortgage, energy top-ups and more

It is important that you don't ignore your bills. Citizens Advice advise talking to the organisation or person you owe money to straight away. Try to explain the situation and you could ask for more time to pay or ask to catch up missed payments by lower amount instalments.

The government is offering a range of measures to support people financially. Click here to understand Universal Credit and check if you are eligible.

Turn2Us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. They provide benefits advice and can signpost you to local welfare schemes and local charities as well as details of foodbanks, baby banks (for clothing and nappies) and other emergency resources.

Reach out for help and advice from services like The Money Advice Service, Citizens Advice, Stepchange or National Debtline but remember that these services may be busier than normal. If you are a tenant find out your rights by visiting Shelter. Remember we also have access to Hospitality Action's helpline and website.

Some banks have said they will defer mortgage and loan payments if you are affected by the coronavirus. Speak to your bank if you are worried about paying them, and most banks have also a dedicated page to Coronavirus guidance.

For further advice on difficulty in paying mortgages, rent, council tax and utilities go to the Money Saving Expert where there is some useful information.

Use time you are at home to work through your finances 

Take this opportunity to create a personal finance budget. Using a budget tool could be helpful. Remember that you may be saving money by not spending on things like transport and socialising. Factor that in when looking at your budget.

It might also be useful to develop the knowledge and skills to manage your money. Money for Life is a service dedicated to 16-25 year olds aimed at equipping them with the knowledge, life skills and provision needed to manage their money but everyone, not matter what age you are, could access and benefit from advice on their website.

Look at what is available in your community

Sadly, many food banks have had to close but rapidly services like this will generally find ways of providing services around the restrictions. To find your local food bank go to The Trussell Trust

If you have children, and they are entitled to free school meals, take them – your school will be in touch about how to access this service.

Cut down on your spending

Check if you are subscribed to any websites or services that you don't need right now. Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime and other streaming services offer multiple profile options so you could share the costs with your friends or family.

If you're looking for things to do during this down time, organise a book swap with friends instead of buying something new. There are also many free online museum tours or theatre shows available. We will be sharing these with you soon too when we come to sharing our lifestyle ideas.

The weather is getting better and we have had quite a few sunny days recently! Check your thermostat – make sure you are using a timed thermostat if you can to reduce those energy bills as much as possible. Did you know that dropping the thermostat just by one degree Celsius saves you about 5% on your heating costs?

If you are a smoker try to give up or cut down – it may help both financially and in terms of making COVID-19 less serious if you develop the illness.

Check any insurance policies you have

Life cover, critical illness cover, mortgage insurance and even home contents insurance sometimes offers legal advice or cover that could help. Check the small print!

Beware of scams

Sadly, fraudsters are using the coronavirus outbreak to scam people out of money. Use a reputable source such as the gov.uk website or organisations linked on this document. Never respond to unsolicited messages (texts, calls or emails) that ask for your personal or financial information, inform you about unclaimed refunds etc. For more information on how to spot avoid and report scams the Money Advice Service has a useful guide.

Remember, though we are in extraordinary times and we are all affected in different ways, keeping calm, checking your options, seeking advice and working through your possibilities will help you come up with a plan. We will get through this together.

If you feel this is not relevant to you in your current circumstances but you have family or friends who would benefit from this, please do pass it on.

Raymond Benn and Co

With our thanks to

Liz McGivern

Vice President People & Culture

RED CARNATION HOTELS

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