Managing personal finances can be a tricky thing to master, and it oftentimes takes years of practice. That’s under normal circumstances, though. When hard times hit however, it can often feel like your finances (or lack thereof) are in control of you, and not the other way around. The past few months have been no exception. The whole world is reeling in the wake of the coronavirus, bringing financial hardships on many people. While we recognise that no two people are experiencing the same things, we have compiled a list of five simple steps you can take today that can help you to better manage your finances in times of crisis.
Read up on the latest government guidelines
The first step to managing your finances in a time of crisis is to stay up to date with the latest news, especially when it comes to a pandemic. Check out www.gov.uk/coronavirus to read the most up to date government guidelines, along with helpful tips and tricks on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, links to testing sites, and much more. This site also has external resources for work and financial support, should you need it.
Check with your bank if you have a specific question regarding your account or the availability of your funds
As we mentioned earlier, we understand that everyone is facing a different situation, and sometimes that means not having access to enough funds to be able to live. If that’s the case for you, don’t panic. Banks and other financial institutions understand that these unprecedented circumstances have impacted many people in some fairly dramatic ways. That’s why it’s important to check with your bank if you have a question that applies specifically to your account or whether or not your funds will be available to you. You might be surprised how willing some banks will be to work with you based on your unique situation. So check with them first before applying for any sort of loan or other type of finance to make sure that you’re making the wisest decision.
Check your credit score periodically
Many people believe that checking your credit score often will lower it, and that’s simply not true. While it’s not necessary to check it very often, it is important to make sure that you do know what your score is, and whether or not it’s improving by checking your score periodically. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. As a ScoresMatter member, you’ll be able to monitor your credit score to make sure that you’re trending in the right direction.
Keep paying your regular payments as long as you can.
Having a good credit score is essential during a time of financial hardship. Lenders often use your credit score as a metric to gauge whether or not you will be eligible for a loan. That’s why you need to keep that score up, and a big part of keeping your credit score high is consistently making your regular payments. This consistency will drive your credit score up over time as you continue to pay your balance back each month, so it’s crucial that you continue making those payments as long as you can. However, as we’ve mentioned, funds may not be available with which to pay off that balance. Don’t worry though, even if you can’t pay a credit card bill on time and you end up late on a payment, you can typically pay it off within 30 days before it shows up on your credit report. If you anticipate that you won’t be able to make a payment on time, contact your lender before payments are due and inform them of your unique circumstances.
Monitor your accounts closely and be on the lookout for scams and identity attacks
Cyber crime has seen a dramatic increase over the past few months, due in large part to the global pandemic. Cyber criminals have taken advantage of the fact that so many people have had to work remotely, meaning that they’ll be spending more and more time online. From phishing attacks to cryptocurrency scams, more and more people fall prey to these traps each and every day. That’s why it’s important to monitor your accounts on a continual basis, making sure not to fall prey to any of these scams that are making the rounds online right now. For more tips and tricks on how to spot these kinds of coronavirus scams click here. If you believe that your personal information may have been compromised due to one of these scams, check out our Dark Web Scan feature, which can show you a report of whether or not your data has been put up for sale on the Dark Web.