I don’t need to do any explaining when I talk about the year 2020. We all know what’s been happening and what a disastrous effect it has had on most people’s finances. We did not see it coming and we could never have prepared for it. Now that we’ve had a year like this however, we can no longer fall back on the excuse that it was unprecedented. Now we need to prepare our finances to cover us if a pandemic like this ever happens again. I wanted to share with you some things that i’m putting in place to make me as financially prepared as possible if we get Coronavirus part two.Build up your savings
‘Savings’ was either your favourite or most loathed word as we left March 2020 behind us. Either we had them or we didn’t. If you are smart with your finances, you should always try to have enough savings to cover you for at least 6 months. Learn money saving tips now to prepare for the future. Even if a lockdown never happens again, there are so many reasons why we might not be able to earn any money for 6 months. You could be too grief-stricken to work, you could be too ill mentally or physically to work, you could have pregnancy complications and want to take the time off work to stay safe. Building up your savings is most important if you don’t have a full-time job where you could get sick pay, for example.
Prepare for the future by putting money aside incase another pandemic happens in the future. You don’t want to have to rely on emergency cash. There are many ways to do this. Personally, I have a seperate bank account that is set to debit a set amount out of my current account every month. You could even do it every week. Think about an amount that you wouldn’t really notice coming out or that wouldn’t really impact you negatively and have that set aside. There are also lots of money saving challenges online where you set aside say £1 in week 1, £2 in week 2, £3 in week 3 and so on. Following one of these challenges can give you the motivation you need to keep putting the money aside instead of spending it on something frivolous like a latte and a magazine.
You could also think about alternative places to keep your savings, that might also financially reward you more than bank account interest will. I used to have premium bond savings as well as shares, and both of these I would do again. Even if you don’t need savings for a future pandemic, saving all year round can mean you have money for a summer vacation or family activities.
Set up Critical Illness Cover
Unless you have been seriously ill yourself before, I don’t think Critical Illness Cover is something we would necessarily think about. I think Coronavirus has put this at the front of ours minds now however. If you were lucky enough to have qualified for furlough or sick pay during this pandemic, you were very lucky indeed. Hundreds of thousands of freelancers missed out on this support and thousands also fell through the gaps in the government’s schemes set up for the self-employed. The government solution just wasn’t robust enough and some people got no help at all.
If you are self-employed or somehow aren’t eligible for sick pay from your employer, you might end up just being able to claim Statuatory Sick Pay if you were to fall ill from Coronavirus and similar in the future. That’s only about £95 per week – not even a small dent in my monthly rent and bills. Critical Illness Cover will pay out a tax-free lump sum, or a monthly income payment to you if you fall ill and are unable to work. In order to be financially smart, you should get expert advice on what type of Critical Illness Cover is right for you.Minimise your debt
If you have credit card debt that is going to take you more than a few months to clear, you are throwing money away if you are paying interest on it at the same time as you are making payments towards clearing it. What’s the point of paying £100 a month towards your credit card if you are losing £20 in interest. Your bill is only going down by £80 for every £100 you pay towards it, for example. It would be a smart idea to move your balance to an interest-free credit card. You will get 12 months with no interest, giving you a much better chance of clearing that balance and not waste hard earned money. Look into the current best 0% balance transfer credit cards that don’t charge you a high fee to transfer.Add more strings to your bow
Now would be as good a time as any to set up a side hussle. Those who had a hobby that made them a bit of money were a lot luckier than those that didn’t when lockdown hit. If your workplace is forced to close and you are furloughed again, having a side business such as running training courses, consulting, crafting, jewellery making, or even starting a blog to make money, will help you financially as well as mentally. It’s a smart move and you might even learn a skill you never knew you had. At best it might save you if a future lockdown hits. At worst it will make you some pocket change for an extra night out every month.
You can see more of what i’m loving, and what i’m doing, over on my Instagram.