BBC Radio 5 Live with Laura Whitmore – Easter Sunday
I was delighted to be invited back on to BBC Radio 5 Live this morning with the lovely Laura Whitmore. Easter Sunday featured Jonathan Van Ness, Scott Flashheart, Refuge Charity, Dr Zoe Williams, actress Laura Pradelska and music from Andrew Cushin.
I thought I would share some of the things we talked about, as well as some of my top tips for looking after your money right now.
Easter At Home
Currently, I am ‘shielding’ which means not being able to leave the house even to get food. I am in a vulnerable group, so I have been advised by my doctor not to have any unnecessary face-to-face contact with anyone.
Shielding is different from self-isolation, which is where anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19 or has been with anyone who is poorly, needs to also not have any non-essential face-to-face contact or leave their home.
Laura: How have your budgeting habits had to change over the last few weeks?
My budgeting habits haven’t changed dramatically. I have spent the last 6 months being careful with my money.
I started a new Budget Planner for the start of the New Financial Year. I have documented all of my outgoings and incomings until next March, which is great as this carries you over the tricky Xmas and NY period.
My outgoings are less as I am staying in and not leaving the house. Not commuting, coffees or meet anyone for a glass of wine!
Are you struggling to get food deliveries? I am struggling to get any food deliveries. I have managed to get one delivery (thanks to Tesco!) in bulk during the lockdown period which cost me £100 – my weekly shops are usually £20. I have housemates who can help me but I do feel like it is a big ask to get a big shop for me.
I have found Your Local Delivered which lists local businesses as alternative suppliers for anyone like me who is struggling to get deliveries. Look at local communities and businesses deliveries to get food.
I myself felt too proud to ask my housemates for help and bought an Uber Eats until my food delivery arrived. However, there is so much support available and this is the time to ask people for help.
Laura: For people who are struggling financially or have found themselves out of work, what help is out there?
Martin Lewis has done an amazing job translating the complex policies coming through from the government.
Depending on your circumstances and financial situation, you might be able to apply for benefits to help you through this period. As well as negotiate with banks, lenders and landlords to minimise any outgoings. Anyone who is a high-earner may have lost their jobs may not necessarily be cash-rich so need to look at ways in which they can manage their finances for the next 3-9 months.
Government websites are the key source of information. Being updated all of the time. Whether you are self-employed, freelancer, they are constantly updating their website with information
- Universal Credit: 1 million people applied in recent weeks, so if you haven’t already. Apply ASAP. Persevere to book an appointment as you need to expect 5 weeks for a payment. You might be able to ask for a temporary emergency loan to get you through
- Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SSEISS): Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus. June grants are worth up to 80% of profits capped at £2,500. You may be able to get a Business Interruption Loan or apply for Universal Credit in the meantime.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
- If you are being made redundant right now. You might be able to negotiate a settlement and ‘enhanced payout’ as part of the redundancy package.
- I was made redundant the morning of Brexit (June). I thought the market would be fine in September but it took a long time to get back on to the career ladder. Don’t spend your redundancy pay. Try to make it last as long as possible.
Free school meals:
- Free school meal vouchers £15 arranged through your school
- Landlords: New laws have been put in place to protect tenants from being evicted. If you are unable to pay your rent for any reason, have that conversation with your landlord sooner rather than later. Do not assume you do not have to pay your rent.
- Home-owners: homeowners may be able to get a three-month payment holiday for up to 3 months
Foodbanks and charities
- Foodbanks/Charities: Trussell Trust (food banks) + FareShare (Distributor of surplus food) to help the most vulnerable in the short-term
- If you are in a position to donate. You can donate to FareShare through Tesco drops in 450 of its stores, with Tesco pledging to support both charities and local groups. Need more volunteers.
- If you need help, check with your local community and charities for support.
Career Top tip:
If you are leaving your company for any reason. Update your LinkedIn profile and ask for recommendations as you leave the company. Let recruiters know that you are available using the option on Linkedin and also don’t be afraid to promote the fact that you are available to your network. Many senior roles aren’t advertised so use LinkedIn as a platform to network and get the word out there.
Laura: We are also saving money as well. It’s important to go through your credit cards, your current accounts and cut out stuff that you don’t need to be spending.
We are also saving money. Go through everything to cut out things you need and you don’t need to spend.
I always do a financial ‘spring-clean’ at the start of the financial year. Go back at least 6 months through all of your bank and credit card statements. I have a tendency to forget to cancel 30-day trials. Check your Apple subscriptions. Cut out what you don’t need.
Cutting back: Minimise everything and small things do add up.
Food, rent, bills take priority. Netflix, Amazon might be luxuries right now for those that can afford them.
FREE entertainment: there is so much FREE entertainment, you don’t have to spend a penny right now!
Create for Corona
Sukki Singapora (star of Singapore Social) has set up ‘Create for Corona’ which celebrates achievements online by other creatives. “Create for Corona” is a hashtag that was started by Sukki Singapora and her friends when she saw so many of her fellow industry artists stuck in their homes without work. In a gig industry without gigs – she wanted to do something to keep positivity high by asking people around the world to submit videos of themselves “Creating for Corona.”She was also inspired by her terminally ill father who has motor-neurone disease to make sure that the Create For Corona cause raised funds towards coronavirus relief
What is FREE!?
- Free Entertainment:
- Free Comedy – The Covid Arms
- Free Art – TATE Andy Warhol Tour of the Gallery
- FREE music – Camp Bestival’s Stay At Home Easter Sleepover & Defected Festival this Easter weekend
- Free time for learning: If you have lost work or are Furlouging? How to use this time to look for free courses right now to boost your CV. Google Garage for FREE digital courses.
- Hobbies: Something people have been talking about this to me. Some people have started to learn languages, juggling.
- Exercise: So many FREE online courses. PE with Joe in the mornings, Pure Gym Instagram Live, Cosmic Kids Yoga!
Laura: Watch out for those impulse buys!
I spoke to a few people about this and was surprised to learn that a lot of people do feel that they are feeling under pressure to spend online.
People being bored at home are the prime audience for discounts and offers from a range of companies.
Don’t spend what you don’t need to: Try to stay away from impulse buys or what I call ‘insomnia’ buys. Buying stuff off Amazon at 4 am in the morning! I am a sucker for Facebook & Instagram sponsored posts too!
Disposable income: For people who think that they have more disposable income due to staying in and not spending too much money. Don’t spend this as tempting as it may be. Think more long-term. You might not have the same expenses or outgoings right now, but you will also have a reduced income even if you are earning, due to furloughing or taking pay cuts in the interim. Keep that cash you would have been spending and put it into a separate account you can’t easily access.