Wages have been cut, labor contracts have dried up, or the wage increase you were counting on has disappeared.
Finances are squeezed by the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.
So what can you do to find, save or free up extra money in these uncertain times?
We asked some experts for their best advice.
1. Use technology to shop around
Financial blogger Andy Webb says that anyone who uses price comparison sites once a year for auto insurance or energy bills should consider using online price research sites more widely.
There are different websites, easy to find through a search engine, that track and compare prices in thousands of stores, as well as display reviews. For you, this may mean finding the cheapest price in a few clicks.
“It is very easy to shop at the best price when you do it online,” says Andy, who writes the blog Be Clever With Your Cash.
“There are some that you can use day after day to save money on everything from TVs to coaches.
“An additional feature of these sites is the price history tool. You will be able to see if the current price is higher or lower than normal – a handy guide to determining if the lowest price is also the best price. “
2. Chase Refund for Services You Cannot Use
The gym membership is even more inactive than you are during lockout, as are restaurant club subscriptions and many other services.
“Know your rights and respect them,” says Iona Bain, founder of the Young Money blog.
“Consumers who can no longer use the products or services due to the foreclosure are fully entitled to cash refunds – no if, no but. “
The regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, will take complaints in case of failure.
“Be polite, patient but persistent, but know that at the end of the day there is a last resort that supports you,” she said.
She also suggests talking to your bank, insurers, utility companies, mobile network, and homeowner if you’re having trouble.
“Don’t bottle up your problems and cancel any payments without consultation, because it will do more harm than good,” she said.
3. Request the benefits to which you are entitled
Government financial support may be there for you, but you should probably ask for it.
There are benefits such as statutory sickness benefits, employment and support benefits, jobseekers’ benefits and personal independence benefits.
There are also others that supplement your income, such as universal credit, where the amount you receive depends on what you already have. Applying for universal credit can stop other benefits like tax credits, so it’s worth checking before you apply.
“Council tax support is available. If you’re having trouble staying afloat, look at the grants available. Talk to your energy and water supplier to see how they can help, “said Lee Healey of MoneyMots, IncomeMax income advisor.
“There are programs to help parents of children who normally receive free school meals. Students should contact their college or university to see what help is available. “
Where to look for help
Turn2Us – a national charity offering benefit information, grants and support
Advice to citizens – help with benefits, consumer issues and other professional and financial matters
Credit unions – local, regulated loan and savings organizations
Search for grants from various organizations
4. Erase the credit card faster
Many people have been granted payment interruptions for rent, mortgages or other debts, but they will end soon enough.
If you’re having trouble, talk to a debt counselor, but good budgeting will help millions of people cope, says counselor Sara Williams, who writes the blog Debt Camel.
“A good approach is to detoxify money to reduce expenses and simplify your finances, including looking for unwanted withdrawals, reducing utility bills and creating a small emergency fund,” she said.
“If your main goal is to clear a credit card or catalog debt but you cannot afford large payments, my advice is to set up a standing order for the current minimum payment (or round it up) ). This clears the card several years earlier and saves a lot of interest. “
5. Review your rainy day savings
If you already have savings, don’t just leave them in an old account, but check the best buy tables to see if a bank or mortgage company will give you a better return, says Anna Bowes of the comparison service. Savings champion
By revising regularly over time, this can make a big difference in the amount of these accounts – even if the interest rates are generally not very generous at the moment.
“Those who have savings but haven’t looked into them, or left money in the bank, could actually see an increase in their interest if they opt for one of the highest paid accounts,” she said. .
“Once all of this is finished and hopefully your income will recover, be sure to continue saving. A little bit each month can make a difference. There may be a luxury that you can do without and save instead. “
In financial terms, the current crisis is more of a downpour than a rainy day – a time when you may need to use these kinds of savings to avoid accumulating huge debts.
“This situation illustrates the need for everyone to try to put something away,” said Bowes.
6. Return items – even if stores are closed
Helen Dewdney, blogging as The Complaining Cow, points out that you have the right to return an item you purchased from a store if it is defective, if not as described at the time of sale or if it did not last a reasonable time
But the store can be closed.
She advises having a file informing the company of your complaint. You will need to do this in writing, not by phone, in order to have a record of the evidence. Send an email to customer service and explain the situation.
“Offer them the opportunity to safely retrieve the item and either replace it or remove it for repair. If the item is less than 30 days old, you are entitled to a refund. It would always be prudent to email the company and declare that you want the refund, “she said.
The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) decisions. Links to external sites are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute approval. Always get independent and professional advice for your particular situation.