Looking after your own finances
Jones Harris, the BADN’s independent auditors and accountants, have provided the info below to give you some ideas on how to look after your own finances, particularly where your income has been reduced. BADN has added info in italics on how current BADN members can use their BADN Rewards scheme to obtain further savings.
Personal bank statement review
First, have a look at your personal bank statement and think what you might be able to reduce or stop. Some suggestions are outlined below.
As a result of the coronavirus, Sky are allowing customers to pause their sports subscription without any cost. Your next bill will show £0 for the sports package -although you will still need to pay for the rest of your bundle. You can still watch all of the 11 Sky Sports channels after pausing it and can watch all the sporting replays.
To pause your membership, call 0800 151 2747, say "cancel Sky Sports" and it will ask if you wish to pause your Sky Sports subscription.
Alternatively, you can visit Sky's website and follow the instructions.
Virgin media are allowing you to pause sport now – https://www.virginmedia.com/help/thinking-of-leaving/talk-to-us
It might be worth contacting your gym and seeing if they will freeze your membership.
Mobile phone contracts
If you are you out of contract and have not upgraded the handset but are still paying £30-50+ per month it might be better to swap to a sim only contract that may cost you only £10-20 per month depending on your usage. If you are in contract and if you’re experiencing difficulties with payments, please contact your mobile service provider.
As a result of the restricted movement you may have more than one vehicle in the household and it might be worth considering moving the redundant vehicles off road and completing a “SORN” to inform DVLA and reduce your road fund license costs (road tax).
If you decide to take your car off the road and “SORN” with DVLA you could also speak to your insurers and confirm that the vehicle is not being driven and they may agree to reduce your insurance premiums.
Please be mindful however that there may administration fees for changing the policy and you will need to decide whether making the change is worthwhile.
However, DO NOT cancel your insurance policy as the vehicle will not be insured for damage or theft.
If your MoT is due on or after 30 March 2020, your MoT expiry date will be extended by six months, but you must keep your vehicle safe to drive – see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020 for more details.
BADN members can take advantage of various offers regarding car insurance, breakdown service and other motoring offers in BADN Rewards, via the members’ area.
This could be a good time to look at your gas, electric, broadband, etc. and see if you can get a better deal and reduce your monthly outgoings.
Utilities and financial hardship
If you know that you are going to struggle paying your utility bills during this period, then we recommend that you speak to your supplier and see what they can offer to you. If you have been furloughed or working from home your utility bills are likely to increase.
If you are you paying for either a season ticket for travel or contract parking, you might be able to cancel these expenses or apply for a refund.
Most children’s activities have stopped, and it might help to see if you able to freeze or cancel any monthly subscriptions. Look online for free activities/worksheets to keep the children occupied at home.
Mortgage and rent
If your income has dropped and you are experiencing financial hardship speak to your mortgage provider and they may be able to provide you with a three-month mortgage payment freeze. Please remember that interest will continue to accrue on your loan, and you may need to agree a plan with the lender on how to catch up on any missed payments.
Although the Government has stated that landlords are not able to obtain possession for unpaid rent during this period, we would recommend that you speak to them and agree a plan together that considers future payments and missed payments.
Creditors – loans and credit cards
If you expect your income to return once the current crisis lessens then we recommend that you speak to your creditors and explain that your income has significantly reduced as a result of the Coronavirus.
We understand that you can ask to reduce your payments to £1 per month until your financial position improves. You can do this yourself and you don’t need to pay a Debt Management company to do this for you.
We recommend that you speak to your creditors before simply reducing payments, otherwise you will be inundated with calls from your creditors causing unnecessary stress and pressure.
Before you speak to your creditors, we suggest that you review your bank statements and then work out your monthly personal income and expenditure. You will then be prepared for any questions that are asked over the phone and this may help you negotiate lower monthly repayments during this period.
Making reduced payments may well affect your credit rating; however at the moment the priority is maintaining basic necessities and then paying what you can on remaining items.
Income and Expenditure
To allow you to make the right decisions and also to help you make the calls to your creditors it could be helpful to complete a monthly income and expenditure account with your reduced income.
The Citizens Advice Bureau might be able to give you further support related to claiming benefits as a result of the coronavirus.
Looking after your own well being
Please do not underestimate the impact this crisis is having on your own well-being. This is a very stressful time and we recommend that you have look at this website.
BADN members have access to our Health & Wellbeing Hub, part of the BADN Rewards scheme, accessed via the members’ area.
A free telephone legal helpline is available to all BADN members which is part of the BADN Rewards scheme. You can access it by clicking here.
Don’t forget, you can access a range of online offers from BADN Rewards* helping you save on:
- Everyday essentials - As a member of the BADN, you can get retail cashback on groceries and high street retailers online. You can also access further discounts on domestic appliances and online fitness classes.
- Obtaining discounts on entertainment -BADN Rewards offer preferential rates on Apple products including Apple Watch and iPad. Plus save on home movie streaming services, books and magazines and online beer subscriptions.
Access these and explore many more benefits via the members’ area here.
*Terms and conditions apply to all benefits. See website for details. Offers subject to change without notice. BADN Rewards is managed and run on behalf of BADN Rewards by Parliament Hill Ltd