I don't know about you, but as I have watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold over the past 10 days or so, I have been paralysed with not knowing what to do and how to support others. As a money blogger, a money influencer, I haven't known what to say. Things are changing every single day so I decided that what I can do is to tell you what we are doing to financially weather COVID-19.
The uncertainty we are facing
Like most people, our biggest concerns come down to finances and health.
I have been in hospital this week for an operation where just days earlier COVID-19 was diagnosed. I was fortunate enough to not have my surgery cancelled, however it came with lots of anxiety. We are taking every health precaution we can for ourselves.
When it comes to finances, we just don't know what will happen. Economists suggest that a recession is inevitable, and our business has never had to go through a recession before.
Not only are we concerned about our own finances, but also for the freelancers that make up Drew Media LTD.
Here is what we are doing to help out with our finances at this time of uncertainty.
Doing our bare bones budget
This is something I have already done and it has made me feel so much more in control of our situation now.
I made this monthly budget printable and filled it out to see how much money we need every month to live.
There are still plenty of things we can cut back on, but having this figure has really helped me to feel much more in control.
Pausing our mortgage overpayments
Since getting our mortgage in December 2019, we have been on a mission to overpay the mortgage by £10,000 this year. We were on target in January and February, however we have now stopped all mortgage overpayments for the time being.
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We have had our mortgage all of about 2 seconds and I already have ambitious plans for overpayments. Overpaying even a small bit on your mortgage makes such a difference! Let’s assume a £250,000 mortgage for 25 years at 1.89% (which is quite low) £25 a month overpayment pays it off 8 months early and saves £2,023 in interest. £50 a month overpayment pays it off 1 year and 5 months early and saves £3,920 in interest. £100 a month overpayment pays it off 2 years and 8 months early, saving you £7,382 in interest. (Figures from the MSE overpayment calculator) My overpayment goal for 2020 is massive – it is £10,000. This will come from side hustles and saving money. This is on top of the renovations we want to do, on top of a holiday we want to go on and on top of all our other financial goals for 2020. It feels scary as heck though, but I really want to push ourselves. I will be sharing updates throughout the year on here and in my stories. #savingforahouse #homeowner #newhomeowner #mortgageoverpayments #moneysavingexpert #moneymaking #makingmoney #makingmoneyonline #financialindependence #extraincome #profitsoverwages #makemoneyfromhome #personalfinanceforwomen #goalgetter #2020goals #livingonabudget #hustlehard #inspire #success #motivated #focused #dontquit #striveformore #moneymatters #buildwealth #moneysaving #frugalliving #ukdebtfreecommunity #saving #debtfreejourney
We were making mortgage overpayments from a combination of side hustles and where we saved money.
In the current pandemic we will still try to put this money aside, however we will hold it into a separate pot and not tie it up in our mortgage overpayments.
Stop checking stocks and shares/long-term investments
Our stocks and shares are definitely long-term investments, but the amount they have dropped recently can be quite scary.
I have now deleted my investing apps from my phone so that I am not tempted to check them out and despair.
Automatically stash cash
I have been using Chip for awhile now to help me to automatically stash cash away, and I am so glad we built up a safety net without noticing it leaving our bank account.
Chip have made some exciting changes recently.
They have lifted their manual savings cap, and users can now deposit up to £10,000 into Chip.
They have released their new advanced algorithm early. This means that Chip is now more sensitive to income patters and will save more aggressively when it can see opportunities. Fantastic for freelancers or those with an irregular income.
Don't forget that you can get a £10 bonus for free after you have made two auto-saves with Chip. Simply click here and enter code EMMADREW10 to get your free tenner.
Trim our outgoings
I am so glad that I have already done one round of this earlier this month, and trimmed a massive £91.99 per month from our outgoings.
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One of my goals for March was to see what bills we could cut. We are adding a gym membership to our monthly outgoings and I am always on the prowl for ways to save money. It didn’t take long – I had to make one phone call to our water supplier and everything else was done online. We have knocked a massive £91.99 per month off our bills which is £1,103.88 per year. The most expensive gym membership we are considering is £70 a month for us both, so we are still saving even more! Swipe through to see how we have done it. Let me know if you have any suggestions for another bill for us to reduce 🤑 #SavingMoney #CuttingOurBills #ReducingOutgoings #CuttingBills #FinancialGoals #MoneyGoals #DebtFreeGoals #DebtFreeCommunity #UKMoneyBlogger #OnABudget #MoneySavingTips #BuildingWealth #MoneyMindset #Budgeting #LivingOnABudget #StretchingOurMoney #MarriedFinances #MoneyHacks #LookAfterThePennies #PennyPinching #MrsPinch #LiveYourBestLife #DebtFreeLiving #MortgageOverpayments #TakeControlOfYourLife
Now that we have the COVID-19 pandemic we are going to go through our outgoings again and see what we really need.
For example, we pay £5.99 a month for Amazon Prime, which we don't really need right now. Sure, it is only saving us £5.99 per month, but that money can go into our emergency fund.
This comes with its own challenges though.
We have just joined a gym after getting the all clear after my weight loss surgery, and trying to decide whether to keep paying for a service we can't use right now in order to help the gym out, or saving the money is really tough.
Finding items in supermarkets is tough right now, so whilst we still have fresh produce on hand I am batch cooking when I make a dinner.
This means that instead of cooking enough of a meal for one dinner time, I will make more of it to keep in the fridge or freezer to have as leftovers.
A whole chicken cooked in the slow cooker lasts us for plenty of meals – a roast, a curry, soups and many more.
I am tempted to have a big batch cooking day, but right now this feels more manageable.
Here are some other quick, thrifty meals.
Reducing car journeys
One of our biggest expenses after the mortgage and groceries is definitely fuel for the car.
By socially distancing ourselves from others we are automatically reducing our car journeys, and the amount of money we spend on fuel.
If we do have to go out then we think about multiple things we can do in the same journey. For example we won't just go to the tip in a journey – we will visit the tip, a supermarket, etc.
Going ahead with house decorating
This is something we have thought long and hard about.
We have some money left over from our house purchase, set aside for house decorating and odd jobs that need completing.
We thought about stopping these renovations and saving the money into our emergency fund, but we ultimately decided that if we are facing a lock down situation, or at least the amount of social distancing we should be doing, we want to be able to work on our home and make it as nice as we want. After all, we will be spending a lot of time here.
We will still be shopping for bargains, and we might not get everything on our wishlist, but for now we are proceeding with painting and redecorating our house, and getting a carpenter for some odd jobs.