Coronavirus | 5 tips to consider

It’s safe to say the current state of affairs has caught many of us off-guard. With very little to no time at all to prepare for the situation we're finding ourselves in now with our finances. 

Many have either been laid off from work, had hours reduced or are now receiving government support for the foreseeable future, which is understandably raising concerns when it comes to paying the bills. 

Enrollment is now open for the government's $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme. The scheme supports businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs. Click here for more information. 

The more you can do now to prepare yourself financially, the better. So here are our 5 tips worth considering to help your finances.

 

1. Can you apply for a mortgage payment holiday?
You may be eligible for a temporary repayment holiday if you're struggling to make repayments. The big four banks have programs in place to help customers facing financial hardship.

ANZ’s relief program here

Commonwealth Bank’s relief program here 

NAB’s Hardship program here 

Westpac’s financial hardship program here

2. Do you have a fire extinguisher? 
Not the type that would have been useful at the start of 2020 but rather the type of budget to fights financial fires, such as paying off emergency credit card debt or mortgage repayments. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency budget, but if not, now is a good time. 

3. Where can you save money? 
Reviewing your finances often can help highlight any areas where you can make cutbacks, even if just in the short-term. This should be quite easy to do at the moment, especially those social areas as most things have been suspended/postponed for the time being anyway.
  • Freeze gym memberships - create a home gym instead with things around the house 
  • Walk to the shops rather than driving (get your daily exercise in too!) 
  • Grow your own vegetable patch 
  • Be economical with food - cook in batches and freeze portions
  • Swap from Foxtel to Netflix or Stan
4. Help from the Banks 
Help can go beyond your home loan including but not limited to:
  • Freezing loans in exceptional circumstances 
  • Changing credit limits  
  • Deferring/reducing repayments 
  • Restructuring/consolidating loans
  • Waiving certain fees and charges  
Get in touch with your mortgage adviser if you would like more advice on these options. 

5. Energy bill relief on its way to Australian households
Almost all of Australian energy providers now have a financial hardship policy that includes payment extensions, different options to pay your bills, automatic payment of bills via Centrelink income and financial counselling referrals. 

Contact your energy provider and explain your circumstances to them if you think these options can assist you. 

Lastly its important to take care of your mental health during this time.. The National Debt Helpline was developed by financial counselors, is 100% free and can help you tackle your debt problems. There are people available to help you to get you back on track. 

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