What can I do to help my financial situation?

One person raising hand through pile of paperwork reaching out for another person offering a helping hand

If this last year has taught us anything it’s that it has shown just how important it is to be in control of our finances. Which begs the question, ‘what can I do to help my financial situation?’

Businesses

Business man in suit offering his hand to shake

Businesses have struggled massively in the last 12 months. You may be a business who has had to scale back, therefore your income is not as much as it should be. You could be one of the many businesses that has had to close completely for long periods of time. All of this opening and closing has without a doubt caused many businesses a big financial headache.

Here are a few things that you could do to help your financial situation:

  1. Are all of you records and accounts completely up to date so that you know exactly what your income and outgoings are?
  2. Are you raising your invoices straight away? Clients can’t pay their bills if they’ve not had them! Are you invoices correct and accurate? You don’t want to give your customer any excuse not to pay.
  3. Could you implement a discount for early payment of invoices to try and encourage prompt payment? Everyone loves a discount!
  4. Are you on top of any outstanding money? Do you have payment dates for when invoices will be paid to you? If any of the invoices are of greater value, have you considered accepting a payment plan so that you still receive some of the money? It’s really important to make sure that you keep chasing your outstanding money as aged debts could be the difference between you being able to pay your staff or suppliers or you becoming a debtor!
  5. Could you change any of your suppliers? Are you paying a little too much for required items?
  6. Maybe it’s worth a conversation with your suppliers to see if there is a possibility of payment plans and ease the pressure a little bit.
  7. Have you claimed for any of the grants that you may be eligible for? The Chancellor created these grants to help businesses, so please don’t be afraid to use them.
  8. Good communication is key. Keep talking. Ask for help. Ask for advice. Somebody that you speak to may have another idea for you to try which you haven’t thought of.
  9. The most important thing and probably the best advice is to speak to your Accountant. They are there to help you through these tough patches. They should be able to go through your cashflow with you and properly analyse the numbers. It may be that it’s not actually as bad as you think it is. They should be able to give you some ideas on how to improve your cashflow. That’s what they’re there for after all.

Individuals

couple going over bills looking stressed

As in individual, you may be in the situation that lots of other people are in and due to either being on furlough or worse still, being made redundant are just struggling to make ends meet. You may even be one of the many who have been totally excluded from any of the help which has been made available.

If you are struggling, then here are a few things that you could do that could help your financial situation:

  1. Sit down and list down all your income and outgoings. It always seems a little more manageable when you see it written down on paper. You can physically see if you are bringing in enough to cover your bills or if there is a shortfall and by how much.
  2. If you are covering your bills but always seem short, then you need to work out where the rest of your money is going. Are you spending bits here and there and then forgetting about it? We’re all guilty of this but it is one of those silly things that can soon add up. Lunch here, shop there!! Start planning to try an stop all the little visits.
  3. If you have a shortfall, then you need to look at your outgoings. Go through all your direct debits. Are you paying for things that you no longer use like gym memberships or magazine subscriptions? If you are, then cancel the direct debit.
  4. Are there any of your bills that you think you’re paying too much for like mobile phone bills or insurances. Call your current supplier and see if you can get a discount. If you don’t ask you don’t get. The worst that can happen is they can say no and then you can try somebody else. It always pays to shop around.
  5. If after all the above, you still can’t make the numbers add up then it’s a good idea to seek help. Below are some websites that you may find helpful.

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk,

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money,

nationaldebtsadvice.com/Help/With-Debt

Recognising that there is a problem and not burying your head in the sand is a really important step in dealing with the problem. The earlier you notice a problem, the earlier you can start to deal with it. If you just ignore it, it won’t go away!

Always remember *you’re not on your own*. There is help out there so ask. Lots of people are in the same position. We may not all be in the same boat but we’re all in the same storm.