Money Tips

Managing money in uncertain times: practical tips on how to reduce spending and diversify your income

The global pandemic has left a significant number of us confronting monetary uncertainty – here’s what you can do about it, according to a personal finance expert.

As lockdown facilitates and we start to anticipate a real existence after coronavirus, a developing number of individuals are confronting huge financial uncertaintitu.

Regardless of whether you’ve needed to close down your business, been made redundant, or furlough, managing such an abrupt decrease in pay is extraordinarily stressful.

Also, with the Furlough scheme coming to an end in October and the economy proceeding to decline because of coronavirus, the danger of redundancy and an economic downturn can make the circumstance significantly harder to deal with.

In case you’re having cash issues at the present time – or are confronting huge money related uncertainty over the coming months – remember that you are not the only one. It’s totally normal to experience anxiety, low mood and feelings of outrage as you attempt to navigate the situation

One of the fundamental issues individuals frequently face when they’re managing financial issues is the lack of control they feel. So stay ontop of dealing with your mental wellbeing while you’re confronting money related uncertainty, likewise, it can be reassuring to find a way to deal with your money problems, and make a longterm plan.

In light of this, Bukiie Smart, author of The ABCs of Personal Finance and founder and editor of Save Spend Invest, a personal finance platform helping millennials learn to manage their money, shares her expert advice. From practical tips you can take in the short term to how to diversify your income.


Smart explains that there are two steps you should take in the short term if you’re facing money problems: cut your expenses, and focus on alternative ways to make an income. 

“Focus on cutting expenses ruthlessly,” Smart says. “Look at your bank account and assess where your money is being spent on and if they are essentials. You are in survival mode, at least for the short term, so you need to think like that. 

“Look at your subscriptions in particular, what are you being debited for that you could really do without? Can you remove your Spotify subscription for example, and live with the ads? Can you cancel Amazon Prime and use a friend’s account? Remember this is only temporary, but your focus is to save as much money as possible. Cash is king so look for it and save, save, save!”

Smart continues: “If you need more money to be able to stay afloat, look at alternative ways to make an income. Think about what your skills are and how you can monetise them. It may be as easy as being great with social media or copywriting. If you’re good at coding or designing websites, you could sell your services on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. Better still, you can promote yourself through your friends and ask them if they know someone who needs your skills. 

“If you don’t have skills you can immediately monetise, try taking a few courses on something in demand, for example, digital marketing or website building, and once you know your stuff, find people who don’t know it and will pay you for it. The goal here is not to be an ‘expert’ but to be someone who knows more things on a particular subject than another person (i.e. you’re rich with knowledge). Then go out and look for those people.”


When you’re facing money problems, it’s sometimes necessary to take out a loan to cover expenses. But is this a good idea? And what impact could this have on your finances in the future?

“You should reassess your financial plan currently and within the next 6-12 months before deciding on things such as taking a loan,” Smart explains. “It may seem like the easiest option, but it’s certainly not the cheapest and it may actually affect you in the longer term (think about if you were going to buy a property within 12 months from now, for example). Some of these things will leave a bad imprint on your credit score so think carefully about you really need. 

“Don’t jump quickly into things everyone is doing like taking loans or payment breaks if you don’t really need them. If you do need them, make a plan on how you want to repay the lenders and break down how that might affect your current lifestyle.”


If you’re worried about losing your job in the future – for example, in October, when the furlough scheme ends – or simply want to protect yourself against the impact of a recession, it’s a good idea to take some precautionary steps.

For Smart, there are four key things you can do to protect yourself against financial uncertainty: diversify your income, cut down expenses, build an emergency fund and look for ways to save:

Diversify your income: “The days of having and relying on only one source of income are long gone,” Smart says. “You may have a job today, but it doesn’t mean it will be here tomorrow. Therefore, increase your income sources. Create a course and sell it. Be a social media consultant. Get hired as an online events curator. Whatever it is, find more ways to sell your services and skills. Your future self will thank you.”

Cut down expenses: “Strip back expenses and non-essentials as far as possible,” Smart recommends. “Create a detailed budget on where exactly your income is going to, and stick to it ruthlessly.”

Build an emergency fund:Save an emergency fund and think about putting a pause on other financial goals such as investing,” Smart advises. “Remember that cash is king in an economic downturn so you should only be investing if you have a surplus amount of cash, should you ever need it.”

Look for ways to save: “Get aggressive with finding more ways to save,” Smart says. “Renegotiate your utilities and bills – everything from gas and electricity to insurance to phone bills. Move to providers who may offer discounts to first-timers if need be.”


Whether you’re dealing with money problems, facing financial uncertainty or simply feel overwhelmed by the economic situation right now, these tips should help you to feel more in control.

1. Try not to panic: “Count with me. 1, 2, 3, inhale … 1,2,3 exhale. Breathe,” Smart says. “We are all in a state of chaos, but you should not panic even if you think everything is coming crashing down. Allowing your mind to be free may be exactly what you need to think about new strategies to make an additional source of income or to cut costs.”

2. Give yourself a break: “Do things that take your mind off your money problems,” Smart recommends. “It’s important that you don’t let yourself spiral into a state of sadness or depression which money problems usually cause. So to combat this, do fun activities like painting, get on the phone to your family and friends and maybe even binge-watch your favourite TV show. Staring and panicking about the problem won’t make it go away but taking a break from it might give you fresh eyes and perspective.

3. Make a plan: “If you still have a job, that’s great – but you should still make a plan to save as much as possible over the next few months,” Smart says. “Ask yourself what the most important next step for you is. Is it calling your bills provider to negotiate a different plan? Is it sitting down to write a short e-book on marketing you can sell on social media? What’s your immediate next step – that’s what you should focus on right now. Then make a plan on the other steps that follow.”

Money Tips

20 simple money-saving tips that could save you hundreds in lockdown

Blitz through these tips and save money!

From lost income to unexpected extra mouths to feed, the current coronavirus crisis is having a financial impact on most us in all kinds of ways. A third of households are struggling on reduced income as a result of the lockdown measures, according to new research by GoCompare. We could all do with a little help right now, so here are some of tried and tested money-saving tips to help you claw back the pounds.

1. Switch Energy Supplier

Ofgem calculates that the average household can save £300 a year by switching to a better energy and gas deal. If you haven’t done this in the last 18 months, now might be a good time to grab your latest utility statements and check out comparison sites such as uswitch or moneysupermarket for example.

2. Cut your interest

If you’ve got credit card debt, don’t pay interest on it! Transfer it onto a 0% balance credit card to avoid paying interest for a fixed time (up to 30 months). Some cards come with a small balance transfer fees, so make sure you do the maths. Set up a direct debit to avoid missing minimum payments and being stung with high charges. If you still have debt after the 0% period ends, move to another deal. Do not use this card for purchases.

3. Check your credit rating

We can’t over-emphasise the importance of having a good credit rating. From credit cards to mortgages, it’s important to make sure you are as attractive as possible to lenders in order to net the best lending rates from them. Think of it as your financial CV. All lenders use financial data provided by at least one of the UK’s three main credit reference agencies – EquifaxExperian and TransUnion (previously Callcredit) so find out what your credit files say (it’s free). Are they up to date and accurate?

4. Go incognito!

Using an incognito browser when you shop online can help you save money by automatically deleting your browser history when you close a tab. This means companies can’t track what you’re looking at and put prices up (yes, it happens!).

5. Don’t splurge on payday

Nationwide’s Payday Saveday survey revealed 1 in 5 people spend over half their spare monthly wages within 48 hours of getting paid! Always prioritise your most important outgoings and something for the savings pot before you start spending. That way you’ll know how much disposable income you really have.

6. Get Saving Savvy

If you haven’t already, maximise your £20,000 tax free ISA allowance. You can either put money into a cash or investment ISA. Admittedly, rates for cash ISAs aren’t great at the moment, but you’ll get more the longer you are prepared to leave the money untouched. Check out for more information. Check for the best cash ISA rates at Moneyfacts.

7. Review your work benefits

If you haven’t had time in the past to check out the benefits your employer may offer, now might be a good time. From healthcare plans and childcare support to local discounts, know what’s on offer, sign up and (when life’s back to some sort of normality) you’ll reap the maximum reward.

8. Take back your pension

Whether you’ve moved jobs and lost track of a pension or have a sneaking suspicion that you have an old savings account with £100 in, use MyLostAccount or the Pension Tracing Service to track down old bank accounts or pension.

9. Weather the storm

If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s the importance of a rainy day fund. If yours has taken a battering recently (or you never really had one), start saving – anything is better than nothing. The rule of thumb is to have three months’ income saved for emergencies, ideally six if you have a mortgage.

10. Learn a skill

Millions of us are learning new skills online while we’re stuck at home and saving ourselves money by doing the painting and decorating and other household jobs ourselves. You can find helpful videos on YouTube and Any jobs you’re doing yourself, where in the past you’d have paid out, is money in the bank account.

11. Clear out the loft

Nearly six in 10 people admit to having over 50 unused items stored away – up to the estimated value of £483, according to eBay. Turn unwanted items into cash by selling them online.

12. Choose supermarket brands

Swapping branded products for own brand alternatives is an easy way to slash the price of your shopping bill – from cornflakes and pasta, to oven chips and washing up liquid. If you’re worried about the taste being compromised, ‘blind’ test them out on the family first! If they don’t notice the difference, you’re onto a winner!

13. Waste less food

Shockingly, almost three quarters of what we throw away in the home is edible, according to recycling charity WRAP. Make a conscious effort to use everything you buy and you’ll save a fortune. If you’re worried about food safety, remember: ‘use by’ date is the cut-off after which it is not considered safe to eat the food. However, eating food past a ‘best before’ date won’t cause any health issues. For recipe inspiration, check out our storecupboard recipes in the food channel.

14. Renegotiate insurance policies

MoneySupermarket research shows more than a quarter of drivers and homeowners/renters are voiding their car or home insurance by not complying with the terms and conditions carefully. Don’t pay for a policy and then get caught out this way!

And if you’re not using your car during lockdown, ask your insurer for a refund! Admiral is giving a £25 refund to all its car insurance customers and other providers are under pressure to follow suit.

15. Develop a financial plan

While it’s tricky to pre-plan your annual expenditure, especially in these uncertain times, why not split the year in half? Break down your income and set financial goals and milestones in a diary or chart – it will be really useful to give you an idea of household expenditure during and post lockdown.

16. Go Paperless Billing

If you ditch paper bills and become an online customer, you’re almost always more likely to get access to a range of better deals and cheaper plans. Not to mention you can monitor and manage your account online or through a smartphone app.

17. Track your spending

The more conscious you are of what you are spending the less likely you are to overspend. Use free budgeting apps like Yolt or Money Dashboard to monitor all your accounts in one place on a handy dashboard. Digital banks like MonzoStarling and  are also great at helping you manage your spending with a number of budgeting tools within their apps. It could be useful to check your current spending pattern as it may differ from your usual one.

18. Diarize a regular review

Put a regular note in your diary to review your finances, from bills to your spending. This will help you see where you can save money. If money management isn’t your strong point, ask a financially savvy friend to help. There are also lots of useful budget calculators at the Money Advice Service website.

19. Withstand pressure

You know what they say about idle hands…don’t let the enforced confinement send your online shopping bill soaring. Be mindful in what you buy. It’s all too easy to shop through boredom! If you find you have an online basket full at the end of the evening, leave it overnight and look again in the cold light of day!

20. Set but don’t forget your Direct debits

Never miss a payment by setting up direct debits to cover your bills. Paying your household bills, like electricity, gas, mortgage or rent and council tax should be your priority. If you are worried about affording the essentials at the moment, contact debt charity Stepchange for free advice and support.