Broke in Bristol

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Now's the time to freeze loan & credit card payments...

Good morning Bristol and welcome back to Broke in Bristol – & beyond the blog that helps you save money, make money and invest in your future. Today, I'd like to talk about how it's really important to ask for a payment holiday on your mortgage and a freeze on any credit card or loan payments if your finances have been affected by Covid-19.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic changed everything, I was doing pretty OK with my finances. Like many other self-employed people, I have times when I have savings in the bank and other periods when I'm living hand to mouth and not quite sure where the next mortgage payment is coming from.

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit my finances at a time when I didn't have any savings and, although a smidgen of my work is continuing remotely from home, a lot of it depends on being out and about meeting people face to face. I've also temporarily lost all income from renting out my campervan and hosting foreign language students – something I often rely on at this time of year.

To get through this financially worrying time, I've asked my lender for a mortgage holiday and I've also asked for a freeze on my credit card payments. It will help me to budget for the next few months until the self-employed grant is paid in June. It's so easy to do – I contacted both lenders online and they got back to me a few days later by email to tell me that it had all been accepted. Yes it will affect the interest you pay (my credit card was still within its interest-free period anyway) but in unprecedented times like these it could be your only sensible solution.

Also, from today, you can now apply for freezes on store and catalogue credit and car loan companies are expected to follow suit this week. In fact, now's the time to ask for a payment freeze on anything that you can't afford to pay as most lenders are being very reasonable.

Anyone with an arranged overdraft can ask for up to £500 of overdraft borrowing with no interest for three months. If your current arranged overdraft is below £500, you will not pay any interest on the amount of your current overdraft limit. If you think you need professional advice on managing your debt then don't hesitate to get in touch with Bristol based Talking Money – their volunteers will listen without judgement and help you come up with a plan. That's all for today – please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. More from Broke in Bristol – & beyond:

Broke in Bristol? Bristol jobs round-up.

Bristol urgently needs emergency foster carers.

How to get a free Gourmet Society card.

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