If your financial circumstances have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe because of job loss, changes to furlough, or the resumption of pre-lockdown levels of benefits, you may find yourself worried about your money and uncertain of what your options are.
If you are, Citizens Advice Gateshead is encouraging you to, once again, think MASK. - but this time it is to protect you from making a decision about your finances that you might regret in the future.
M – Money Advice
A – Affordability
S – Shop Around
K – Keep up repayments
Make sure that you speak to someone about managing your money before you make a decision. We provide free, independent and impartial advice about money and debt management, looking at things like making sure you are getting the money you’re entitled to and ways that you might be able to reduce some of your costs. You might find out that you don’t need to seek out extra money in the end.
Have you checked that you could afford to make any repayments? By making an honest, thorough budget of your various incomings and outgoings, you can see how much money you have left for repayments. Remember, you need to plan for some unexpected bills as well, or you may find yourself unable to keep up the repayments.
When you have decided what you need to do and you know how much you can comfortably afford, make sure you check out all the options that are available. Some money may be easy to access, but considering the wider options available, including organisations like credit unions, could see you making smaller payments or having more manageable finances.
Keep Up With Repayments
Remember to consider what will happen if your circumstances change and your income drops or interest rates change and suddenly the cost of your solution increase. Make sure you understand the implications of missing a payment before you enter into an agreement.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you can always come to us for advice, information and guidance about this or any other issue that you are facing.
If you are worried about your finances, you can ring our dedicated debt helpline on 0191 490 4248 and speak to one of our expert Money Advice team.
If you would like to speak to an adviser about other issues, you can ring 0191 478 5100 or contact us here to book a callback from one of the team, or contact us here