5 Life Admin things you should do now life is on pause.
When life feels like it is out of control, it is important to focus on the things you can control. One of those things is taking the opportunity to sort out your life admin while you have more time at home.
So here 5 things that we recommend you do over the coming weeks. It will help you keep on top of things, and you will feel calmer having everything in one place.
1) Move debt to 0%
Top of the list, is limit your outgoings, and credit card debt is a key one for many of us.
If you pay credit or store card interest, we recommend you move to an existing 0% credit card, from a reputable lender, ASAP. We anticipate that 0% finance will be few and far between as financial institutions tighten their belts, and acceptance criteria will get significantly more stringent.
You may find that the company you have your debt with is offering payment holidays, or waiving late payment charges already so arm yourself with that information first, and call your existing provider. If they are not budging, don't panic, there are still some deals available, allowing you to transfer your balance for up to 18 months free, so do some research and transfer your debt where it makes sense to. Most call centres are still up and running with operators working from home.
2) Review your Direct Debits
Next on the list, in the current circumstances, is to go through your direct debits. So much has been cancelled, closed or restricted, so it is likely we will be paying for services that we are unable to access at the moment. Contact gym, sports and clubs to pause memberships etc. and think about the subscription to BT Sports / Sky Sports that is redundant now that all the sporting events are cancelled. You could stop paying for it by contacting them directly, or switch your fee to a different product with plenty of movies.
Refunds on rail season tickets are also available.
We know it's a bit awkward to cancel next term's fees for your kids' dance and sports clubs, and whilst we are all about supporting local businesses, we also know that at times of crisis it is important to preserve cash. We recommend you think about each one, and make your own choice regards what you want to keep paying for… we just don’t want you unwittingly paying for services that you can’t use and don’t need right now.
3) Renew your Annual Travel Insurance
This may sound counter-intuitive given it is uncertain when travel restrictions are in place across the globe, but hear us out. While we usually recommend you shop around for the best deal in any insurance when your policy is up for renewal, in the current environment, our advice is to renew your existing annual travel insurance policy so that you are covered for any trips you have booked, however far in the future.
The travel insurance industry is already one of the hardest hit by the necessary restrictions in movement, so new policies are likely to be expensive and hard to come by.
4) Declutter your home to declutter your mind
Your house is likely going to start to feel smaller when you’re all in it all of the time, so use the time at home to declutter, tidy and make it a cleaner space. It will help you relax and feel calm.
When it comes to spring cleaning your paperwork, remember that you can scan documents and upload them into Lifefyle, or simply snap a photograph and share it to Lifefyle from your phone. Lifefyle uses AI to help you to classify everything into your bespoke folder structure, and will also mine the documents for dates that you can use to build your future To-Do list, however far in advance the actions are.
There is something extremely reassuring about knowing that you have captured passport renewal dates in 2023 or warranty end dates in 2025 that you will be reminded of when the time comes. It helps to reduce the mental load and helps to calm and clear the mind.
If you haven't already, you can download the Lifefyle app for free. Click here.
5) Know your rights and don't panic
The Government are making daily announcements that move the goal posts that we live between, and it's not always straightforward to understand what help is available, nor keep apace of the changes.
We will be writing more about what is likely to have the biggest impact on you, so do keep an eye on our blog and social media. We also recommend following Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, for accessible explanations about all personal financial matters.
Things will of course take time to come into effect, but the Government are, where possible, trying to just suspend the usual workings of the economy. Varying legislation is being brought in to protect you financially, and most of the new policies are being back-dated to 1st March 2020. From non-means tested 3 month mortgage payment holidays and a ban on rental tenant evictions, to paying up to 80% of the wages of people who are unable to work or would otherwise be laid off due to the impact of the pandemic, to wiping interest of debts, things are being put in place to protect you.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and those in your household, keep in touch with loved ones and those who are vulnerable. (If you have the Lifefyle app, then you can add family members to your account to help you stay connected on tasks and admin that needs sorting.)
Do you and don't compare your family's isolation with how others are managing it... and try to take this pause in the normal routine to set yourself up for making life easier when we eventually return to our daily lives.