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Ideas of what you can do to help yourself during the shutdown

 The first few days of not being employed, especially if you have been in the job for a long time, is very difficult. To maintain focus is important and set yourself daily lists of things to do. Try to avoid staying in bed or watching TV all day. Get up, eat breakfast and get online to begin your searches-keep a routine. Stay hydrated and keep in touch with your friends and family for support. This situation is not forever, and you are not the only one who is being affected. Keep an eye on the news and latest developments in order to know what you need to do next.

  1. Visit your nearest employment/Job Centre immediately. Register your details and ask what benefits you are entitled to, special measures are in place to ensure that access to payments is as quick as possible
  2. Speak to your local council, explain to them your situation and ask for a reduction in rates/council tax
  3. Contact all of your monthly subscriptions and explain to them your situation. Consider reducing your package, cancelling your package or even ask for a payment holiday. That Sky Sports subscription isn’t so useful at the moment!
  4. Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage provider. Explain to them that you are in the Hospitality sector and your business has closed. Ask to defer or reduce your rent/mortgage. Request for this not to impact your credit score if possible. It is expected that the government will be putting measures in place for those who rent today
  5. Have a look at any credit cards or debt you are paying off. Get in touch with your credit card provider or bank and explain the situation. Request to defer or reduce payments
  6. Now is the time to look at your outgoings by reviewing your bank statement. Are there any non-essential spends or recurring direct debits?
  7. Run a budget planner. Try this spreadsheet
  8. Is this the time to stop smoking, stop coffee shop spends and the other little perks that are non-essential?
  9. Have a clear-out. Sell your unwanted items on Ebay and Facebook marketplace. Have a look at your old CDs, DVDs, Mobile Phones, Books, etc
  10. Recycle your printer cartridges for cash
  11. Uniform tax rebate: If you wear a uniform at work, and have to wash, repair or replace it yourself, you may be able to claim hundreds in tax for up to five years of expenses
  12. Check your tax code using if it’s wrong, you could be due some money back!
  13. Sign up to some Survey Sites who pay you for your opinion:
  14. Check your home insurance. Does it cover you for a change in circumstance?
  15. Speak to your family, can they help with a short-term loan if needed?
  16. Look for temporary work in the local area, even if it’s just a few hours a day
  17. Time to shine…If you have a skill you have always wanted to use. Tell the world about it NOW. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to try and get some interest. Can you charge some money for what you do?
  18. Update your CV. Ask a consultant at Tonic to review it and comment on it. Make some improvements!

Food & Shopping

  1. Start cooking in batches and freezing. When doing your grocery shop, shop smart. Shopping online might seem preferable at the moment, but slots are few and far between so you may have to go into the supermarket. If you do, plan ahead and take a list
  2. When shopping online you often miss out on loads of instore bargains! Check out the oopsie aisles in your supermarket for products that are damaged or close to their best before date but are completely edible.
  3. Think about fruit and veg that won’t perish quickly; carrots, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, oranges, grapefruit last AGES. Avoid: spinach, aubergines, berries, bagged salad as they perish quickly. Consider buying bags of frozen veg
  4. Buy tins! A tin of corned beef can be bulked out with potatoes, baked beans and onions and will see you through a few meals.
  5. Portion up your milk and bread then freeze. Every day, take out what you need
  6. Batch cook soup, packing in loads of veg and freeze
  7. Visit your butcher and see how much a pound of mince costs. It’s often significantly cheaper than the supermarket and you would be helping out a small independent
  8. Consider (if you can) visiting fruit and veg markets and stalls if they are still operating, they could do with your support. Again, they are often cheaper, and they will appreciate your spend

We often don’t have time to visit the butcher, the greengrocer and the baker because our lives are so busy. If they are open and you are healthy, now is the time to give them your support and potentially save some pennies!

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