Covid-19 caught us all of guard. Social distancing, deep cleaning and restricted movement are just some of the immediate precautions we now practice.
During these ‘lock-down’ days, in addition to sticking rigidly to the HSE guidelines, why not use the time to take stock of your personal finances.
Following are some practical tips to help you examine your money and take action to ensure you are putting your money to work for you.
- Get your financial bearings. Even in the best of times, knowing your financial situation is the right thing to do. But today, it is more important than ever. If your household or the household of a friend, extended family member or some you know has experienced a loss of income, the most important thing to do right now is to establish the facts. You can keep this really simple; write down how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Finally, examine how much money you absolutely need to manage your household finances over the next 6 months. Do you have enough money saved? Will you need to make spending reductions? The reason this step is so important is because it will help you reduce any uncertainty about your bottom line. It will also remove uncertainty. From there, start to identify where spending adjustments need to be made.
- Claim back tax-relief – if you have paid for a range of medical expenses during the last 4 years, you may be entitled to tax relief on up to 20% of the cost. Many people living in Ireland do not reclaim what is rightfully theirs. You can reclaim through your myAccount on the Revenue website. Additionally, for those that may know someone that lost a job as a result of Covid-19, they may be due a refund of income tax paid. This is something that can be filed with Revenue and more information is available on the Revenue website (www.revenue.ie).
- Register for the drug payment scheme. Under the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) an individual or family will pay no more than €124 each calendar month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines and rental of certain medical equipment. If you don’t have a medical card and you pay more than €124 a month, you should apply. Applications can be submitted at the dedicated HSE website.
- Limit your banking fees with a credit union current account – if you are facing higher current account fees from your bank in the coming months, you really should consider the many benefits of opening a new current account with St. Joseph’s Irish Airports & Aviation Credit Union. To find out more, visit www.aviationcu.ie.
- Use up those gift certificates – while stores may be closed during Covid-19, it is a reminder of the importance of using gift certificates as quickly as possible.
Of course, it is anybody’s guess when our economy will begin to return to normal but look to use up certificates as quickly as you can, it will one step to getting our economy moving again.
Remember, it takes time to work through financial information. During the Covid-19 crisis, use the time you may have to get your personal finances on a firm footing. Knowing the detail of your financial situation provides clarity. This simple exercise can result in more money back in your pocket...and less financial stress.
In the meantime, please stay safe, practice social distancing and follow the advice of our medical professionals which you can access with confidence at www.hse.ie.