Money and Furlough

Tara Gillespie

Every day I am asked, “what do you think is going to happen with [insert corona virus related thing here]”. This ranges from the economy, a specific industry, the government’s interventions or whether Sam Smith will ever be the same again. Ok, I’m kidding on that last one, no one cares about Sam Smith’s mini meltdown over being isolated in his mansion.. My heart bleeds.. 

With all these questions flying around, the only thing I can say with any confidence is I DON’T KNOW! So instead of debating the ins and outs of hypothetical scenarios, I have decided to make a promise to myself. That is I promise not to worry about the things I can’t control. 

If only it was that easy.. 

When it comes to money, there is a lot we should pop into the stuff-I-can’t-control bucket. But there is also a surprising amount that we can do! Yay! So, what is it?

1. Focus on what you can control

We have talked about this a lot on the Let’s Talk series. The first step is knowing what is going in and what is going out! Sounds simple but until you are clear on your spending (even those hidden subscriptions - see here for our ideas on a subscriptions cleanse) you can’t be truly honest with yourself about money. If you want a helping hand with this, check out our Money Map tool (note: it is basically a budgeting tool but budget is a yucky word that no one likes). 

Then be ruthless and make a value judgement. You might be really grateful for an extra few ££s in a couple of months, so what can you do without this month? Yes, you need food. But you probably don’t need Deliveroo every week, right? 

We had a great tip from someone in the community.. Work out how much you want to spend on the things that make you happy (indulgent food, shopping, wine) and pop that into a separate account. That is your “fun” account! Fill it up each month but know that once it’s gone it’s gone. 

2. Make a plan

Don’t forget the 5 Ps... Prior planning prevents poor performance 🙌

Would you ever run a marathon without a training plan🏃♀️? Would you ever start a diet without knowing what you can or can’t eat🍏? Would you ever start a business without a business plan📈?

We set ourselves big hairy audacious goals but we can’t expect to get there without a plan!


1. How much you have to spend on the things you need 🏠🚘💻
2. how much you can spend on the things you want today 🍷🎉🛍

3. how much you should set aside for the things you might want/need in future 🗝 📊

...And importantly, doing that without getting into unaffordable debt! 

It’s not about cutting out the fun. It’s about making sure you have enough money to do the things that really matter to you.

3. Don’t ask, don’t get

From landlords to gyms, there is a lot of flexibility on offer. If you are honest with them about your situation they may be willing, and able, to help.  If you need to, why not try? Banks are offering mortgage holidays and credit card repayment holidays for those who need them. If you do this, there are two really important things to remember! First, it isn’t a “free lunch” you will have to pay it back and the interest rate will still build up so only do it if you really need it. Second, these need to be arranged, you can’t just stop paying (even if it does mean having to sit in a virtual queue listening to sh!t hold music for half a day)! 

4. Don’t turn to credit

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Credit cards and payday loans are a slippery slope. Adding to your current money worries with the stress of paying back a loan before the enormous interest rate kicks in, is not going to help! A quick google showed me that £100 borrowed from a payday lender, and not paid back for 6 months, could end up costing you £200!! Don’t add more stress to an already difficult situation. There are other options!

5. Learn something new

I don’t mean take up a bourgeois hobbie like sourdough baking (ok I’m just jealous of the lack of steamy sourdough loaves in my life) or, in my own case, ukulele playing (don’t judge me). The world is going to be a different place when we get out of this and there are ways we can use the extra time we have now to upskill for this new world. What do I mean? Well some examples from our amazing community.

6. Do something everyday that makes you smile

Because everyone needs some joy in their lives. Once you have ignored the things you can’t control and taken control of the things you can, do something for you. Call a friend, eat some chocolate, dance, run, sing. Whatever you need to give you a moment of happiness and a smile.