We reveal 11 steps to transform your finances in Covid lockdown


ONE of the positives of lockdown is extra time. 

This at least provides an opportunity to transform your finances.  

Our step-by-step guide helps you transform your finances

Hopefully it will leave you with more cash to enjoy yourself once restrictions are lifted. 

For many, money is a big worry. In fact, a third of Sun readers told us it’s a concern. 

In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a big surge in unemployment, with 1.72million now without a job.

That’s why today we are launching our new Consumer Crew series to help Fix Your Finances. 

Whether it’s getting out of debt or new ways to make and save money, we will help you. 

Next week, our expert Consumer Crew panel will be on hand to take all your questions via phone and email. 

Our aim is to make you richer in 2021 and, as always, fight your corner. 

Today, our step-by-step guide explains how to get back on track and give your finances makeover. 


It’s so easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore how much you owe – but this will only make things worse. 

Make a list of your outgoings. This includes your mortgage or rent, bills, student loans, credit cards or anything else you have. 

Write down all your monthly repayments, how much you owe in total and whether you’re repaying the minimum amount. 

You’ll also want to take note of your interest rates and when any special offers will end. 


Once you know what money is coming in and out, make a budget. 

“Completing a budget is often the most important step you can take if you are worried about your finances,” says Dennis Hussey, money advisor at National Debtline. 

“Seeing what you have coming in and going out, will show what you can afford to pay.

You can use online tools Citizens Advice’s budget calculator, or set up your own spreadsheet to keep track. 

You need to prioritise paying your debts that are the most important. 

Bills like your rent, mortgage or council tax are your priority, as if you fail to pay them you could be left homeless or end up in court.


Take a look at your bank statement and see if there are any payments or subscriptions that you no longer use or can cancel. 

Is there an insurance policy for a phone you no longer have? Or a dating website that you had no idea you were still paying for? 

We waste hundreds of pounds a year on average on subscriptions, according to data by Snoop.

It found that 59% of its users spend £61 a year on Amazon Prime, for example.  

There may be some subscriptions that you want to cancel but you can’t until they are up for renewal. Make a note in your diary to remind you. 


If you’re only paying the minimum amount on your credit card then you will end up paying much more in interest. 

This means it would take 26 years and four months to pay off a balance of £2,500 on 21% interest. In total you’d pay £3,804. 

Use Barclaycard’s repayment calculator to check how long it will take to repay your debt. 

If you moved your debt to a 0% balance transfer card you could clear your debt in 3 years and four months, paying £63 a month. 

You will have to factor in a fee – usually around 4% – but the costs will be much lower. 

Only those with top credit scores can get the best 0% transfer cards, so it may be better to consolidate your debts and take out a personal loan. 

You will need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay each month and what option gives you the lowest interest and total payment. 


If it all feels too much then you can get FREE independent advice on what to do next. 

“If you are unclear about what your next steps are, or unsure if you need additional help then that’s exactly sort of case that a debt advisors can help with”, says Andy Shaw from Stepchange. 

“Everything is confidential and if you use online tools it can be anonymous.” 

You can get free advice from a debt charity: 

  • Citizens Advice (0344 411 1444/www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
  • StepChange (0800 138 1111/ www.stepchange.org)
  • National Debtline (0808 808 4000/www.nationaldebtline.org)


If you’ve lost your job or been unable to work then there may be ways to get extra help. 

“If your income has been affected by coronavirus, you may be able to defer payments on your mortgage or other debts for up to six months”, says Dennis Hussey from National Debtline. 

Homeowners have until January 31 to request a mortgage holiday or up to six months. 

If you’ve already had a break from payments then lenders should still be sympathetic and should try and negotiate something that is affordable for you. 

Taking a mortgage holiday should be a last resort, as you will end up owing more money on your mortgage. 

It could also have a negative impact on your credit file. 

If you rent then you should talk to your landlord about how they can help you manage payments. 

Anyone struggling with payments for car finance, credit cards, personal loans or buy now, pay later bills can get help too. 

You have until March 31 2021 to request a payment holiday of up to six months. 

If you’re struggling with energy, water or any other bills then you should speak to your provider as they may be able to help you. 


Savings rates are paltry at the moment, especially from high street accounts. 

Many accounts pay less than 0.1% interest – but the top easy access savings account pays 0.55% 

On a sum of £10,000 that’s the difference of £90 over two years. 

If you’re keen to stash away your cash for a long time then you could get up to 1.25% in a 5 year fixed account. 

Compare the best savings accounts using savingschampion.co.uk or moneyfacts.co.uk. 


You need good credit to get a mortgage, credit card and even a mobile phone. Get a free credit report via experian.co.uk or clearscore.com. 

Take steps to improve this. This includes getting on the electoral register, always paying your bills on time and not applying for multiple credit accounts in a short space of time. 

Before you apply for a credit card use MoneySavingExpert’s eligibility checker, it will predict whether you will be accepted and it doesn’t damage your credit score. 

For more tips visit thesun.co.uk/credit-score. 


You should review all your bills every six months at least. 

For example, energy bill and you could save up to £497 a year by switching to a cheaper deal. 

Take a look at each bill and work out if you can switch now. 

Compare prices using websites like moneysupermarket.com and comparethemarket.com to find the best deals. 

If you’re happy with the company but don’t want to pay over the odds then you should try haggling. 

Many providers will be happy to lower your bills in exchange for not losing your custom. 


It’s easy to lose track of pensions if you move jobs or home. 

There’s an estimated 1.6million lost pension pots adding upto £19.4billion according to the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Use gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details to track yours down. 

Kevin Pratt from Forbes Advisor UK, said: “Think of your pension as pay that’s been pushed back until you retire. 

“It’s there to provide for those precious years after work. 

“So it makes sense to track down all your pension entitlements to max what you can live on. “It needn’t be a chore, and it’s likely well worth the effort.”

Book an appointment for free advice if you’re over 50 and have a personal or workplace pension. The free and impartial service is done over the phone or online. Visit pensionwise.gov.uk or call 0800 138 3944. 

You can pay for personalised advice from a financial adviser. Use unbiased.co.uk to find one. 


Use this time to help set the tone for the year ahead. Make a note in your diary about any big financial events, such as deadlines to file your tax return or when your energy deal ends. 

Try and set aside a few hours every month or two to review your finances again. 

If you keep on track and don’t let things pile up then it will be easier to manage. 

I like to use apps like MoneyDashboard and Wally to help track all my accounts, spending and save extra money.

For more advice and tips, sign up to the daily Sun Money newsletter.

In the meantime, we explain how to apply for a free laptop or tablet to help with home schooling.