CAP Column – January 2021

Start the year with HOPE

At Christians Against Poverty (CAP), we help people who are struggling with problem debt and, no matter how challenging their situation may be, we know there’s always hope. We firmly believe this because we’ve met thousands of people who felt their money problems were hopeless. Now debt free, they’ve seen a genuine difference, had their hope restored, and feel more positive after getting help from CAP.

Hope signals the beginning of change so, with this in mind, let’s look at some of the positive changes we can make as we step into 2021 with HOPE.

Health

How can you make getting healthy easy and achievable?

There are some great resources and tools out there to help with improving health and wellbeing. See nhs.uk/live-well/ for a range of ideas aimed at adults or nhs.uk/change4life for great tips for families.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve, break down your ultimate goal into a daily habit for success. For instance, if you dream of getting fit enough to run a marathon, then starting a daily habit of running for just ten minutes a day will get you closer to your ultimate goal.

Willpower alone can only achieve so much. As well as creating achievable goals, having support from a community will make the most difference. Look for support groups in your area, or ask a friend to keep you accountable.

Opportunity

Could this be the year you seek out new career opportunities?

Perhaps the pandemic has left you out of work, or you feel it’s time for a career change in 2021. There’s a lot of support out there to help with getting the qualifications, skills or training you may need. This includes free college courses to boost your qualifications and skills. Most courses under the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee are available from April. In the meantime, have a look at what’s on offer through your local further education college.

If you’re not sure what skills you already have, or what you need for the types of jobs available, get advice. Your local CAP Job Club can help you identify and maximise your skills, and help to pinpoint any gaps, so that you can take steps towards a new career to increase your income. Retraining as an adult may seem like a challenge but remember that lots of people are in the same boat and you will not be alone.

People

How can you build deep and lasting friendships with others?

After many months of social distancing, your connections with other people may have felt different from what you’re used to. Maybe you’ve lost your job and work friendships along with it. Or maybe you’ve built new connections with the neighbours on your street through helping each other out with shopping deliveries.

Professor Dunbar at Oxford University has reported that it’s vital to keep in regular contact to maintain friendship. He advises that so long as we can stay in contact online then our closer, more valued friendships should still survive.  

Staying connected with others, even if through a screen, has helped many people realise that they’re not as alone or isolated as they may feel. So send that text, send that email or make that call to stay in touch.

 

Emergency funds

Is it time to start building up savings for a rainy day?

You’re probably familiar with the saying ‘saving for a rainy day’, and this is something we’re passionate about at CAP. Even just a few pounds a month soon builds up to create a buffer for unexpected events.

Remember, saving isn’t just about putting money away. It can also mean paying less for particular products or services. Take some time to look at what you can realistically cut out completely – for example, are you still paying Direct Debits for services that you no longer use?

Next, think about where you could cut back, such as limiting yourself to a treat night once a month instead of weekly. Could you reduce a multi-screen Netflix subscription to the cheaper single-screen option?

Finally, consider where you can cut costs. We all know about trying to get reduced prices for energy and mobile phones, but have a look at the other services you use. Taking the time to seek out better deals can be time well spent and money well saved. For more top money saving tips, visit moneysavingexpert.com.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity which, through local churches, delivers debt counselling, money management, job clubs, life skills groups, and support for people breaking habitual dependencies. 

Visit capuk.org to find out more.

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Roger Simms

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Posted in News on January 4, 2021. Tags: