7 Life Hacks to Manage Your Finances Better During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought stress and fear upon people. Some are faced with job uncertainties and reduced income, while some have been completely laid off their jobs. Wise individuals have resorted to setting up an online business or taking part-time jobs to survive.
Because of the pandemic, it has been extra challenging for many people to manage and budget their finances. With utility bills piling up and going back to “regular programming” far from sight, it makes all the more necessary to up your money management skills.
There’s no concrete answer as to when this pandemic will end. It’s crucial to do everything you can now to anticipate financial setbacks and find a way around it. We’ve rounded up some simple yet practical life hacks to help you manage your finances during this trying time. Let’s dive into it!
1. Check for utility bills you can pay in installments.
The unpredictable event of a crisis like a pandemic can put millions of people out of work either temporarily or permanently. With this, bills are expected to pile up. Power distributors, network providers, banks, and creditors acknowledge this significant impact on their customers and may start offering extension periods, as well as staggered and flexible payment solutions.
Reach out to your bank and utilities to check if they offer installment payments. This can help you break your budget and expenses into manageable chunks. Many people are in the same situation, and these institutions will do the best they can to understand and support you. So, be proactive and work with them to help you find solutions and plan out your finances.
2. Adjust your budget.
We live in uncertain times, so you need to create a budget that will help you get through it. You should prepare some sort of safety net for when things go on longer than expected or get worse.
The first step you need to do when planning your new budget is to calculate how much money you have coming in monthly. Include anything you receive from your income, part-time work, and government subsidy. Then, establish the budget for your fixed expenses like utility bills, and modify the budget allotted for your grocery, debt, and others.
3. Prioritize monthly essentials.
One of the biggest things this pandemic has taught people is that they can always curb their cravings and hold off on purchasing luxury items. Chances are, this is the longest you’ve gone without getting your premium coffee kick every morning before heading to work.
This crisis has indubitably made people realize what is truly essential and what are the luxuries that they can let go, such as junk food supplies. Reassess your budget and prioritize your expenses according to the most important costs—utility bills, internet, credit cards, etc.
4. Refrain from panic buying.
The start of a pandemic is when it’s all chaotic, including when it comes to your purchases. You would think that you must stock up on food, medicines, and other essentials due to the lockdown. However, panic buying will only put a dent on your finances. Also, think about the other people who also need the items that you’re hoarding.
Essential supplies will carry on, so only purchase items that are absolutely important and essential. You can include a jar of Nutella or some snacks but refrain from buying too much. Also, avoid hoarding items like tissue paper and alcohol if you can use soap and water.
Related: Why You Should Also Sanitize Your Spending Habits During COVID-19
5. Save, even if it’s little.
Understandably, the budget is tight right now. But, whenever you have even just a little extra left after paying your necessities, put it away for savings instead of spending it on food delivery or other things. Don’t be pressured to set aside a lot; any amount left after your payables will do.
During these tough times, it’s crucial to have money saved for when you really need it. If you end up not using it as the pandemic blows over, then you now have enough money to either continue the savings or put all of it (or half) on your emergency fund.
Related: A Guide to the 52-Week Challenge to Save Up to P50,000
6. Check if you qualify for government programs.
See if there are government financial assistance programs that you can qualify for and help you through these trying times. Keep yourself up-to-date with the news and updates about subsidy programs to make sure you don’t miss out on this tremendous help, especially for those who have been strongly affected financial-wise by the pandemic.
7. Track your finances.
Monitoring your finances is a crucial part of budgeting, with or without a pandemic. You can use an app, create a spreadsheet, or use the good old pen and paper to create a system and help you stick to your budget.
Make sure to check your budget once or twice a month (every payday) to see how it’s working out for you and if you can move more money to your savings, emergency fund, or loan payments.
Survive Through This Difficult Time by Making Wise Financial Decisions
A global health crisis is a terrifying and stressful time. As if worrying about your own and your loved ones’ health isn’t enough, the pressure of bills, reduced incomes, job loss, and financial stress can make it even more overwhelming. That’s why sorting out your finances can help you better manage life during a pandemic.
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