Money Budgeting Guide During a Pandemic
A crisis like the global COVID-19 pandemic is something people can’t foresee. Because of this, not many people have enough money prepared for such a situation, so it became common to see Filipinos experiencing financial difficulties during this pandemic.
Data shows that around 10.9 million Filipinos lost their jobs and had lower incomes and working hours as a direct impact of the pandemic. In challenging times like this, you must get creative when budgeting and making money. This pandemic financial guide aims to help you utilize your resources wisely and effectively to ease the stress when managing your finances (and mental health).
Prioritize Your Bills and Living Expenses
The impact of the pandemic on your finances can be scary and stressful, but don’t let the situation overwhelm you. To get started, sit down with your money and assess the expenses you need to put first, among other things.
Rent or mortgage bill
During a pandemic, your highest priority should be keeping a roof above your head. Since going outside is the most dangerous thing for your and your family’s health, you need to be diligent in paying for your housing. Otherwise, it could result in bigger problems.
You can renegotiate payments with your landlord or lender to give you some time to readjust your finances and strategize. See what assistance is provided by your local government as well.
Next, after shelter, is food. Before using your limited resources for credit card bills or loan payments, make sure that you have enough money to feed your family.
If the budget is tight, plan your meals and list the things you need before grocery shopping. This way, you can stick to what you need, have your meals planned (which encourages you to avoid food delivery), and save money by opting for affordable meals instead of meals requiring pricey ingredients.
Stay up-to-date with your utility bills, including electricity, water, telephone, internet, and gas. Falling behind could lead to disconnection. If you’re working from home or have children doing distance learning, you’d want to stay on top of your electricity and internet bills.
Find ways to save to lower your bill. If you’re having trouble paying, talk to your utility providers if they offer any hardship assistance programs.
Credit card bill
Credit card balances can be put in the back burner if resources are short. This time of the pandemic, many bank companies allow borrowers to defer on their balances for the moment. Confirm with your credit card company if they offer such a relief program or if arrangements can be made. If not, the best option to avoid gathering hefty interest rates is to meet the minimum monthly payment requirements.
Lastly, any other type of loan that is not tied to your house or car can be set aside for the time being. This could be your personal loans and student loans. However, as soon as you have extra cash, allot that to debt repayment to avoid heavier penalty fees and long-term negative impact on your credit score.
Talk to your lender about your current financial reality because of the pandemic and see if they could extend deadlines and waive late fees.
Cut Down on Non-Essential Expenses
Now, it’s time to find where you can cut unnecessary costs and make every penny you spend valuable. Attain some sense of control back by eliminating non-essentials and keeping tabs on your spending.
Your online impulse purchase can quickly accumulate to a large sum if you let retail therapy take over. Refrain from giving in to your trivial wants, such as gadget upgrades, online movie or concert tickets, accessories or tools for your hobbies—these are some of the things you don’t have to hurry in purchasing or can live with if you missed it.
It’s better to delay gratification to seek financial freedom and slowly rise again after the pandemic.
It’s not safe to go outside, and even when you need to for groceries and other important errands, you still have old clothes to wear. Resist the temptation to give in to sales or discounts on clothes and footwear. You won’t even get to wear them immediately after buying, and you’ll forget that you had them. Clothing is not a priority; make way for more important expenses.
One of the recurring expenses you can cancel is your cable TV, especially if you’re already subscribed to a streaming service. If you’re often online, you can get your latest news from official news networks’ social media platforms. You can reserve your cable TV fund for more essential costs like groceries or debt payments.
Is it vital to have different TV and movie streaming services and music streaming services? Surely, you can live with just one of each, right? Check which streaming service you frequently use and cancel the others.
Likewise, get rid of your memberships and other subscriptions you had pre-pandemic if you haven’t done it yet. This can include gym membership, magazine subscriptions, and beauty or coffee subscription boxes.
You already have a budget for groceries, which means you shouldn’t have to order food for delivery. It’s okay to give in to cravings once in a while or when you’re too busy to prepare food, but don’t make it a habit. Think about the delivery charge it can amass over time—that amount could have gone to your water bill or groceries.
General Tips for Budgeting and Managing Money Better
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to better money management and budgeting, but there are several ways you can make your money work for you.
Try mental accounting
For easy budgeting, utilize “mental accounting” to categorize and separate your resources to prioritize your spending and cut costs on unnecessary expenses. For instance, you can set up different bank accounts or use envelopes for bills (i.e., housing and utilities), variable costs (i.e., groceries and other miscellaneous expenses), and future expenses (i.e., emergency fund and savings).
Take advantage of pawnshops if you’re low on cash
For extra cash needs, you can always try pawning your valuable items. This quick money solution can help you pay bills on time, put food on the table, and meet your other needs to make it through tough times.
PawnHero makes this easy with online pawning. Filipinos can get access to instant cash from the comfort of their home by pawning valuable assets with high appraisal value, such as designer bags, luxury watches, smartphones, and jewelry.
Set aside an emergency fund
Establish an emergency fund to cover your future and unexpected expenses, so you wouldn’t have to touch your savings and worry about not having enough for rainy days. The rule of thumb is saving six months’ worth of your expenses. In case of job loss or illness, you have a cushion to fall back on.
Take care of your health
Don’t think that you’re the only one struggling financially during this time. It’s important that you reach out to support groups or networks or seek assistance from financial advisors before you hit a wall. The pandemic is a difficult time for many; you are not alone.
Live within your means
To live within your means implies that your monthly spending is equal, or better yet, less than the amount of money you bring in every month. This means having enough to cover your expenses, with still extra left you can allocate for your savings or emergency fund. The key to doing this is to curb your spendings, such as coffee, clothes, and food.
Use a budgeting tool
See how much money you have, how you spend your money, what your budget looks like (and ensure you stick to it), and track everything that goes in and out of your wallet with the help of an online budgeting tool. Financial tools can help you gain more control over your money and monitor your finances conveniently.
Over to You
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, and taking a break to sit down with your finances may sound like a lot of work, especially when it’s a struggle to start with. However, a little effort, coupled with rearranging expenses and funds here and there, can make this difficult time less stressful.
If you’re looking for a trusted online pawnshop for your fast cash needs, Pawnhero provides outstanding service even during this time. Get a free estimate of the valued items you wish to pawn with Pawnhero today!