While our ancestors have braved pandemics before and we have also had our fair share of crises and dealing with them, I do not think the world has faced a disaster of this magnitude. The various ways we cope with the COVID-19 calamity are quite pragmatic, as this is the first time we are facing problems like this. There is no blanket, one-size-fits-all solution yet, so we try to manage the best we can. But then, there may be suggestions on how we can secure our survival that we can all try and apply. Thousands are losing their means of income with mass layoffs happening daily. Businesses have contracted, with some deciding to shut off permanently. We can try and extend a hand to everyone in need of help, but before we can do that, we need to look out for ourselves as well. After all, if we are not that strong ad secure financially, how can we help others?
Thus, with still months (and even years, according to some) to go before we adopt a “new normal”, let us assess ourselves and see whether we can be confident with our state of fiscal being. That way, we can ease mental stress, focus our energies on the more important things such as keeping physically healthy, and be our full selves so we can possibly have something to give other people. Here are some ways we can be assured of strong financial health during this COVID-19 crisis.
Try to scrap unnecessary expenses
As you may already be working from home for the past weeks, if not months, try to do an inventory of your expenses since the lockdown started. See which areas you can cut down and calculate how much you can save. Be detailed down to the last cent. Remember, you should already have been saving on gas and transportation costs since you haven’t been using your car anywhere. But then, you might already have been using your savings to buy something online or add to the grocery budget. Set aside these savings instead of funneling them on things you don’t necessarily need.
There are ways to boost your saving skills while you’re stuck at home, though, to get your finances looking a little healthier (even if only to blow everything you have on holidays, pub trips, and fast food the second this is all over).
Get reminded of how important an emergency fund is
Remember when you were encouraged to set aside a portion of your income so that you can have something “for a rainy day’? Well, that rainy day is the present, with people losing jobs and getting their salaries cut. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start as soon as possible. Three to six months of what you usually earn a month would be best practice for an emergency fund. And if you have this fund already, congratulations! Just make sure you don’t spend your emergency fund on frivolous and unnecessary things.
An emergency fund forms the basis of financial security in any household. Having one has become even more important in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. In case you haven’t created one yet, you have little time to lose. This emergency, like others, has come unannounced and has the potential to disrupt your finances.
Get your budget game on
As you continue to meticulously list your expenses, you need to plan your finances as well. Categorize your expenses according to your basics that include food, utilities, rent or mortgage, and wants such as snacks, alcohol, subscriptions, and delivery services. You may consider trimming down the items on your “wants” category, especially if you don’t have an emergency fund and you don’t have incoming income in the near future.
Budgeting is essential, particularly at this moment. For the last decade, many have struggled from month to month and we often don’t know the full scope of what is going in and out of our accounts every day.
Hustle a side gig
You may still have a job, you may be anxious about how secure your job is, or you might not have a job anymore, but this lockdown presents the bet time for you to join the gig economy. Side jobs and part-time work opportunities abound during these times since almost all businesses are operating from home as well. If you know how to bake, get those muffins from the oven to your bank account. Are you proficient in graphic design? Look into opportunities on social media and freelance websites. There’s no better time to monetize your skills and talents.
So, why not make the most of it and do something productive — like learning a new skill or taking on a new side hustle? Picking up a new side hustle can not only help you earn some extra dollars but also it could help drive away negativity to a certain extent during these troubled times. And, it always feels nice to do something productive, rather than sitting all day before the TV and mindlessly binge-watching whatever series you can get your hands on.
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