There is a lot we cannot predict about the coming months. What is the economy going to be like? When will things go back to normal? Although we don’t have all the answers, we do have solutions for those finding themselves in a difficult financial situation. Here are some tried and true tips to help you navigate through this time.
A budget has always been a good place to start. Now, it’s more helpful than ever. If you’ve already been working on making and sticking to a budget, you’re likely in a better situation than many others. If you haven’t, start now. Prioritize what needs to be paid first, and estimate how much it will cost you, whether weekly or monthly or another time range is up to you. Eliminate nonessentials wherever you can. Top of the list should be what you need to survive – food, shelter, and utilities. Then come other expenses such as transportation, which might not be as necessary but can become very important at certain times. Lastly are the items that aren’t strictly essential, but might add to your quality of life, especially when you have to social distance. Maybe you still want to grab that coffee every day, or you’ll make it at home. You might want to add another streaming service so that your family has a greater variety of choices for movie nights, or perhaps you’ll be fine with the one you already have. These kinds of budget items can change with every individual.
Take advantage of refinancing programs for your house or car. If your credit is good and you’re going to have the same house or car for the foreseeable future, you could be saving money by refinancing your loans. Similarly, with insurance for your home, vehicle, health, and so on: make sure you’re neither overinsured nor underinsured. You want to be covered just enough at the best rate you can find. This can involve a lot of research, but is sure to be worth it in the end.
If you have any money left over from budgeting, put it into your savings. Many are dipping into their emergency funds these days, so you may feel like you should use it on backup supplies or put it toward other bills that could be waived instead. However, setting aside any extra money in your savings account is just as good a thing to do now as it has ever been. We don’t know what the future holds, and this way you will be more prepared.
These financial tips are advice for any rough patch, but are needed now more than ever. And during any time of stress, make sure to take care of your mind and body too. Exercise, eating healthy, and practicing mindful meditation can all keep you going through this unpredictable time so that you’re ready to embrace when the situation evens out again. Navigating through stormy seas isn’t something anyone wants to do, but if you build a sturdy ship, you’ll get back to shore safely.