Is Your Budget Prepared to weather the Coronavirus Outbreak? As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, social distancing and isolation measures are becoming more widespread. Under these conditions, it can be easy to lose track of the day-to-day aspects of life. But it’s important to have a plan in place and to try to maintain a routine whenever possible.
As fears over the coronavirus continue to rise, many are focused on purchasing as much as they can. Less attention is being paid to the impact this kind of reactive spending will have on your budget. During more hectic times like these, it’s easy to overlook your budget. But now is a crucial time to examine your finances.
Don’t let fear drive you
The idea of running out of food or supplies can be scary but try to keep a few things in mind:
Stores are still getting restocked on a regular basis, there are no shortages of food and goods. Most stores will stay open and you can supplement as needed
Overbuying, and “stocking up” are not only unnecessary, they can also cause problems for individuals on limited budgets.
Make a shopping list, stick to it. Buy only what you need, try to avoid buying things simply because they are “there”.
Build an emergency budget
Start with the most important expenses. Keep in mind that due to self isolation, many of your expenses will be less or different than before the crisis hit.
Expenses that will likely be significantly less than before include:
entertainment, recreation, daycare, eating out, fuel, transport and personal expenses.
Any that come with monthly dues such as:
the parking lot near work
Contact those companies and ask them to put your monthly fees on hold. Save on groceries by cleaning out your fridge, freezer and pantry before shopping for more.
Include all your family members in the discussion about how to reduce costs. You and your kids may not appreciate how much your household is spending on buying in-app items. Downloading games, music or pay-per-view movies, or shopping online.
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Help from the Government and Regulators
Stay up-to-date on what help is being offered from government and financial institutions and whether it applies to you.
Contact your creditors
Debt payments will be an important part of your emergency budget. If you can contact your creditors before you start to get behind. They will be in a better position to be able to help you.
Using your credit cards to stockpile an excessive amount of supplies or groceries will definitely not bode well. Creditors expect you to help yourself if you’re also asking them for help.
Whenever possible, reach out to all your creditors before you miss any payments. This includes credit cards, car loans, mortgages, lines of credit, etc. By making them aware of your situation, they may also be able to offer revised payment options during this time.
Protect your mental and physical well-being
When it feels like the world is spinning out of control, stop yourself. Focus on what you can control and what you can do, rather than on what you can’t control or what isn’t possible to do right now. Spend time preparing healthy food and getting exercise. Avoid excess alcohol, sugary food and drinks, and a steady stream of caffeine because they can cause agitation.
Don’t sit on the coach and binge watch Netflix series. Use this time to skill up, to learn, to start new things. Read a book, take an online course. Despite what is happening we cannot give up on our goals. If you haven’t taken action on goals that you set in January, I have one piece of advice: START. Action is ALWAYS more powerful than inaction.
When it comes to surviving a financial crisis, there is no shame in asking for help. Leaning on those you trust, and helping others as best you can. And the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a bigger crisis than most of the world has dealt with in a very long time. We are all in this together. Individuals, families, communities, businesses big and small, and all levels of the health-care system and government. Sticking together and helping each other out is the only way we’ll overcome it successfully.