What we are experiencing is unprecedented. No-one knows where we are headed or what sort of world we will emerge into. But what we do know is that this will end at some point and we will emerge.
As we adjust to this new situation, we should make sure we aren’t putting our goals and dreams on pause. This is the perfect time to commit to a new daily routine that prioritizes what you want in life.
Now more than ever setting financial goals is an important step in getting us through this time. If there has ever been a time where we need to be awake and conscious about the consequence of our decisions – it’s now.
What are some of the steps you can take right now?
Pay off short-term debt
If you are able to save money anywhere during the lockdown, use it to repay expensive short-term deb. Such as a credit card or store accounts.
You may save money on transport costs. If you’re in the habit of dining out and spending on fast foods, you’ll save with restaurants and takeaways being closed for the present 21-day period.
Some gyms allow you to freeze or suspend your membership. Virgin Active charges you a non-refundable freeze fee to suspend your membership. This might be worth it if the whole family belongs to the gym and the fees are steep.
Use these savings to pay off short-term debt. Or start or replenish your emergency fund.
Get totally clear on exactly what you owe
This means who you owe, how much you owe and the interest you are being charged. DO NOT TAKE ON MORE DEBT.
South Africa’s major banks have introduced various measures to assist consumers who are impacted financially by the coronavirus disaster and the 21-day lockdown intended to curb its spread.
Most of the assistance comes in the form of three-month debt holidays on loans. Ranging from mortgages to credit card balances. Some consumers will automatically receive these payment holidays. While others have to apply to their banks.
For full details read: All the help South African banks are offering consumers due to Covid-19
Have regular budget meetings
For many money is tight right now. Budget meetings with your spouse and family are a great way to get your budget on the right track. A budget meeting means that you look over your spending and savings. Do this on a regular basis so you can make changes as needed.
You shouldn’t discount this idea completely if you’re single. You should still have regular money check-ins with yourself. Ensure that you are sticking to your budget and working toward your financial goals.
While budget meetings may seem like a lot more work, they’ll pay off in the long run. Remember, it’s important that you are aware of where your money is going. How much you have left each month, and how well you are sticking to your budget.
Remember your Priorities
It is important that you cover your basic needs before you pay your bills. This means that you should continue to pay your basic needs: housing, food, healthcare, and utilities. Only after all these are paid do you begin to pay your bills.
You should also think about the difference between necessities and luxuries. If it is a luxury, then you need to skip it for the rest of the month. You may also consider cutting back on items that you would normally consider a necessity.
There will be a significant increase in unemployment during this time. And significant, rapid and radical changes in how we work, earn and add value.
Irrespective of how we earn – or used to earn money – each of our jobs now is to stay centred, to focus on creativity. How we can creatively use the resources and means available to us to create value and contribute.
We must be as optimistic as we can be and at the same time being as realistic as we must be with what we know to be true.
We must approach every day, every hour, every moment with a pragmatism and flexibility to respond quickly to the very quickly changing landscape of the world as we knew it and ensure we are not putting our heads in the sand
It’s going to take time for people to adjust.
People are in various stages of denial, grief, anger, fear, transition. It’s going to take time for people to move into this new way of being and we don’t yet know what that even is.
We must choose to be the beacons of hope and light and leadership for our families, our communities. And at the same time take the steps necessary in order to succeed and thrive.