With coronavirus disrupting our daily lives, many people are worried about the effects on their budgets. Some people are naturally good at saving money, while for others money is something that is spent the moment it reaches their hands.
These are scary times, but you do have some control. Taking some practical steps to manage your money can give you a better handle on your finances right now. This way, you can provide yourself with more flexibility to prioritize saving. The steps below can help make it easier.
1. Don’t make rash decisions
Don’t automatically spend new income or immediately self-indulge when you earn. Instead, think it through properly before you spend it. Most people are stuck in the rat race because they spend as soon as they earn.
Before spending, consider if your next paycheck is guaranteed and think of possible ways to stretch what you currently have. Try saving that new money that’s coming in or at least part of it. This is a personal finance tip that can help you in your lifetime and not just in this time of crisis.
2. Get on a crisis budget
Keeping a budget and tracking expenses can help you maintain better control and give you peace of mind. If you are constantly over-budget or spending more money than you want, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Not making rash decisions is the first step, and the next step is to look for opportunities to save money with the help of a crisis budget. Focusing on a crisis budget right now can help you feel more in control of your finances amid uncertainty.
3. Spend on necessities
Your nonessential and discretionary spending should be cut in the event things get worse. Whether your job has been affected or not, look at all your bills and identify which ones are critical and those that you may not need to pay immediately.
Try to understand the difference between a want and a need and cut down on your “wants”. Prioritize your financial needs and expenses if you wish to save money.
4. Stock up smarter
When stocking up, think long-term and do an inventory of what’s right under your nose before you decide to buy more. Everyone feels the need to stock up on supplies right now.
To prevent waste, center your shopping list on affordable, shelf-stable foods like rice, beans, and pasta, that won’t spoil in case the lockdown is extended and you’re stuck at home for a longer period. Also, shop for fresh foods that freeze well.
5. Shop for lower prices
Far too many purchases are impulse decisions. Before you buy anything, think about how it will affect your finances. Find creative ways to get more for less when you plan to spend.
Note the prices of several alternatives at one or more stores and be on the lookout for price gouging. Take advantage of a discount for an item you need or decided to buy. Find products within your budget that will last the longest and meet your needs best.