Practical Tips for Managing Finances during a Crisis or Difficult Time
I know that financial concerns and questions during the current pandemic are plentiful. Having been through a few difficult times financially myself in the past (when I lost a job, when a business failed, only being able to work part time for health reasons for 2+ years…) I wanted to share some practical tips for managing your finances, saving money and how to survive financially during a crisis or difficult time.
Tips for those who may have financial concerns over the coming weeks or months during the pandemic:
– First, try to stay calm and in a good mindset & take care of your mental health. This is the main thing because everything else can be resolved, rebuilt and paid back later. Fear, anxiety and frustration detracts money and shrinks your ability to receive abundance. Ground yourself in gratitude, look for the blessings and trust that things will work out (because they will).
– Many States are imposing moratoriums and laws that prevent people from being evicted and services being shut off in the case on non-payment during the crisis so hopefully your State will offer that and you don’t have to worry about losing your home
– The Government is working on passing laws that improve & get unemployment pay to people faster. There is also talk of sending relief money to all legal citizens soon so help may be on the way even if it’s small, it’s something!
– Many utilities companies and service providers have announced they will not be cutting off service for non-payment. Check with your providers for their policies. Hopefully this will relieve some stress and help you decide which bills you have to pay.
Focus on the necessities
– Focus on your most important bills and necessities for right now like food, medicines, medical care and expenses that can’t be deferred or delayed or don’t have a grace period for past due payments.
Other things can wait. Things that have a grace period or services that won’t be cut off can wait.
I know this might be hard especially if you have kids, but get them excited and involved in all the free activities and entertainment available. Have conversations and let them know as a family everyone is doing their part to make the best of things and not buying toys or unnecessary items right now is part of that.
Consider ways you can make money online or bring in extra cash:
– If you have an online business or can take your business online, do that! More and more people will be online and still be shopping and needing items and services. Utilize the tools available and free training resources and social media to market and grow your business online.
– If you have had a business idea you’ve always wanted to pursue, start working on it and learning and creating a brand online. Even if you aren’t able to make $ from it right away, you’ll have yourself and your audience ready to go when this is all over in a few months.
– Clean out your closets & list items for sale online, on eBay, FB local marketplace. You may also be able to do item swaps and barter items for other products from others.
– If you have an extra car you won’t be using or don’t need, consider selling it to get some extra cash or lower your monthly expenses
– If you know you’ll be getting money back from your taxes, go ahead and file so you can get your refund faster.
Strategies to reduce financial burdens & manage your finances
– If you need to use credit cards, use them. Remember this is only temporary. You can get through this and pay back any loans or past due bills later. (I’m normally not one to advocate going into debt as I was in debt for many years, but sometimes you have to look at debt as a means to a loan and a blessing to help you through difficult times.)
– Check to see if any monthly services you use offer a discounted annual option (I did this with 1 service and saved 60%, another I saved 40%!) if you can pay it now will save you in the long term & reduce your monthly bills for the coming months
– Check to see if you can defer payments on any of your loans – many will allow you to defer 1 or 2 months (will extend your loan terms) so you can essentially skip paying a couple months with no penalities
– Check on refinancing options. There may be some good refinancing options available soon since the Feds dropped their lending interest rate. You may be able to lower home and auto loans interest or monthly payments.
– Figure out how much cash / liquid money you actually need each month, the bills you can only pay by cash (mortgage / rent, car payment, utilities, student loans, etc…) This is the $ amount you need to focus on making or budgeting for the next few months. While it may not be ideal, if you need to pay other bills by credit card, then do that so your cash is available for things you can’t use credit cards for.
– Saving $ on Credit Card Payments: Transfer credit card balances to lower or zero interest offers on cards to cut down your interest & total balance. See if you can get the monthly payment lowered. Only pay the minimum payment due for right now.
– Don’t be ashamed to use local food banks, pantries, let your kids get food from the schools that are still offering meals for those under 18. This is not a time for pride when you or family may not be able to afford food.
– Reach out and accept help from neighbors, family or friends or agencies that offer support. There are many people offering to help with picking up items, making sure you & your family are fed, providing services and support during this time.
– Help & encourage others if you can – whether that’s financially or emotionally – it will all come back to you as abundance and together is how we will all get through this!
Printable Annual Spending Plan Worksheets
If you need help creating a monthly spending plan or budget for your personal or business finances, check out this post with my tips and printable spending plan worksheets.
Again, remember all of this is temporary, your & your families health is most important. You will get through this and rebound soon!
Wishing you health, safety and abundance through all of this!