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Honestly, this is the last thing I want to be writing.
This was not a planned blog post, but I feel compelled to write it to help you.
Currently, we are in a pandemic in 2020. As I write this, we are all at home. Schools have been shut down. Husband’s office requests all employees to work from home. Everything is being postponed.
My heart goes out to all of the medical field, first responders, and government officials for caring for our society, taking care of the sick, and doing what you believe is the best for us at the time. Thank you to all the retail employees for working crazy hours to keep shelves stocked (or to the best of your ability). My words cannot express my gratitude to you.
Regardless of how this situation happened, it has escalated. We are in crisis mode.
Crisis mode means we are in fight or flight mode. We are not thinking rationally or clearly. We are reacting in a survival mentality. That is why you ran out to the store to grab a few things like toilet paper. (Source)
So, what do we do next?
Everything that has happened will affect your schedule, time, and your wallet as well as the whole situation unfolds.
Let’s discuss these money management tips to keep you afloat during a crisis.
Bright Side to Financial Crisis
Okay, this relates to current global crisis happening in 2020.
When dealing with a personal financial crisis, it is harder to find bright spots in your current situation. We will address that in a future post.
If you know me personally, I always look for the bright spot in a dark place. To be that light to the outside world. So, that is why we begin with the bright side in today’s crisis.
For today, we are focusing on the current crisis in the spring of 2020. However, look back, these lessons will be long-lasting.
1. Less Spending
Due to social distancing, personal spending or what we like to call FUN lifestyle luxuries is going to come to a grinding halt.
Think of it as a forced no spend challenge.
This could be exactly what your budget and personal finances needed.
There are many benefits to spending less money. Plus it is one of the fastest ways to start your path towards financial freedom.
Side Note: While many people stockpiled essential items and groceries immediately, spending on those categories will be higher now, but should even out over time.
For example: you spent $1200 on groceries for March and only budget $600 per month. Next month, your grocery budget should be much lower due to the extra groceries stockpiled. This is one of my favorite reasons to have sinking funds.
2. Focused on What Matters Most
As I am writing, I am surrounded by my loved ones. While the adults are working, the kids are doing school work and online learning. Check out my review of coding for kids with Bitsbox.
This is the time I am going to focus on what matters most.
During this unknown time, you can evaluate the following:
- How you spend your time?
- The typical patterns or habits in your day.
- Do you focus on what matters on a daily basis?
- Reflect on your spending.
Utmost, what truly matters to you?
If there is anything, that can be learned in times of crisis is to draw closer to the things that matter most to you.
After this crisis is over, what steps can you take to continually focus on what matters the most?
This one has a double edge sword and for many companies they are still working on how to handle it.
Many events, activities, and travel have been cancelled to help the spread with social distancing. While this is what needs to be done to help our medical facilities deal with only the sickest patients and not increase the case load, it also means billions of dollars are not being spent in our economy. For many small businesses, the impact will be felt greatly. Even large businesses that are strapped for cash will have difficulties overcoming this.
So, if you had any buyer’s remorse on a purchase, here is your chance to get your money back with no questions asked.
If not, then you can support your favorite business in the future.
More than likely, you will start having refunds for events or activities that have been cancelled.
While this a bright spot for you financially, it will have a ripple effect; but, these companies will be able to bounce back and the economy will get back to normal once the crisis subsides.
Next time, you go out to eat double your tip to your server.
Money Management Tips to Help you Now
Right now, you need guidance. You feel trapped and unsure on your next move. I completely get it. You and the rest of the country feel the same way.
We are going to discuss money management tips to help you get through the crisis and specifically, not make the situation worse than it needs to be.
1. Don’t Make Rash Decisions
As we stated earlier, the flight and fight response is already in critical overload. As much as you are trying to compartmentalize it, there is a still an underlying unknown factor.
As a result, don’t make any quick decisions. Sleep on your decisions for at least 24 hours.
This is a personal finance tip that can help you save thousands of dollars over your lifetime – not just in this time of crisis.
If you are consistently over-budget or spending more money than you want, then you have a situation that needs to be addressed. It is time to learn how to stop spending money very easily and not making rash decisions is the first step.
This is where you have to prioritize your bills and your spending.
For many, money is going to be really, really tight given the market conditions and possible income fluctuations, which we will dive into more on that).
This may be the time you implement your bare bones budget. That bottom line minimum amount you need to get by.
Thankfully, with social distancing, many of your temptations won’t be happening. So, your budget will get a break.
Here are other ways to make extra money fast. Plus many of ideas are online anyway.
3. Cash on Hand
During times of unknown, you want to have cash on hand.
To be specific, we mean cash at your disposal in the event you needed to spend the money.
There are many ways you can have cash on hand:
- Cash (like physical dollar bills)
- Money in your checking account
- Online savings account
- Emergency fund
- Rainy day fund
You don’t need literally need cash in hand. You need to have cash available in case you need it.
Here is my personal example:
Because we had extra “cash” on hand, we were able to stockpile more groceries and essentials to keep us maintain a 2-4 weeks supply of good. The reason cash is “apostrophes” is simple. I didn’t physically shop with cash; there was money in the bank to cover our extra spending.
Let’s be be clear… you don’t need to run to the bank and withdraw hundreds of dollars. If everyone did that, then it would cause more panic and hysteria.
4. Income Fluctuations
For many of you, your income will probably fluctuate more than ever.
You may be stuck with little hours at your job. Possibly, you may be working overtime to help keep the economy flowing.
If you get sick, you could be out of work for 14 days and possible more. That could cause financial hardships if your company doesn’t have paid sick leave.
We will cover more money management tips to help with your income fluctuations. For now, just be aware, that your income may not be as consistent as it normally is. So, start to understand you may need to begin to live below your means.
Did you know about the types of income? It is one of the best ways to help stabilize you in a crisis.
5. Watch for Price Gouging
Unfortunately, this is a practice that is common in times like these.
When demand goes up and supply goes down, it puts a crunch on the remaining inventory available. Thus, the prices will continue to rise.
However, as a savvy money person, you can learn what is a good price for groceries and other essential. To make this easier, we have a free grocery stockpile list in our resource library.
Be on the lookout for price gouging. It will happen.
Side Note: Thrive Market (an online marketplace for groceries and other essentials) have announced and said they will not raise prices during this time of crisis and they have increased their inventory levels. Shop online now.
This is unlike Amazon where prices are known to constantly change.
6. Save Extra Money
This is the time to save money.
If you have never saved before, then jump on the bandwagon. You will be grateful you did.
By saving money, you are able to do things that you need to do and it will open up more opportunities. Given the complete unknown situation, it is best to save what money you can now.
If you don’t have a sufficient emergency fund established, you are probably kicking yourself for not making it a priority. Now, is a priority. Learn how much money you need for your emergency fund.
Resources to Save Money:
- Important to Know How to Save Money Each and Every Month
- Handpick the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge for You
- How to Save Money Fast – Save $1,000 in a Month
7. Know Your Rights & Check for Free Medical Care
Right now, policies are being put in place by your government. So, check often to see if any of the laws passed will help you financially.
First, learn your rights as an employee. Many cities and states are requiring businesses to provide a certain amount of paid sick time. Then, you may have to look at unemployment benefits as a last resort.
Because your employment rights vary by state, please take time to research and learn your rights for your area.
Also, I want to mention some of the business I have heard of that are providing full sick pay to their hourly employees in the event they become ill and need to be isolated. Kuddos to them – Mod Pizza, Garbzano’s, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, Uber, Apple, and Instacart (please comment with more businesses and I will update my list).
(hint: once this crisis is over, become a frequent patron for supporting their employees and our community in such an awesome way.)
In addition, regulations are being passed so everyone has health care coverage in regards to the current pandemic. Once again, this varies extensively from one area to another.
But, many states and local municipalities are offering free testing for the current pandemic sweeping the globe.
One of the hardest things to do if you are sick is to see if your medical insurance covers the treatment you need. But, it is crucial to know ahead of time and ask for preauthorization for diagnostic tests or treatment.
Know your rights.
Whenever there is a crisis, the scammers flock to “help.”
This makes me totally mad. My wrath towards scammers makes my blood boil given the number of hard-working folks doing their absolute best even if it means living paycheck to paycheck.
Watch out for scams. Period.
Just like with any personal finance opportunity… if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. When in doubt, ask a trusted friend to review the information with you.
Here is a constantly updated resources from the FDC on scams to watch out for.
9. Financial Impact on the Stock Market
This one feels like a punch to the stomach.
While the stock market has had some of worst days in history, panic and hysteria will only make it worse.
I am not providing any guidance on what to do in this type of situation. Instead I would order one of the best investing books and start to develop your own investment strategy.
There are many stop holds in place to make sure the market won’t crumble.
10. Don’t Panic
Lastly, don’t panic.
That is the last thing you want to do.
Take a deep breath, hold it for 10 seconds, and slowly release your air.
Just remember this is a highly dynamic and evolving situation. Take things hour by hour. Day by day.
One of my favorite sayings, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Will This Financial Crisis Make You or Break You?
If you could look back on today’s situation a year from now, what would you do differently? I know this seems very soon to consider, but it will shed light on how you react to situation and you can still modify behaviors to make changes now.
More often the not, the times we have the greatest learning and advancement come at the times when life is the hardest to navigate. Your experiences will shape you and your values.
Like in Mo Willems’ book, Because, what will be your because moment?
That because moment that caused your life to change directions.
Let’s not let this current crisis to control your life forever. You are probably as sick of the word as I am. Use these money management tips to be smart in a crisis and come out better in the end.
Our Public Service Announcement… Before we close, clean your phone and follow these hand-washing guidelines established by the CDC.
Stay healthy, use your time wisely, and keep learning more about managing money wisely.
Please share with friends and family.
Oh, and if y’all are forced under one roof… Here are the best parenting tips on how to work from home with kids.
Many of the top finance bloggers according to Feedspot have been posting the best ways to navigate 2020.