Managing Your Money During Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has not only affected public health: it crippled economic growth big time. News of business closures and layoffs flooded social media timelines and caused a major shake-up in the financial security of many families. With the number of cases still going up in the country, a lot of people fear that the instability may carry on indefinitely.
Perhaps you yourself are facing a tighter budget now with reduced income or revenue from your venture. This is a time of tightening belts and bracing for weeks or months of it.
Take these steps to manage your household budget in the time of crisis:
Take Stock of What You Have
Creating a budget starts with looking at the money coming in. The fact that there’s limited cash makes it all the more important to review assets closely.
Create a table outlining everything. In the first column, jot down all your income sources: job salary, business revenue, inheritance, precious metals, and the rest. In the second column, note the changes in each of the assets. Maybe your salary has been cut to 50%. Or perhaps you have been laid off completely. This should give you a glimpse of how much you should cut your spending. At the same time, it would offer insight into the government assistance programs you can maximize. The third column should outline that.
If you’ve been displaced from work, you can be eligible for the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). If you were laid off from your job completely, you can get the SSS Unemployment Benefit. If you closed down your small business, you can apply for the micro financing and special loan packages from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Rethink Spending on Essentials
The next step in typical budgeting is listing down expenses. When budgeting in the time of Covid, you should prioritize the essentials: mortgage or rent, utilities, food and grocery. Whatever cash you have left must be allocated for these basic necessities. But if you really want to keep money for possible emergencies in the future, revisit each of these expenses and discern how you can best settle them. Take note of the following:
Mortgage. Most financial institutions have already announced payment extensions. Pag-IBIG, for one, has issued a three-month moratorium on housing loans. Accomplish the application form posted on their website and submit it to the government agency’s email address. Banks have likewise provided grace periods for payments. They typically send a message confirming that you are eligible for the program. In the same manner, a rent freeze for residential tenants is implemented under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Utilities. Companies offering electrical, water, cable and internet services have announced payment extensions as well. If you do want to settle these charges though, you can pay through digital wallets and bank apps to avoid leaving your home.
Food and grocery. Save money on this by preparing a shopping list right before hitting the supermarket. You’re more likely to shop impulsively when you only have a broad idea of what to get. Also, consider using online grocery apps that have cash-back features. When preparing your list, make sure to check and re-check your pantry. You may have untouched canned goods and pasta that you won’t need to restock.
Make and Save Money
Believe it or not, there are ways to find additional income sources while in quarantine. Find freelance jobs, those that you can do online in your free time. Join social media groups and you’ll find some opportunities, from virtual assistance to resume writing to graphics design. If you have a knack for photography, filter through the images you took before and sell it on stock photo sites. Another option is to sell your preloved clothes and gadgets. Take a good picture, post them on social media, and use apps for courier services.
On saving money, the strategy is simple: don’t spend if it’s not for the necessities mentioned above. It’s pretty straightforward, but it would definitely not be easy. With more time now, for sure, it will be tough resisting looking at the dresses or gadgets on your favorite online store. Next thing you know, you’re already adding to cart and checking out. The key? Don’t loiter around online stores. Find more productive things to do to cope with the lockdown.
Until the Covid-19 pandemic goes away, you’ll have to manage your household budget with much more scrutiny and care. Tighten your belt for the next few weeks and months to avoid breaking the bank.