From salary cuts to retrenchments, many of us have taken a knock as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while you may have saved a fortune on certain expenses, such as transport and outings, it’s important to be careful with your personal budget.
Here are some of our money-management tips to get you started:
Crunch your numbers
While some of your usual expenses, such as travelling and gym-membership fees, have taken a dive, you’re likely to be spending more on groceries, mobile data and Wi-Fi connectivity. Relook your budget by listing all your new expenses and savings, and shift money accordingly. Consider using spending-tracker apps such as Mint or Wally, which will make budgeting a breeze.
Prepare for emergencies
While you shouldn’t be panic buying groceries and hoarding non-perishables, it’s a good idea to set aside some money. Don’t dip into your emergency savings unless it’s necessary, and consider the following:
- If you have a fund: Try to work out how many months your fund will be able to sustain you should you have a financial emergency and add to it when possible.
- If you don’t have a fund and still have an income: Use your budget to check for extra savings and put this towards an emergency fund, if possible.
- If you don’t have a fund and aren’t earning an income: Try to earn an income (or extra income) by using remote freelance sites such as UpWork, Freelancer and No Sweat. You could also search for Facebook groups where jobs are posted, such as The Resource.
Become financially savvy
Beyond your grocery budget, numbers may seem daunting, but there are many excellent resources to teach you about finance. Some of the best options to polish up your financial knowledge include Udemy, EdX and Skillshare.
Many of these courses are free and are backed by reputable international institutions such as Harvard University and MIT. If online courses aren’t your thing, brush up with a podcast such as Personal Finance by Warren Ingram.
Make it a date
Schedule a financial date with your partner. As money is often a contentious issue, create a comfortable setting (perhaps over a cosy supper) and go through your financial documents.
These may include your latest bank statements, salary slips, loans, vehicle statements and credit card bills. Share your personal finance tips where possible, playing on your strengths. For instance, one of you may be a debt-buster while the other is a savings champion.
When essential-shopping rules were first put in place, going without your favourite treats may have been a nightmare, but you may have since found out there are many items you can live without.
These may include ready-made meals, flavoured water and packaged snacks, items which are likely to increase your grocery bill. Cut costs by leaving these items out of your trolley in future.