It’s helpful to have a family budget even in the best of circumstances. With a budget, you can save for unplanned expenses, work towards financial goals, write down, and track your spending. If you’re already working within a budget, that’s great. Just keep in mind that your budget should be a fluid thing. When your income or expenses change, for example, it’s a good time to revisit your budget. The same is true in times of crisis.
If your family is like many the Covid-19 epidemic has impacted your finances in some way. If not, there will likely be some event in the future that will. In any case, it’s always a good idea to rewrite your budget in times of crisis. This will help you get your family through these difficult times, and maintain a sense of normalcy. Keep reading for some tips to do just that.
Don’t Panic: Gather Information
Whenever there’s a crisis, the amount of information available can be overwhelming. It’s important to understand what’s going on and to discern fact from rumor. Take some time to find reliable sources, and gather information to answer the following questions:
- How long is the crisis predicted to last?
- In what ways will it impact my income?
- Will our daily lives be changed?
- Can I expect extra expenses? What will they be and how much?
- What will be the emotional impacts and sources of frustration?
The more you know about the crisis, the better you can plan your way through it.
Tackling The Issue of Income
Whether you already have a budget or are creating one you’ll first have to determine how your income is going to look during the crisis. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has caused many families to lose income, close businesses, or rely on unemployment insurance.
If your income is impacted by this or any other crisis, you’ll need to determine what your new income will be. Next, determine what the deficit between your regular income and crisis income is.
If your income deficit is significant, you might consider some ways that you can increase your income. For example, some people have begun driving for food and grocery delivery services. There are other options as well! You can take surveys for money, or try your hand at freelance writing. If you opt for the latter, we recommend using some great editing and content writing and editing tools including TrustMyPaper,ClassyEssay, Supreme Dissertations,TopEssayWriting, and Canva.
Have you been furloughed or laid off? You could use this time to create a new income stream by starting your own business.
Will Your Expenses Change During The Crisis?
You may find that the crisis changes how you spend your money. Consider how the following expenses might be impacted:
- Grocery Shopping
- Entertainment and electronics
- Dining in or carry-out
- Travel expenses
- Medical expenses, insurance, and pharmacy
- Home and car repairs
For example, many families are spending less on gasoline and dining out during the Coronavirus outbreak. On the other hand, they’re spending more to maintain health insurance during times of unemployment or paying a premium for grocery delivery. Families with children are likely to spend more on things to keep kids entertained while sheltering in place.
Any changes in your expenses need to be considered along with income changes to determine how your revised budget will look.
Plan to Keep up With Your Debts
Most families have at least some debt that must be paid on a regular basis. Ideally, the crisis won’t impact your ability to pay. If it does, work on creating a budget that allows you to at least cover minimum payments on time. This will help you maintain your good credit.
If you aren’t able to do that, it’s best to contact creditors ahead of time. You may be able to make arrangements.
You may find that it helps to keep track of payment due dates using a calendar or budgeting app. Jeffrey Mitchell, a technology writer for GrabMyEssay and BestEssayEducation, prefers to keep things simple. He says, “I’m a big fan of using Google calendar and its reminder features. It’s easy to use, and I can set payment reminders by speaking directly into my smartphone.”
Identify Opportunities to Save
As long as you’re revisiting your household budget, you may as well look for new opportunities to save money. This is the perfect time to get creative and to reconsider how and where you spend your cash. Get the family in on the action, and brainstorm some money-saving ideas. Here are a few things to help you get started:
- Making food at home instead of going out to eat.
- Finding free apps for kids’ entertainment.
- Using parks and other public areas for outings.
- Downloading eBooks and videos from your local library instead of purchasing them.
- Ask your insurance carrier for a discount if you won’t be driving as often.
- Cancel subscriptions that you don’t use.
- Clip coupons or join rewards programs.
- Plan meals and make shopping lists.
Finally, track your expenses. One of the best ways to identify where you can save money is to know where you are spending it in the first place.
Final Thoughts: Use The Right Tools
Now you’re ready to take everything you’ve learned and put it to use. Many families find they are best able to stick with a budget if they have the right tools. Consider an app like You Need a Budget (YNAB) that will help you make your planned budget a reality. When you have your personal finances under control everything else will fall into place.