In times of uncertainty – like a global pandemic – it’s perfectly normal to feel some unease. There are several factors that are out of our control right now, number one being job security. On the positive side, let’s review the things that you can control:
You may, unfortunately, have to adjust your pre-pandemic budget due to unforeseen circumstances like losing your job or a wage reduction, but you can still budget.
Essentially, a budget is simply a plan for where you will direct the money you regularly receive. You may be bringing in less money than you normally would, but you can still plan where you want that money to go.
If you don’t have a budget, there’s no time like the present to create one! The Government’s MoneySmart website has a simple-to-use, free online budget planner. You can access it here.
Reduce non-essential spending
We all have everyday expenses like a gym or golf membership, kids’ sporting fees or music lessons. You might go out for dinner once a week, perhaps have the occasional weekend away. These are all activities we’ve had no choice but to temporarily forgo which should mean there’s a chance some of us may be able to save some money.
The first step is to review your current subscriptions and direct debits. If any of these associated services are currently suspended, determine whether you are still paying for them and if you have the option to suspend them. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your fun! There are many free online fitness classes you can do at home in your living room and if you’re looking for entertainment there are also plenty of live streaming music, art and literature events occurring.
We’re also not suggesting you give up your Netflix account, but where you can, look to reduce your spending.
Don’t be tempted by unnecessary online shopping
Businesses of all sizes are struggling to keep their doors open. As a result, there’s a flood of tempting bargains up for grabs and, while we’re all at home on the couch, it can be tempting to indulge in some online retail therapy.
If you’re in a position to support a business by purchasing something that will be particularly useful for you then go for it. However, it’s also a time to be cautious with our spending, particularly when we’re in such a volatile position around the globe. Don’t make spur of the moment purchases. Reduce temptation by unsubscribing from email newsletters and if you can’t pay for it now, don’t buy it. Now is not the time to be using credit cards or Afterpay.
Don’t give up
It can be challenging to focus on the bigger picture at a time like this, but this situation won’t last forever. If you were planning a big life event like purchasing your first house, going on an overseas holiday or getting married, that can and will still happen. Yes, it may not be when you intended it to, but it’s important to not give up.
Take some time out every day to remember and visualise your goals. If you need any support along the way, we are here for you.
Brett Wadelton is a credit representative 398866 of BLSSA Pty Ltd ACN 117 651 760 (Australian Credit Licence 391237).
Disclaimer: This content is generic in nature and not to be used as independent financial advice; readers should seek independent legal advice in the instance they feel they require it.