We’ve all experienced hard times. Maybe a job loss, unexpected medical expenses or just struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hard times challenge our personal finances and this increases stress and anxiety. We’ve shared tips on financial planning before. But even the best laid financial plans can go awry. Here are ten tips for managing your money during hard times.
Before hard times hit, maybe you were saving for your dream wedding or maybe you bought imported, organic fruits from your local specialty store. We’re not trying to say that you will never have that glamorous walk down the aisle or that you’ll be eating bread and cheese forever. But – for now – you will have to adjust your focus. Adapting to hard times will be much easier if you make a conscious decision to focus on your new priorities.
Even if you’re not going through hard times, tracking your spending will give you helpful and sometimes surprising information on your financial habits. However, when you need to reduce spending ASAP, using a budget tracker will help identify areas where you can save.
You might not have thought that the cup of coffee and bagel you buy every morning is expensive – but after tracking your spending, you see how costly this habit really is. Now you’ve got to make the sacrifice and cut it out. Until hard times are over, you’ve got to commit to making coffee and breakfast at home.
If you’ve already got a budget, step two may not apply to you. However, now that times are harder, you need to reconsider how much money you allot for certain activities.
Maybe you’ve adjusted your spending. But remember to consider larger annual expenses too. Don’t let the notification that your car insurance is due take you by surprise. If possible, try to save a little each month towards bigger bills. We know it’s a cliché, but every penny counts.
You may not be the only one going through hard times. Maybe you can carpool with the neighbours to save on gas. If you have older children living at home, maybe you can all contribute to the food bill.
Do you have a skill that you can monetize? Maybe you can find work as a freelance writer or a tutor. Or maybe you have some gently used clothes or household items that you can sell. You can even become a driver for a local ridesharing company.
This can be scary. No one wants to ask their landlord for a temporary reduction in rent. However, your landlord may surprise you by being kind and understanding. Don’t wait until the situation is absolutely dire to call your financial institution either – financial institutions have dealt with clients in challenging situations before and they may be able to make adjustments to your debt payments.
When times are hard you can be desperate to make money. Fraudsters know this – scams and phishing have increased during COVID-19 as unethical actors take advantage of vulnerable people. Check out this guide on how to avoid scams and always research any organization before sharing any sensitive information with them.
Hard times are mentally and emotionally draining. In the past, you could spend money without having to worry about where every cent went. We know that it can be exhausting to live by holding the purse strings so tightly. However, remember that this is an investment in your future self. By making the hard decisions now, you are making your future brighter. You will come out of this better and mentally stronger! But for now, you need to focus on managing your money.