The COVID-19 pandemic has altered plans for most of us. Whether it’s travel plans, work, sports, family gatherings, weddings, or other milestones — all of our plans have changed significantly in 2020 and are likely to face further changes.
The same extends to your finances — in the initial wave of COVID-19, all plans were put on hold while we navigated the pandemic and grappled with the impact on our jobs, income, and families.
As you prepare for the “new normal” life, you have to be ready to deal with upcoming payment dues for your loans, bills, and utilities.
Prepare for the road ahead with these smart tips:
The Gift of Prioritization.
Learning how to best prioritize your bills during these times, can help alleviate some of those stresses.
A. Highest Priority: Housing
For most households, housing is the largest and most important expense, since you need a safe place to live. Your rent or mortgage payment can eat up a significant portion of your income. Therefore housing and related bills should be at the top of your list.
B. Medium Priority: Utility payments
If you’ve paid your rent or mortgage and ensured you have shelter, the next thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’re staying up to date with your utility bills, falling behind on your utility bills puts you at risk of accruing fees.
These tips will help you save some money on your bills:
Buy energy-efficient water and electric appliances. Ask for an energy audit from your utility provider. This service is often free and can identify other ways to save.
Instead of having individual cell phone plans for everyone in your household, combine your accounts. Many providers offer discounts when you have more than one line and you can share your data and minutes.
C. Lower Priority everything else:
There are numerous other types of debt that experts say can likely be put on the back burner for now, or at least negotiated. That would include debts like back taxes, medical bills, etc.
Rethink your subscriptions
Got too many streaming services? There are lots of free ones with rotating catalogs.
You can check out an actual library—they still exist both physically and online. With a library card, you can often access an enormous library of eBooks, movies, music, magazines, and a whole lot more.
Also, you don’t need subscriptions to all streaming services if you spend more time on one than another. You can share streaming services with your friends whom you trust, instead of subscribing to them all by yourself. Sharing accounts helps you save money.
Having a plan for your money – Start budgeting
If you don’t have a monthly budget you won’t know where your money went!
Having a budget doesn’t mean that you have to live poor. Having a budget means you’re in control and you know where exactly your money goes.
Having a budget will help you know when to pay what bills, and the payments that need to be made.
For first-time budgeters getting started, try using budgeting apps, digital tools can help you create better spending habits by allowing you to assign a monthly budget to different financial goals.
Kick those Bad Habits
Start tracking how much you’re actually spending on your daily or weekly habits.
You can use the tracking applications to make this super easy!
Here are some examples of bad money-sucking habits. Think about which ones apply to you.
Buying instant or ready-to-make meals.
Start tracking the cost and you’ll find the motivation you need to cut back or stop completely.
The ‘24 Hour Rule’ for wiser decision making
What is the 24-hour rule? It is the conscious decision to wait 24 hours before making any important decisions.
Make a list: Having a shopping list with you helps you save money, and stay more mindful of your choices to achieve your goals. Stay organized with a shopping list to avoid buying items you don't really need.
Research before you shop: Do some research, compare prices, brands, and pick the quality one. Remember that when you have more information on the table you can make better decisions.
It will save you hundreds of dollars, helps you avoid unnecessary spending, and keeps your budget on track.
Millionaires swear by the 24-hour rule. Impulsive buys happen from an emotional trigger and are often unnecessary. Ask yourself the “want or need” question and you won’t splurge as much.
Your journey starts with just taking the first step. Once you decide you want to take control of your finances, you can keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel of your spending and savings.
These little tricks will help you save without even noticing you’re saving!
Now it’s your turn: What bad and good spending habits do you have? Are you trying to work on them? Comment down below!