While we all actively take steps to take care of our health during this ongoing coronavirus, there is another aspect of our life that needs some amount of attention to ensure that we don’t get into trouble later. That particular aspect is our finances.
Coronavirus has disrupted how we ideally budget our lives. It is not the best of feelings when you are told that you can only wait while the world is submerged in uncertainty. So, how do you feel better about the money that you have and what do you do to feel more in control while everything falls under a blanket of uncertainty?
Understanding the Economy
The factor that mostly drives the economy in these situations is anxiety. When reports of the stock market tanking and businesses shutting down takes over the headlines, it is easy to really get scared about your finances as well. But, in this case, it is imperative that you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Your checking account will more or less remain unaffected by the market’s ups and downs.
The good news is that markets tend to get healthy over a period of time. So, things like your 401k retirement plans should be kept out of reach. But again this particular advice is also circumstantial and depending on how close you are to retirement you should have a conversation with a financial advisor might be your safest bet.
Manage Your Debt
As the interest rates are going down considerably, now might actually be a great time for you to manage the debts you have accumulated.
If you have raked up a high credit card debt, check to see if you will qualify for a credit card that has a lower interest rate( or a no-interest introductory situation) and see if you can transfer the balance from a higher interest card to a lower one. However, be careful as there is a fee that you might incur a fee for the transfer.
If you have a mortgage, refinancing at lower rates can reduce not only payments right now but also over the long term. Again, there are costs that are attached to refinancing which is why you should do your research before you decide.
Manage Your Student Loan
If student payments are one of the biggest strains on your budget then now would be the right time to refinance or defer payments for a while. Also, take into account the recent announcement of the possible loan interest waiver that has taken place and how that affects you. So, make a call to your loan servicing company to get the details of the options you can avail of to manage your student debt.
Become Smarter About Your Daily Budget
Whenever big changes are taking place in the world, it becomes important to ensure that some of those changes also reflect on your daily habits. Reigning in how much and where you spend is another aspect of managing your budget that will help you manage the stress of the unknown.
Be Smart About What You Stock Up
A common mistake is to horde perishables. There is a stark difference between stocking up and hoarding. So, even if you do have the money to clear out your corner Costco, it is advised you do not do that.
I also took the time this season to grow vegetables in my garden. With just a few plants of different vegetables always kept my kitchen stocked up with herbs and veggies. Gardening is not just just about saving money but its convenient and works like a mental exercise for me.
To reduce the amount of waste generated and expenditure on the grocery. Create a shopping list full of affordable, shelf-stable food that will not perish even when you are inside the house for a while. This includes things like rice, pasta, and canned goods. When it comes to fresh foods look for things like bread and cheese that freeze well. On the vegetable section, pick up produce like onions and carrots for longevity.
If you are building an emergency kit, fill it with things that you will need if you had a winter cough. This includes things like cold medicine and cough drops. If you are on a prescription, try and get your doctor to give you an extra supply so that you don’t have to go to the pharmacy again. Just remember to call your insurance to ensure that they will cover the costs.
Search Your Own House
We often overlook what we have stored inside our own house. Do a deep clean of your pantry and you will be surprised at the hidden gems you might find in the deep corners of your cupboards. Things like canned goods are often forgotten about and relegated to the back of the lot. Other often forgotten things include half-finished crafts and unread books.
It is only when you trim the ends and cut back on spending that you will be able to navigate through the rapidly changing economy. This will help you have some funds that you can use for fun as well. If you are into online gaming, you can easily invest in hacks like cheap valorant boosting and other similar services to gain some momentum in the game of your choice.