It is impossible to overstate how much has changed in the last two years. A tiny virus that appeared to have emerged out of nowhere swept over the globe, claiming the lives of over six million people.
That pandemic also came with devastating effects to financial markets, incomes, jobs, and other aspects of life. Stock markets worldwide first fell, causing equity investors to lose their investments and then rebounded to become even stronger.
On the other hand, revenues and employment have not recovered as quickly. The pandemic symbolizes one of the most uncertain periods in recent history. Others may manifest themselves in the form of a sudden illness or loss of employment, among other possibilities.
Based on the lessons learned over the last two years, we look at some six suggestions for managing your finances to navigate unpredictable and challenging times.
It would be best to determine the effect of your spending on your monthly budget. To do so, you must first create a monthly budget. If you already have one, that's fantastic.
Otherwise, now is an excellent opportunity to start one from scratch. Managing your money becomes challenging when you don't keep track of your expenses, household income, and frequent debt payments.
Maintain a straightforward but thorough approach. Put all your spending and earnings in your budget. Monthly bank or M-Pesa statements are instrumental in this situation.
Budgeting and committing to it, regardless of whether you use a free budgeting tool, the simple envelope budget approach, or an Excel spreadsheet, will assist you in identifying trouble areas.
It is possible to advance to the following level if you already operate within a predetermined financial framework. Having a well-planned budget makes it easier to detect and eliminate excessive expenditures.
Because of the income uncertainty, you may need to take significant steps to ensure that expenditures do not rise.
Households must re-evaluate their finances and prioritize their expenses. They must draw a line between essential and optional wants things and decide to forsake the latter. It is critical for households to make this option to maintain financial stability until the threat subsides.
It will be perfect for households to eliminate needless spending and spend solely on necessary goods and services. Unnecessary expenses could include entertainment, fancy food, clothes, and so on.
Examine your financial accounts or a budgeting tool to determine where these costs are hidden. You might either omit them or cut them down.
Even though your position is stable (work, health, finances, and long-term planning), factors beyond your control are unpredictable. It's time to close the monthly subscription service you're not using.
What are your usual automated withdrawals? You can fall into the subscriptions creep trap if you don't conduct regular reviews. Subscription creep occurs when you pay for a subscription to services, programs, or affiliations that you no longer use.
Examine your bank statements to see if there are any automatic withdrawals and cancel any that you no longer use or require. Examine your other typical personal spending as well and assess for cost-cutting potential.
Bundling services, switching to a lower-cost plan, requesting a discount from your service provider, or transferring service providers may benefit. You'd be amazed how often simply asking for a better bargain might result in a better offer. Talk to your creditors about debt management or a payment plan if you're having trouble making payments.
The first and most crucial thing to remember in turbulent times is to save money! You should spend as little as possible and preserve as much cash in the bank as feasible! It may appear straightforward advice, yet a crisis can lead individuals to panic.
Don't try to settle as many bills as you can! Consider the period you can stretch your current funds if you pay for what is necessary. Make a list of invoices you must pay immediately and those you may postpone or negotiate down.
Every amount you save should be deposited into your savings account. But keep in mind that leaking roofs and broken transmissions have their timetables. If you have an unexpectedly large bill, you may have to use your reserves as a backup plan.
We have compiled the three main methods of saving money that you can try. Meanwhile, you can consider the following suggestions that might help you save more quickly within a short time:
Although what transpired recently was an unprecedented global health disaster, uncertainty may manifest itself in various ways. However, as was the case during the pandemic, health emergencies and the death of breadwinners are the most typical situations that cause great worry for families.
Individuals need to select good life and health insurance plans to prepare for this since they are critical in helping people to deal with an unforeseen emergency during a pandemic and in the absence of a pandemic. Individuals and family members are vulnerable when they do not have insurance. As a result, choosing insurance plans that cover the entire family is essential.
If your employment is secure and you have appropriate health insurance for yourself and your family, you won't have to change your lifestyle drastically.
It is essential to have a rainy-day reserve for emergencies and unpredictable times. When circumstances are reasonable, saving and building an emergency fund is highly recommended. An emergency fund equivalent to 3-6 months' worth of expenses gives funds for ordinary household bills if your income is abruptly cut off due to illness, job loss, or other causes beyond your control.
Such funds can serve as a safety net during difficult times. Enable automatic monthly transfer of funds from current to savings accounts to guarantee you're continually building your emergency reserves.
Also, when times are rough, you may come up with novel strategies to supplement your emergency money. Begin by putting part of the money you saved through the cost-cutting initiatives listed above into your fund.
Next, search your closet, garage, and store for unused or lightly used items to sell on local online classifieds or in Facebook groups. Small kitchen items, sports gear, and seasonal apparel are also possible alternatives.
History has repeatedly replayed itself, particularly regarding stock market disasters. While the end may be near, markets always recover, frequently more fiercely than they fall. The nosedive in global stock markets unnerved investors, resulting in several panic selling at the height of the pandemic.
However, the markets have returned to all-time highs less than a year later, setting records every other week. When portfolios fall during a crash, there is a tremendous temptation to sell stocks to reduce losses, and that can be the worst conceivable course of action. Speculative losses become real when you sell equities at a lower price.
When normalcy returns, the worth of most stocks will settle. Investors will only be monetizing their losses by selling shares. As a result, they should be patient enough to wait for the instability to subside. Remember the age-old adage: "Buy low, sell high." If you require quick funds, it is preferable to withdraw from bonds and give your equities time to recover.
Money concerns may be unpleasant even in good times. However, it is critical to allow yourself time to understand how to manage your money effectively to make the most significant financial decisions for your family and finances.
Set aside some time each week to improve your financial knowledge. You can take 20 minutes daily, or an hour on weekends, to study money management. You can find articles about financial subjects such as:
Making it a point now to comprehend your finances will assist you in developing an action plan to help you get through difficult times and lay a firm foundation for your future.
It's natural to be concerned about things you can't control during stormy or unpredictable times. It's also critical to recognize that you can make better financial decisions right now by becoming more conscious of your spending, decreasing costs, and increasing your savings.
Take steps to financially secure your family to be in the best possible shape if the situation changes.