There are a lot of serious situations that can interrupt your day-to-day life. Suppose you’re facing a crisis like a sudden death in the family, an unexpected emergency, the loss of a job, or a serious illness. In that case, you’ll need to adjust your finances to the new circumstances. COVID has introduced unique challenges for the American people.
It’s common to feel as though there’s nothing you can do when faced with a crisis. But even though you can’t control the situation itself, you can control certain aspects of your finances.
When you’re in crisis, it’s time to go into survival mode. That means creating a budget that conserves your money as much as possible while still covering your essential expenses.
The first step is to cut out nonessentials. That might mean anything from eating out to appointments at the hairdresser. It might include frivolous purchases or unnecessary products like cosmetics.
A necessity-based budget only has room to cover electricity, medicine, shelter, water, and food. You should also make sure that you’re taking care of any required debt repayments, as the penalties for not making your payments may impact your financial future.
The next thing to do is to pause your subscriptions and service contracts. That might mean your internet, cable, or phone. Some of these you may need to keep for working and communication purposes.
Do your best to halt excess repayment of your debts. You should be making the absolute bare minimum payment necessary to fulfill your obligations. If you apply for relief or a deferment with many types of loans, you can postpone your payments until the future. But most relief programs are only available if people reach out and ask about them.
Now that you’ve created a budget from the absolute bare essentials, it’s time to take another look at those essentials. Are there any places that you can eliminate costs? Coupons and store-brand products can be used to save food money. Prescription discount cards may be able to get you your medicines for lower prices. You can also lower your utility and gas costs by reducing your overall transport and electricity usage.
With a crisis budget, any little bit of savings counts. Go over every part of the budget and look for ways to save.