It goes without saying: times are difficult right now. There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment and in the near future. Let’s talk about how to budget during this time and what it can look like to prepare well for the upcoming months!
Assess where you are
Do you currently have a budget in place? If so, take a look at the past two months and how the two compare to two consecutive months from six months ago. This can help give you an immediate perspective of where things are doing well and where things need more attention. Moving forward, continually updating your budget, even if it’s difficult. Doing so can help you stay organized and know where all your finances are going during this time.
If you don’t have a budget, we highly encourage you to start one. Having a place where you can see your total income and expenses can assist you in seeing what areas can be decreased in spending.
Re-define your budget
Discretionary income might need to look vastly different during this time in order to ensure you’re making payments and living comfortably. For example, if you’re used to spending $300+ a month on subscription-based entertainment (cable, Spotify, magazines, etc.), that can be a great place to start making cuts. Yes, it might be difficult to not have those extra items during this time, but prioritizing shelter, food, payments, and health can help you stay on time with payments. You may have goals that you are so close to reaching, but it’s okay to press pause right now. If you’re paying off debt at the moment, opt to pay the minimum in order to preserve extra cash.
Plan, but don’t panic!
Yes, things can get very tight. But this is not forever. As you continue to adjust and re-arrange, remember that you are best you can. Prioritize the essentials, care for loved ones, stay connected as best you can, help others when possible, and give yourself space to adjust.