In the middle of the COVID-era, managing your money will be more important than ever in 2021, and we know that it’s not going to be easy. So, let’s take a look at some tips that will help you keep your finances in order this year.
No matter what line of work you’re in, there is no question that your finances took quite a hit after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether we took salary reductions or lost our jobs altogether. We’re living through a moment of complete economic devastation on a global scale right now, and there’s never been a better time to develop healthy spending habits and learn how to take control of your finances.
Writing for POPSUGAR, Aviel Kanter takes us through the process of managing your money in the COVID-plagued world that 2021 should be done with a couple of handy tips.
It’s a lesson that we were supposed to learn about we were children, storing coins in a piggy bank. Sadly, meany of us (myself included) just didn’t get the memo and it’s really hard to break the habit of unnecessary spending.
“Having an emergency fund or cushion for when you’re in a bind (if you can) may give you peace of mind, and knowing you have money put away if you ever need it can help take away some of the anxiety of challenging times,” writes Kanter. “If you’re still getting a regular pay check, it’s often wise to decide on an amount you can take out of that check every time you get paid and move it over to a savings account.”
When it comes to squeezing every last drop out of your fixed income, Kanter argues that it will be far easier to save if you opt to go for bare-bones one your monthly payments.
“Think about things you can scale back on right now,” she adds. “Maybe that means pausing services you’re not using for a couple months like commuter costs, or switching up where you shop for food or how much you spend on takeout. You could even consider reviewing the nitty-gritty of your bills, including things like renegotiating your cell phone plan, changing how much you’re paying toward your student loans, or taking a look at your car insurance policy if you’re driving much less than normal.
“Instead of spending that money, it may be helpful to put as much of those dollars as possible into your emergency fund, and focus on sustaining your essential needs.”
Figuring out how to make the most out of your money and preparing for a rainy day is, simply, not possible if you’re unaware of where your money is going and planning out where you’ll be spending every last cent. Impulsive buying can be the death of us all and buying deliberately is the key to managing your money in and making it through 2021.
Kanter explains this when she explains, “once you have money, don’t just spend it without a plan. Instead, think about how to make it work for you whether you are spending or saving. This is especially important right now, when the future may be a bit uncertain in terms of your finances.”
Setting up a budget is hard when there is uncertainty about your income – when there is a possibility that your company may have to lay-off staff or impose salary cuts. So you also have to expect the unexpected and make sure your budget is flexible enough to accommodated for changes to your income and responsibilities.
Talk to your partner & creditors
If you’re living with someone that you share living expenses with, be it a spouse or otherwise, now is the time to have the difficult, uncomfortable conversations. Make clear that you need to cut back and that they need to be conscious of their spending habits. Talk to them when you’re in a tight spot and don’t let your problems fester.
“It can be helpful to have check-ins with yourself and with your partner about where you are with your money and spending, and tend to your financial fitness like you would any other part of your relationship.
“Now may be the time to talk to a financial professional, banker, or even seek advice from a parent or friend on how to make smart money choices. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you need to talk to your creditors, it may be better to reach out for programs and services that can help you, or move your due dates, rather than missing a payment.”
Cut up that credit card
That plastic is tempting… we know. But considering your credit card as a good source for emergency funds can end up hurting you big time in the long run and simply isn’t even worth considering. “It could come back and bite you in the butt in the long run,” Kanter warns. “Track your spending to make sure you can manage your credit card debt and pay bills within your budget.”
She also suggests that you cancel any services that might be linked to your credit card, such as subscriptions to streaming services.
So, don’t let the grim prospects of a COVID-ridden economy get you down and rather think of 2021 as the year that you finally master the discipline of managing your money. You may not be in control of where your money comes from, but you have complete control over where it goes. And, with no end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, it could be the most important thing you do all year.