Lockdown across the world has presented many families with a unique financial situation. Some, who have sadly lost their incomes, have struggled with money, while others worked for companies that profited, or found themselves in a position where they simply weren’t spending as much money as usual. Whatever your financial situation, it is important to adapt your usual monetary habits, re-do your spreadsheets and develop a different way of looking at your bank balance.
With that in mind, our first tip is to make or edit a simple financial spreadsheet. You may already have a spreadsheet with your incomings and outgoings listed on them, in which case, you should adapt these to reflect your new situation. So for instance, if you usually have a budget for socialising, but you haven’t been doing this due to lockdown, then mark this row as ‘zero’ and make a note that this money is now free to use on something else. That might be bridging the gap in your salary if you have seen a drop in income, or it might go into your savings account. There are many templates available online for budget spreadsheets, or use this Wikihow to see how to make one yourself. By creating a spreadsheet, you can get a visual picture of your finances and you can see where you have overspent or where you need to make improvements. Sometimes this can be a challenge as it does force you to question your habits and your spending, but it is a worthwhile exercise that works well in the long run.
Another tip is to review expenses that you have going out and negotiate the premiums on things like insurances. Wonga released a recent post on managing your money during lockdown, they say
“If you can, cancelling your unused services can help you reprioritise your budget. Before you do so, ensure that your account is eligible for a one month’s notice period for cancellation and that you won’t incur any additional fees by doing so.”
Think about care insurance, life insurance, home insurance, and so on. What can you cut back on? Were there any premiums that automatically increased without you being aware of this?
A final tip which has really worked for many people is to use lockdown as an opportunity to make some money. Perhaps this means having a clear out in your house and selling some of the items that you no longer use or need. This could be anything from old toys, puzzles and clothes to bigger items like furniture. You might also think about how you can make some extra money at this time, if you have time on your hands. Think about what you are good at. For instance, if this is sewing, then you might consider making and selling some face masks for your local community. You might also try and set up an online freelance side line, if you have a talent in this field. You can really think outside the box in this instance and find a way to make some extra money while spending more time at home.