A blog adapted from our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness
How are you managing the realities of the continued COVID-19 crisis? To help gain perspective during difficult times, it can be helpful to step back, reflect, and take some time to make a plan for moving forward.
Making a plan for the unexpected can seem impossible, here are ways to plan for what is to come.
1. Prioritize your bills
During a time of crisis it may be difficult to choose how to spend your money, especially if your income has been impacted. Prioritizing what has to be paid, what can be negotiated, or what bills don’t need your attention at the moment can be a great first step in increasing your cash flow. Make sure that you are aware of what bills are paid automatically, so that you can prioritize your money with the most important bills first.
Getting the most important bills paid first is the most important thing in a time of crisis. Read more about which bills to pay during the pandemic.
2. Build up an emergency fund, no matter how big or small
Start building up an emergency fund now so that you are prepared for unexpected expenses or loss of income. This emergency fund can cover everyday expenses, like larger grocery bills or this fund can cover the new tire you have to buy after getting a flat.
Make sure this emergency fund is kept in an accessible savings account. Use your emergency fund before putting expenses on a credit card with a high interest rate if something needs immediate attention.
No matter how big or small, a “rainy day” fund is the best protection. You can read more about the wisdom of preparing for an emergency.
3. Start a budget
Knowing how much money is coming in and going out is essential to a well-balanced financial life. HUECU has multiple tools for budgeting, including our online banking budgeting wizard! You can also find a budgeting worksheet, if you want to stick to pen and paper.
Setting a household budget doesn’t have to be complicated. Many people find they reduce financial stress by creating and following a simple budget.
4. Plan for shifted expenses
Your expenses will look different during an emergency. Maybe you aren’t spending more money during the stay-at-home orders, or maybe you are spending additional money on groceries or other expenses. Being aware of what bills will increase or decrease while at home will help you create an accurate budget for your household.
If you would like to speak with someone about shifting expenses and budgeting during the pandemic, contact GreenPath Financial Wellness.
5. Make it a family affair
During the pandemic, most of us have found ourselves spending more time at home. Maybe you have seen your college students return home, while trying to monitor your other children’s education. This is a great time to begin working with all family members on their financial literacy.
We also know that financial struggles are difficult on families. Take advantage of the learning opportunity. Make it a time to bring the family closer by working together. Learn more about helping children deal with a financial crisis.