Tips for Managing Your Finances Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Although some local businesses will begin to re-open in the coming weeks, life as we know it is unlikely to stabilize until the end of 2020, if not later. The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will change the course of our lives for some time due to pay cuts, furloughs, or other job changes that occurred during stay-at-home orders. Soon people will start venturing out again and settling into a new normal. Although it’s incredibly tempting to negate your personal finances to make up for lost time, be sure you’re keeping an eye on where money is coming and going when the orders lift. Here are a few tips for managing your finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you didn’t have adequate savings prior to COVID-19, you may be wishing you had prioritized it more. Others who did may have drained some of their savings out of financial necessity. If the last seven+ weeks have been any indication, we truly have no idea what life will bring. It's certainly not too late to get a savings account going or restored if your finances support it. I encourage six months of savings under normal circumstances, but anything you can set aside at this time will work to further your financial stability. If you need every penny right now, consider holding onto that stimulus check. You never know when you may need to rely on it.
Setting money aside is prudent, but it’s also important to be supportive and help stimulate the local economy during this resurgence of business. One of the best ways you can support KC is by buying as many things locally as possible. When it’s safe to do so, mix in famer’s market trips, meals at local eateries, and alternatives to your standard chain purchases when you can. If you’re going to splurge, might as well be at a local boutique, bakery, or other non-essential business that is undoubtedly working to get back on their feet. KC needs us all right now!
Embrace the Change
Sometimes, turning lemons into lemonade is the best we can do. It’s very easy to develop poor spending habits here and there: A few more Amazon ‘buy now’ clicks than you really need, saying ‘yes’ to going out when it’s not in budget, or signing the dotted line for another subscription you don’t have time to use. There isn’t much good to come from a pandemic, but it served as a forced financial reset of sorts. With many things closed or unavailable during the stay-at-home orders, people weren’t as able to spend freely. Use this opportunity to reflect on what you do and don’t need. If you can maintain some of the healthier habits you picked up, unintentionally or not, your budget will thank you.
The next few months will be an adjustment all around, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Use this time as a springboard for your finances and you will have a brighter future for it.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.