- Date : 08/05/2020
- Read: 4 mins
We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control how we react to it – and that stands true in the context of the coronavirus lockdown and how we manage our finances.
Everyone is waiting for the coronavirus nightmare to be over. It’s affected the lives of people around the world in a way that’s unparalleled in recent history. Speaking strictly in a financial sense, those lucky enough to be able to continue working from home might have seen their earnings remain the same, but their spending may have gone down. If you’re one of them, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Yes, this can be seen as a silver lining of the lockdown, and there are ways in which you can continue to save more money than you’re spending even after the lockdown is over. Here’s how:
1. Stick to the new behaviours and habits
After months of not eating out, shopping, or travelling, your brain is now used to it. You may have formed some healthy habits such as learning to cook, or enjoying movies on YouTube instead of at the nearest theatre. Once the lockdown is lifted, stick to these good habits. Not only will they help you save a lot of money, they will also help you lead a more wholesome life where you’re not depending on external sources for your basic sustenance and happiness. Of course, you can still indulge in these things occasionally. Remember to maintain a healthy balance; don’t overcompensate for the lockdown months.
2. Do away with certain spending categories
The lockdown should have made it amply clear which spends in your budget are needs and which ones are wants. Some things may have seemed indispensable earlier, but during the lockdown you might have realised you can do without them perfectly well. For instance, if you were used to having your morning coffee from a café near your workplace, you may have substituted that with making coffee yourself before sitting down to work from home. Such changes can continue even after the lockdown, allowing you to do away with some of your spending categories altogether.
3. Cut down on other spending categories
Some spending categories in your budget cannot be completely done away with. They can, however, be reduced significantly. If you compare your budget before the lockdown with your expenses during the lockdown, you will see a stark difference in figures regarding certain activities such as eating out, shopping, commute, etc. While categories like your daily commute might have to return to the status quo after the lockdown, your discretionary expenses don’t have to. Try to cut them by 20–30 percent to increase your savings.
4. Increase your emergency fund
Nobody could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic. Yet it did happen, and it changed life as we know it. Emergencies like these just prove how important it is to have cash stashed away that’s easily accessible. If you don’t have such a ‘liquid fund’ in place, start by putting aside an amount equal to six months’ worth of expenses (rent, groceries, utility bills, etc.) If you already have an emergency fund in place that will sustain you for six months, increase it so that it can tide you over for 9–12 months.
5. Invest the saved money
One common reason why people say they haven’t invested yet is that they don’t have the money. Thanks to the lockdown, you may have some money saved which you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Use this money to make strategic investments depending on your short-term and long-term goals. Post the lockdown, try to shift your mindset from that of a consumer to that of an investor. Once you start building your investment portfolio, you’ll derive joy and satisfaction from the wealth you’re creating instead of the money you’ll spend satisfying your consumer-centric desires.
While there may be a few things you can’t wait to do once the lockdown is over – say, dine at your favourite restaurant or indulge in shopping at the mall – don’t forget to maintain a balance! How to prepare yourself financially during a pandemic