I first met Sherry Andrew when I hosted a unique open house here in town with a beautiful home I had for sale on Ingersoll Ave. I invited a local stager, lender, inspector and brought Sherry in to offer any budgeting help that potential Open House visitors may need. I went on to use her services for myself. As a busy agent it can be difficult to stay on top of your budget and the details of your business when you are hyper focused on the needs of your clients for buying and selling. She really helped me understand my spending for both personal and business. I was able to separate the two and be become better organized with my finances. I used her budget tips and continue to follow Sherry with all her helpful information. Sherry has offered some insightful tips to be mindful of your budget during the pandemic and beyond.
I encourage you to reach out to her for any questions you may have or if you need help trimming your spending right now during this very unusual time we are in.
Her website: https://www.moneymindsetfc.com/
We are over a month into so many changes related to the COVID-19 virus. It is impacting our lives in so many ways. A big impact for many of us, is the financial impact. Job loss, reduced hours, or loss of business for self-employed individuals has many of us worried about the future. Although there are many things out of our control, there are things we can do to reduce the financial impact to your household. Let’s dive into some proactive steps you can take!
The #1 financial tip at anytime really, but even more so now is to pay attention to your money. How much is coming in and where is it all going. When I start working with my one-on-one clients this is the most important step.
Action: Look back through your bank and credit card statements for a few months and identify where your money is going. Break it down on categories that make sense to you. A key area to focus on is what I call day-to-day expenses. Items that we purchase regularly and that the amounts can vary significantly (groceries, restaurants, misc spending—like Amazon). You must know where you are starting to identify areas you want to change.
The biggest impact to financial success, especially during uncertain times is to have a plan for your money each month. If you were going somewhere you had never been before, you would put the address your phone or your car to get directions to your destination. You would make sure you had a plan to get you there, yet so many people do not have a plan for their money each month. The word budget brings up thoughts of restrictions and no fun…ever. I believe the opposite, having a budget allows you to align your spending with your goals and dreams. If you have big plans to travel when the dust settles, you need to include it as part of your budget.
Action: You can probably guess what is coming…build a budget, or two. If your income has been impacted, I recommend building a ‘normal’ budget with your pre-COVID income and an emergency budget for right now. When I lost my job very unexpectedly in 2017, going through
our budget and cutting back everywhere we could allowed me to focus on building my business. Use the information you gathered above to start your plan. Use what works for you, it could be a notebook, a whiteboard or if you are a lover of spreadsheets, you could go sign up to receive my free budget template at www.moneymindsetfc.com
Some potential areas to reduce your expenses:
Where should I start?
- Credit cards—call your credit card companies to request a reduction in your interest rate. Even before this pandemic, this is something my clients had success with, now credit card companies have even more option to help.
- Communications bills—contact your communications providers and ask them what they can do for you to help to reduce your monthly bill. Using FB messenger is a great option if available, especially if you have kids running around making lots of noise. Our bill used to be over $400, it is now ~$250! Utility Bills—many of you may be working from home which will increase utility bills. Having your home office set up on a power bar that you can turn off or unplug at the end of the day will help. Unplugging anything that you aren’t using will also help. You’re not going to get rich doing this, but every little bit helps.
- Insurance—if you are working from home, you can contact your insurance provider to check into options about reducing your car insurance premiums.
- Grocery spending—Our hand is being forced in this category, being home so much makes this a great time to start meal planning. Planning out your meals for the next few weeks and shopping only once will help you spend less and give you the peace of mind to know you have a plan. If you are worried about expiry dates, lots of staples can be frozen, bread, milk and meat are all regulars in our freezers. If you’ve got kiddos at home, involving them in this process can be a great experience for them.
- Online shopping—this is a category that is likely starting to add up these days. Being at home so much and increased stress and emotions can increase our urge to spend. To help keep you on track with your spending here are some tips:
- Remove your credit card numbers, actually having to get up and get your card could be enough to make your rethink a purchase.
- Unsubscribe from promotional emails, these used to be a trigger for me to spend. Now that they don’t hit my inbox, that temptation is not there.
- Make a commitment to yourself, to have a cooling off period for online purchases. Waiting 24, 48, 72 hours, or even longer can help you to evaluate if you really do want to make the purchase. The higher an item costs, the longer I recommend the cooling off period should be.
If your income has stopped or is significantly reduced, contact your lenders to explore options.
They are here to help you. Deferring of payments or pausing interest can be a huge help to you. If you are looking into these options be sure to understand the full impact of these temporary deferrals.
Learn from this situation-and know that you don’t have to do it on your own. As we are all experiencing right now, life can throw you curve balls. If you feel unprepared right now, you can take action to be more prepared next time. Having your emergency savings in place can help to reduce your financial stress when the next curve ball comes. When I lost my job, we were not prepared financially and that scared the crap out of me. We made so many changes to our finances and today I am thankful that we have a cushion to help us in crazy financial times—like a pandemic!
If you need some guidance please reach out, you can drop me
an email at firstname.lastname@example.org