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Budgeting Tips During an Pandemic

In our seemingly ever-changing 2020, the only thing that hasn’t changed is how important is to manage our money. While budgeting has always been important, it’s more critical now than ever. A recent Forbes article stated that 49% of all Americans lived paycheck to paycheck PRIOR to Covid-19. Given the increased unemployment and return-to-work restrictions, this figure has likely surpassed the 50% mark. The good news, however, is that budgeting during Covid-19 doesn’t have to be difficult. Below are 5 ways to budget during a pandemic:

1) Revisit your income. A lot of companies have cut hours, reduced salaries, or taken away perks. For example, did your company take away 401k matching or reduce your salary by 10%? Write it all down to ensure you have a real picture of your actual income during a pandemic.

2) Identify your expenses… all of them. People tend to ‘forget’ a few things when creating a list of expenses. This list should contain all of the official expenses, such as bills and payments, but also needs to include the expenses that aren’t always planned, like coffee, dining out, and gas. Not sure how much you spend on gas? Keep your last receipt. When you fill-up your tank next, add that receipt to the pile. After a month, see how much you’ve spent.

3) Identify areas for improvement. No one wants to think about reducing their expenses – we tend to associate that with decreasing our quality of life. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. Many companies are willing to work with their customers to reduce bills or arrange a payment plan. Have you checked your internet, cable, or insurance plans lately? Get new quotes! You’d be surprised just how many companies want your business right now – discounts and all!

4) Avoid accumulating debt. I get it… this seems difficult during a pandemic. However, increasing debt instead of utilizing cash costs us more in the long run. Why? Purchases made with credit cards will inevitably incur interest and thus, costing us more than just paying it. Need a little bit more to get by this month? Consider tip #5.

5) List items online. With sites like Poshmark, eBay, and Mercari, selling old clothing, accessories, or home goods online is an excellent way to boost your income. While some parts of the country are having a harder time than others, there are plenty of people waiting to buy used items. Not sure how to price an item? Search for similar sold items on the platform you’d like to use to find out what people are willing to pay.

Although a pandemic can be a challenging time to navigate, budgeting during one doesn’t have to be. By following the list above, you’ll be well on your way to helping your bank account survive.

Written by Let’s Detroit Ambassador Morgan El-Zeinab from Kelly Services 

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