It’s difficult to feel any sense of control in the year that is 2020. We’ve been through an extremely uncertain few months and the uncertainty looks set to continue for a while longer.
With so much out of our hands, our personal finances are one thing that we can try and manage a bit better, in order to reduce stress in these difficult financial times.
Here are 5 simple ways to try and take control of your money, today:
- Reassess your budget, post COVID
We know personal finance articles always start by telling you to keep a budget, and this may be yawn-inducing to you now but hear us out! Just as your life has been turned upside down by this pandemic, so has how you spend your time and spend your money. Think about it: you’re probably staying home more and driving less. Eating out less (if at all) and doing more cooking at home. Think about what this all means to your bills: can you reduce your car insurance perhaps? Cancel that gym membership? Comb through the amounts coming off your account each month and consider which could be cancelled.
- Emergency savings
You’re staying home and doing less these days (see above), so while it may seem challenging, now is actually an excellent time to save, especially if you still have a regular income. The knock-on effect of this pandemic will be lengthy, so having a few months’ salary saved up in case you lose your job is essential. Don’t be tempted to splurge on things to make you feel better (one small item a month is enough!) – save every last bit that you can. You’ll thank us later.
- Contact your creditors
Most companies that offer credit are showing their clients some leniency over this time. If you’re struggling with a loan repayment, paying back your credit card, or repayments on your car for example – don’t ignore it and default. Rather contact your creditor and ask if they have options for extensions or “payment holidays”.
- Speak to an expert
Don’t just ask your aunty for financial advice (unless she’s a financial advisor – in which case, great!). Either consult with an accredited professional or find someone you trust who has excellent financial experience (with proven results). Fedhealth members get free access to Sanlam Reality’s Wealth Sense which provides expert tips plus financial calculators to help you manage your money better.
- Be extra vigilant
We’re all a little vulnerable right now and unfortunately criminals take advantage of chaotic situations like these by trying to get access to our personal information. Be ultra-aware of phishing emails, unexpected phone calls or text messages claiming to be from your bank or another financial institution you have an agreement with. Ensure your passwords are extra secure and if you become aware of a scam, notify your bank immediately, so that no one else’s finances (or lives) are negatively affected.