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Budget Money

Dos & Don’ts of Budgeting During Uncertainty

Right now there are a lot of things uncertain. What to do with your personal finances doesn’t have to be one of them. Grab your coffee and read about what to DO with your money and what NOT to do right now.

Do:

1. Create a budget for April.

We will always say that’s the priority, but right now it’s especially important. Let’s not ignore the numbers, let’s confront them. You will certainly need to tweak the numbers. Some things will be better (lower gas, less childcare costs), some may be worse (lower income). Just get it on paper.

2. Focus on NOW.

Many people are thinking about May or even September. That’s how overwhelm happens. Focus on the now! Let’s all get through April. No one knows really what’s coming anyway, it’s best to use our time & energy to make this month the best it can be.

3. Cover the four walls first.

This means food, shelter, transportation are the items you cover first in your budget. We’re not paying the credit card bill this month if it means we can’t afford to put food on the family table.

4. Control the controllables.

There’s so much you can’t control right now. You can’t control whether your get to leave your house, keep job and whether your kids are at home until August. And that’s just the beginning! So, let’s focus on what you CAN control.

You CAN control whether you get to work with what’s available. That may be side jobs or a job at Amazon or Target-they’re hiring. It may not be your chosen field, but we know you’ll do what it takes to take care of your family.

You can also be selling stuff or, at the least, simplifying your home during this time. Being productive and making your living space better are wonderful ways to process what’s going on.

You can control your attitude. You can control whether you help spread panic or spread hope.

Remember, the kids are watching. You can control how you frame this for them and how you take advantage of this time with them.

Don‘t:

1. Don’t keep making extra payments.

We’re in storm mode, so we are going to pause being gazelle intense on paying off debt and instead pile up cash until the storm passes. Don’t worry, when everything gets “back to normal,” you’ll have a big pile of money to dump on debt.

2. Pull your money out of investments.

Don’t panic and pull your money from investments. You haven’t lost any money until you do that very thing! Plus, there are so many unintended consequences with doing so. So, just don’t do it!

3. Be willy nilly with your Emergency Fund. 

Right now, everything feels like an emergency. But it’s not, not necessarily. We are still going to ask our three questions before pulling money out of that emergency fund. Is it unexpected, is it necessary and is it urgent? Getting takeout isn’t. Even getting a new dishwasher isn’t. But, losing your job and needing to pay the electric bill somehow, YES! That’s an emergency fund. You need that emergency fund now more than ever, so be very discerning when using it!

This is a little preview of what we do. We help clients create a budget & payoff debt. Want to set up a free, no-obligation 15 minute consultation?