Keeping a watchful eye on your finances is always important. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever.
Keeping a close watch on your purse strings is a necessity. With so much unknown about this year, knowing exactly where your finances stand and how to keep them stable has become a huge priority for most Americans. Since March of this year, over 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to Forbes. Juggling how this pandemic has affected your income and how it will affect your daily and monthly spending could become a huge focus for you and your family. While staying healthy and figuring out new school and work scheduled are our first priorities, it is easy to get overwhelmed with how to deal with these potentially drastic changes in your finances. How do you decide what to cut out? How can you change your spending? What are the necessities that can't be cut out, and how do you make these decisions with the best outcome for your family?
According to Forbes, an estimated 49% of the American population was living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic hit. This left no room for extra savings or a nest egg to fall back on. Unemployment has helped, but even that has seen a drastic change since its first wave with the national stimulus checks. Many people have been left without enough to cover their basic needs. The first stimulus check and the additional $600 from the government added to unemployment checks were just short term solutions. What can we do now to help make our bills, keep a roof over our heads, and keep food on the table?
THE NEW BUDGET
You sit down every month and track what you're earning and what you're spending. You create a solid budget based on your calculations that takes care of your bills, your family's needs, and hopefully goes towards a little fun. If your paycheck has been hit or changed due to the pandemic, your budget will have to be retooled. Try and figure out how much of a cut your salary has gone through and try and cut that much out of your monthly spending. Please remember that while you're cutting your budget, your retirement planning and savings still needs your attention. If you can keep paying into those, that is ideal. If you are unable to do so, don't panic. Instead of adding to them, try not touching them unless you have to. Consider what you have in savings during this time, too. If it is needed, remember these funds have been put aside for an emergency.
While the stimulus check will not be part of your 2020 taxes and is being treated as forgiven money, the additional $600 and the now $300 added to your unemployment checks will be taxable income. If you've taken the highest amount in unemployment without choosing to take any taxes out, please prepare for what you will owe in your 2020 taxes. If you can, choose to take out some taxes to make your next tax season a little less painful. Also, try and avoid the temptation of online shopping and avoid making 'panic purchases". Instead of using your extra time to scroll through your favorite shopping sites, sit down and create a brand new long term financial strategy. We have no idea how long this might last, so planning ahead is going to be your best bet.
Everyone owes money every month, even those who collect it for a living. We all have bills to pay, there's no exception to that. If you can sit down and take the time to talk with your landlord, your credit card companies, your insurance company, and discuss your current circumstances it could be a huge relief to your bank account. Be honest and ask if they can give you some kind of break or pause in your payments, a break or pause in accruing interest, and if you can negotiate your interest rates. According to Business Insider Apple, Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One offered their clients emergency support during the first few months of the pandemic.
THE DINNER MENU
Part of your monthly budget includes your grocery bill and funds set aside for going out to eat. As much as we all want to support our favorite local restaurants, eating out adds up just as quickly as it did before the pandemic. Tack on delivery fees to this bill, and it can be even more expensive. The dangers of panic purchasing delivered meals three times a day is very easy thanks to our favorite food apps. Meal planning is going to be just as important as budget planning. You'll need to stick to both to feed your family and save as much money as possible. We understand a few delivered and take out meals, but try and avoid them as much as possible.
The pandemic has done a good job keeping us at home and helped us save money on group activities like going to concerts, going to the gym, and getting our hair and nails done. While things are getting back to normal and these services are slowly becoming available, that doesn't mean you need to jump back into using them again. It's best to wait and do so when your income is back to normal. You've survived without them up until now, and you can continue to do so a little while longer. If you have a lawn care service or a maid service that helps you care for your home, it might be beneficial to pause these services. As essential as they might be, they aren't as important as many other things in your budget. Making these decisions is difficult, but they are possible. You just have to keep going back to the drawing board when things get tough.
We know the last thing you want to hear right now is that you have to sacrifice more than you already have just to hang on. You've given up so much already, changed plans, and lost out on promised opportunities. The truth is, you can keep going. If you continue to make these hard decisions to save your finances and protect your family, the light at the end of the tunnel will become much brighter. If you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.