After months of being restricted in what we can buy, government has finally announced that all e-commerce can go ahead. Before whipping out your credit card, though, there are important things to consider, starting with the widespread financial insecurity around us. Jobs are being lost and some companies will be forced to close down altogether due to the economic havoc wrought by the Coronavirus.
According to Ester Ochse, Programme Head at FNB Money Management: “Amidst all the uncertainty and financial pressures consumers are facing, one could also view the national lockdown period as an ideal time to review their finances and ensure that they’re not only in good standing, but are also still on track to achieving their financial goals.”
Ensuring that you don’t incur unnecessary debt is crucial to emerging from the pandemic no worse off than you entered it.
Below are other suggestions from Ochse for staying financially fit during the lockdown:
- Take stock of what’s important to you and how you align your spending
Use the time you have during lockdown to re-assess, explore what you value and how you can apply that to your financial life. It’s important to clearly outline what you need versus what you want and ensure that you restrict indulging yourself and your loved ones to affordable levels. If you have a partner, it would be ideal for each of you to do this exercise individually and then compare what both of you got out of it in order to agree on a way forward together.
- Prioritise what’s of value to you
Decide which of your wants are most important and which can wait until times are better. Try to settle for a small indulgence rather than a big splurge and reserve your money for things you really need, rather than things you crave.
- Trade-off and action: assessing how much of what you spend every month is going to your value list
Once you’ve listed your priories and what you deem valuable, you need to align and direct the money you have towards those expenses. Going through your bank statements will help a lot by giving you a clear picture of where and what you overspend on, so you can work out ways of cutting down and staying within your budget.
- Review and repeat: making it a habit
This shouldn’t be a once-off “lockdown” exercise. Set a regular time in your calendar to review your finances at least once every three months. The economy fluctuates, as do your circumstances, so you need to keep adjusting your budget.
Additional reporting: FNB