5 Important Money Management Tips For Uncertain Times
I'm going to talk about something that I feel is relevant to what many people are going through right now. I'm struggling with money management during uncertain times, and as I am currently laid off, I'm finding myself budgeting through a crisis. How do you manage money when you have low or inconsistent income and no child support? I don't have the answers, but I have some money management tips that are working for me.
I will break down five things I am doing currently to navigate what I call the unknown. So let's get through this together.
1. Shift your budget focus
Step one, the first thing I did was shift my budget focus, and I would highly suggest you shift your focus from debt repayment to saving.
That will hopefully pay off in dividends because when I made that shift and even when I got the Cares Act money, all of that went into savings. Now I have close to five months worth of living expenses saved up. So savings is just critical.
If you don't have it started, start immediately. The more you save, the more options you have, the more flexibility you have, and the greater your ability to ride out an unknown situation.
2. Take care of four walls
My second suggestion is that when you receive income, take care of what I call the four walls. Make sure you are paying your bills. The four walls will be housing, utilities, transportation, and health. Take care of those things; if you can't pay your bills when due, everything else might have to fall.
By the way, I do not want to suggest that, so don't say Danielle from Single Mom Money told you that you don't have to pay your credit card bill. I'm just saying the priority should be those four things and pay those straight away when you do get income.
When there is a situation where you have income left, then you will go and pay the rest of the household bills. We hope we're not in a position where we fall behind, but if we do fall behind, take care of the four walls first. Housing, transportation, health, and utilities, and then work with your providers on the other bills to see what things you might be able to negotiate to postpone, reduce, stuff like that.
3. Find a side hustle
Number three, my third suggestion is to find a side hustle. If you don't already have a side hustle, at least start exploring the side hustling world.
If you're on unemployment, you have to be careful because you typically need to claim if you are making money from a side hustle or any source, and it can't be very much money. Be aware that earning additional outside income could impact that in some ways if you're on unemployment.
Suppose you have access to a particular item you can sell, but don't go into that side hustle so much that you'll lose your unemployment. However, if you did lose your unemployment one day, maybe this is an avenue for you to generate enough to pay your bills. So just lay the foundation right now for making more money.
4. Control your expenses
My fourth suggestion is to control your expenses. I have a saying where I say control the controllables. If you don't have control over your income, which a lot of us don't have right now, the one thing I can control is my expenses and what I spend money on.
This can be as simple as keeping your AC on a comfortable level, keeping things unplugged, like appliances unplugged that you don't use. Be more conscious and intentional about driving so you aren't using additional gas when you don't need to. Be more conscious of how you're spending your money.
Now is also a good time to get quotes on expenses like insurance. See if you can get cheaper or more affordable insurance without compromising your coverage. Reduce other expenses like your cell phone cost, cable, and internet.
5. Create a long-term plan
My last suggestion here is to create a plan for long-term success. What I'm doing is retooling. I am acquiring more skills. I have found grants for going back to school to get certifications that will make me more marketable long term.
This is a marathon. This is a long-term suggestion. This is not anything that's going to bring additional money into your household today, but the goal is to be in a position where you're not in this position again.
Money management tips
As a recap, shift your focus from debt repayment to saving immediately. Make sure you pay for utilities, housing costs, transportation, and your health essentials. The third thing I suggested is starting to get some side hustles. Generate additional streams of income for yourself.
The fourth thing that I suggested was to control the controllables. If you can't control your income, control your expenses. Do a review of that budget. Figure out where you can cut and optimize your money in different places. The last suggestion that I had was to work on a long-term plan. Unknown situations will occur, but we need to get to where we're not dealing with income inconsistencies.
Managing your money is a skill that will benefit you through good times and bad. You can get through tough times and plan once you do. Those are my five money management tips to navigate uncertainty in these unknown times. Let me know yours in the comments below.