How To Keep Your Finances Under Control When the World Has Become Unpredictable

 

I think we can all agree that 2020 so far has been a crazy year, am I right?

I am not willing to say it’s been the worst year, and I’m not willing to say nothing good can come out of it. I believe that in every situation, no matter how bad, there can be silver linings. And even though 2020 has been a year that most of us have never imagined we would be living through, I can look at the past few months and see that there has been good moments in the midst of the chaos.

That being said, I think it’s safe to say the world doesn’t feel so stable right now. And looking forward, it feels pretty unpredictable. I have no idea what the last half of 2020 is going to bring. I have no idea what 2021 is going to look like. And honestly, nothing really surprises me anymore.

I say nothing surprises me because I never pictured experiencing all the changes we’ve had in almost every part of the world.

So, in that sense, I feel like I need to prepare for what could or couldn’t happen. Now, I’m a firm believer that you can’t plan for EVERYTHING. If we try we’d drive ourselves crazy thinking about all the various scenarios that could happen.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan for ANYTHING. And we’ve had enough months to see that this pandemic is not done affecting us yet.

We’ve watched as certain groceries became harder to find. We watched as kids no longer were going to school outside of the home. We watched as many began to work from home and stores weren’t even open.

And if you were fortunate enough to not experience a lot of that, let this be a fair warning that it could be you the next time around.

So, how do you keep your finances in good shape while the world feels crazy? And why should you? Well, you definitely should focus on keeping your finances in good shape during an unstable time because you just don’t know what the end game will be and you want to be able to come out of a tough time with as little damage as possible.

It’s also never too late to start getting your finances in better order.

I also feel like I need to point out something. What IS good order of finances? Well, I don’t think it looks the same for everyone. I think we can all agree being massively in debt where you can’t even make the payments is bad. I think we can all agree the less debt you have, the better. But is there only a one size fits all when it comes to good finances?

I don’t believe so and I’ll tell you why. You see, everyone’s life is different and there are a lot of different variables. Some of us live in high cost areas, some of us have less expenses. Some of us have many kids, others have none. Some of us have good paying jobs and others are barely scraping by with minimum wage.

So you can only do what you can do with the cards you are given. Don’t compare your finances to someone else. You may never get to where you can put half of your income away, or where your budget allows extreme wiggle room. That’s okay. The goal is to live within your means and for some that looks like barely any extra money after everything is paid for.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR FINANCES IN GOOD SHAPE WHEN LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE

 

Don’t go on shopping sprees.

Okay, I’m just gonna get real here. In our country during this time many people lost their jobs. Our government offered financial support while people were out of work. Obviously people need to eat and so that was the thought behind it. While some definitely have been using it for that, others have been enjoying some shopping sprees. Here’s the deal – eventually that money runs out. And we just don’t know what things will look like going forward. When life is unpredictable avoid going shopping to make yourself feel better during this time.

Stock up the cupboards and pantry.

So, in our house we are preparing our cupboards and pantry for the winter, but also we are adding in extra food that we can because my husband will be going for a minor surgery this fall that will put him out of work for a few weeks. That means no paycheck and so in an effort to reduce the burden of our monthly expenses we are loading up on food to avoid the grocery store. We will also be eating out of the pantry mostly for the time he is not at work. The surgery is a circumstance we can see coming and therefore we have time to prepare.

Another benefit to stocking up your pantry is that if there are food shortages in the future (which, has been a topic in the news) you will be in good shape. Now, I’m not advocating for hoarding. Hoarding contributes to the food shortages. But stocking up for a few months and hoarding are two very different things.

Analyze your budget.

Now is a great time to analyze your budget and look at what can go. Do you have magazine subscriptions? What about multiple TV streaming services? Maybe cut one streaming service out for the time being. Give your budget a hard look and really be honest with yourself on what you absolutely need and what can go.

Cut back on your grocery bill.

You want to cut back on expenses where you can and the grocery bill is a great way to do that. Use coupon apps like Checkout51. Shop the sales. Limit your trips to the store to avoid buying things you don’t need. Stick to a list. Make a meal plan.

Build up a savings fund if you can.

If money is beyond tight you may struggle to do this, but even if you have a little money it can be good to put money away. If 10 dollars is all you can do a paycheck, remember that 10 dollars is better than nothing.

Right now I put a little money away for our Christmas fund. I don’t know what things will look like close to December and I don’t want to be in a situation where I don’t know how I will pay for Christmas gifts or food. Again, it doesn’t need to be a lot, even a small amount each paycheck can make a difference.

PLAN BUT DON’T PANIC

I got to be honest, a few months ago when I went to the grocery store and couldn’t find yeast, toilet paper, flour, and some types of meat I never imagined that could happen where I live.  It had me re-think a lot of how I plan for what could happen.

And so while I have practiced frugal living for years I found it time to add a bit of stocking up and really cutting back on buying things that aren’t necessary.

Now, that’s not to say we’ve completely cut out buying things that aren’t necessities.  But we’ve really had to think about each purchase we make and whether it’s something we should be buying right now.  Sometimes we decide it is a good investment for our family, but other things are on the back burner and will wait for now.

In the meantime we are stocking up our cupboards, building up a small emergency fund, and preparing for what could come.  But the truth is, I can’t be prepared for everything and I don’t want to panic.  I can only do what I can do and I have to trust God for the rest, and so that’s what I’m trying to do.

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