During times of uncertainty a focus on long-term sustainability needs to replace short term thinking. Rather than rushing to fix things, take a slower approach – assess what you have and identify exactly what you need to get through the next three to six months. A monthly calendar or planner can be very helpful to track your needs and progress.
If you have a steady income, actively seek ways to reduce overhead expenses and unnecessary costs. Build up your emergency savings account, while paying the minimum on any revolving debt or loans. The goal is to reduce your living expenses under 70% or less and stash as much as you can into your savings. Keep very little cash on hand, since it can be lost, stolen or damaged and can’t be replaced.
If your job has been eliminated or hours reduced, look for ways to minimize your consumption of goods and services. Reach out to creditors as soon as possible and inquire about options for deferrals, assistance or community resources available. Find ways to borrow, exchange or barter with neighbors or friends for equipment, repairs or other needs.
Protect your hard earned reserves and keep them at arm’s’ length. Avoid over buying food, household supplies or beauty products/services. Once you exchange money for a good or service, it loses its value. Few possessions will increase in value over time and that could take years. Look for discounts, consignment stores or online marketplaces to purchase any must have items. Seek out opportunities to sell things you no longer need or provide a service to help make ends meet in the short-term.
During challenging times we quickly realize what matters most and what we can live without. Find ways to enjoy the people and hobbies you love. Clean out your closets, your garage, your yard and your mind. Surround yourself with reminders of the people, places and experiences that bring you joy.