Many people think that managing, understanding, assessing personal finance is a tough nut to crack. It’s actually not that difficult when you’re well prepared and most importantly aware of your financial situation.
The corona virus pandemic is the ‘rainy day’ finance experts warned us about all along.
But who would have anticipated this situation. Max we prepared our personal finance for was the likes of a broken car and a hospital visit. But now the economy is being hit, and that unfortunately has and will further result in a lot of pay cut and job loss.
Smartness is in holding onto all that you got, and not splurging. Now more than ever, it has become important to make necessary preparations and readjustments to our personal finance to be ready to take on any fiddly situation. I did an extensive self-analysis and research on how to manage your personal finances around the third week of March. Around the early days of the lockdown in India to keep my boat afloat using few tips from a lot of financial experts, including my mom and dad and a few friends! 😉
I’ve also spoken to some professionals in my network recently and gathered their advice and experience. After all, it’s best to learn from each other’s experiences, ain’t it?
Dive in to read the tips that may help you reassess your financial situation:
Analyse the last 3 months spending
Everyone has a different spending pattern. Some splurge like there’s no tomorrow, some save, some don’t bother so much at all. You need to sit down and analyse your spending pattern.
Answer questions like do you need to make any changes, do you really need annual subscription for all those entertainment channels, do you really need to pay your credit card bills? (Yes, the answer is YES!)
When you analyse, you will exactly understand where your money flows. This will help you plan not only for tomorrow, but also for when the lockdown opens. (Hopefully, soon.)
Analysing for a quarter is a good idea, it almost has answers to all your questions and well, it’s your most recent spending history. Do it, it helps!
Do not touch your savings
Seriously, do not touch your savings. Don’t invest in stocks, don’t buy electronics because there’s sale, don’t splurge on clothes because there’s 90% off. Just don’t spend. Hold still!
Think of your savings as the ventilator you will need when things go south. So do not touch your savings. Period.
Foresee your expenses
It’s always a good idea to foresee your expenses. Think of all the things that can go wrong, and be prepared for it.
We’re literally in a pandemic, now more than ever we need to believe that things do go wrong and the best we can do is prepare to survive them.
So, evaluate situations based on their importance. What will be your expenses? The obvious one’s are groceries, medicines, bills, rent. But think beyond like how are your electronics doing. If you’re working from home your laptop is sailing your boat, so how is your laptop doing? Is your refrigerator in good condition? (There’s water leaking from my fridge, and this scares the hell out of me!)
Think about all of this once. It will help you immensely.
Pay EMI & Credit card bills
I strongly believe in debt free living. Debt is a burden that most of us find the most difficult to carry. So, it’s only wise to pay it off as soon as you can.
EMIs and credit card bills only keep making your expenses bigger with their interest rates. I’ve learnt it the hard way. I used to never use credit cards, neither did I ever have any debt. But then sometimes I used to buy an expensive dress or something with my credit card and forget to pay it. I was very ignorant towards my credit card bills, I never paid them on time. That’s when my husband sat me down and explained what’s happening because of it. It was an eye opener.
That’s when I decided no matter what, the first thing I would do on receiving any bill is – Pay it off!
Freelance to earn that extra ₹
A lot of businesses are hiring freelance professionals. It saves them overhead costs and there’s much more flexibility with freelancers. Freelancing benefits both brands and professionals.
So, go look for that one extra project. Or just consult for free to build good network. Earning that extra ₹ now will go a long way.
Also, if a lot of companies adopt the work from home culture, freelancing is going to pick up pace in India too. So be ahead of the game and start now!
Avoid panic buying
Don’t panic buy anything. Not even groceries. We Indians are lucky as we have stores at every corner of the lane. There will always be enough for all of us.
Moreover, if you don’t panic buy, you leave something behind for someone who really needs it.
Panic buying can result in a lot of food wastage, creates food shortage and that’s the last thing we want now. Buy only what you need, plan a trip to the market once in 15 days. This not just helps others but also saves you a lot of money. It’s a win-win.
Prepare an emergency fund
Yes, prepare an emergency fund. I don’t know whether you have one right now or not, but start it if you don’t. An emergency fund needs to cover expenses for your family for at least six months if not more.
Start putting aside whatever you can. This emergency fund will help you when you most need it. Your future self will thank you for this. <3
Make a monthly budget module
Earn, create, implement, review.
A monthly budget module will put things in perspective. It’s pretty easy to do actually, first you earn, then you create a finance plan, then implement it over the month, and at the end of the month review it.
This will not only help you now, but also when you have a lot of money to handle and it gets a bit overwhelming to track. So, build this habit now.
I’m sure with following these simple financial tips you can take on any personal finance hurdles thrown at you.
Here are the beautiful advices and experiences shared by some extremely kind, hard-working people: (Click on their names to visit their profile)
Lakshmi Sharath Travel Blogger How are you managing your finances? I have a budget planned in the beginning of my month and I label it under different heads. I don’t have a spreadsheet but I check my bank balance and the statement to see if any of these have increased. If I tend to overspend in any category then I tend to adjust it with something else. I also have a budget planned for travel, work as well and I don’t mix my personal and professional budgets. I plan my budget for these every three months based on income. I am obviously not travelling now but it’s also a very lean period to earn and so that there is a balance there. I am trying not to dip into my savings. Advice to others? I am not the best to give advice but one thing is to be very careful on what you are spending. We are basically mindless when we spend and now this emergency has made me pay attention to the finances and also has also made me feel very mindful of my expenses.
The Wicked Soul Content Creator How are you managing your finances? I manage my entire finances on an excel sheet. Generally, I maintain a list of my monthly income and simply split them up into Investments (mutual funds), Upcoming fixed expenses (groceries, EMIs, travel etc), and annual/quarterly expenses (Health Insurance, Life insurance etc.) And I splurge what’s left after. Now, due to the lockdown, all incomes & splurging is on hold ☹ Time to fall back on my emergency fund. Advice to others? 1. Create a Rainy Day fund. You should have enough cash to cover you for 6 months in case of an emergency. Never dip into this account for anything unless its an emergency. 2. Invest!! Mutual Funds are one of the simplest ways to build for the future. 3. It’s never too late to start, no matter what they say.
Juhee Mehta Dentist How are you managing your finances? Firstly by constantly controlling and supervising the accounts. Create a particular budget and to consolidate the debt. Slashing and removing unnecessary expenses and by reviewing and understanding the credit reports. When do you see your clinic opening back to normal? Well, the union health ministry has issued guidelines for dental professionals in view of the ongoing pandemic. It states that the clinics in containment zone are to be shut and the ones in other zones can only perform emergency cases (swelling, bleeding,etc). Since, dentistry field is to deal with saliva, blood which are rich in viral load, only selective treatments are allowed. The treatments producing aerosols are evacuated. It will take a long time for the things to get back to normal, or you can say, this is the new normal. Advice to others? Advice to other patients is to maintain the oral health by regular flossing, brushing twice a day and using mouth wash. In case of dental help seek a tele consultancy with your dentist. Advice to other dentists? Use a proper sterilization protocol to prevent any cross infection. Take a thorough case history of patient on the dental chair. Wear a proper PPE kit & use N95 mask & treat every patient with due precaution. All elective/routine treatments should be deferred until new set of guidelines are issued. Advice for everyone in general? Stay home, stay safe! 😇
Yash Joshi Researcher How do you manage your finances? I manage my finances using a spreadsheet. It has formulas for everything. So I exactly know the money in my bank and also know how much debt I am in. Knowing that money that exists in the bank isn't actually there when I subtract the debts. This helps me overspending. Advice to others? Safety net: First thing everyone needs to do is create a safety fund. Develop a safety fund in your account so that your entire family can survive for 12 months atleast without any income. After that maybe you can think of splurging a bit. Investing: "Invest in appreciating assets not depreciating ones" Electronics, cars are depreciating assets. They break your capital quickly than you realize. Invest on learning new skill. Invest in long term plans/mutual funds/stocks. Invest in SIPs . You can start investing in an SIP as low as Rs. 1000 a month.
Rahul Jawahrani Business Strategy & Management Consultant How do you manage your finances? I’ve always focused on fiscal prudence, much before Covid. Since I have no liabilities- I manage to invest 40% of my pay check in SIPs & mutual funds. Today I feel secure knowing that even if things go bad, I am assured. I manage to keep my personal expenses - partying, going out to upto 20% of my pay check. I contribute 20% of my pay check at home and the other 20% is work related expenses. Advice to others? You need a robust financial roadmap. That you need to modify basis your life situation & you need to commit to it. Any other thoughts? Since I’ve worked with IBM, I’ve been used to working from home. I always strongly advocated enterprise mobility. Just most people are new to it hence going out of the way to justify their productivity. When we get used to it, things should be fine. WFH also enables companies to keep their opex low & helps employees have greater flexibility with time & more money in the hands. Also it’s good for the environment since lesser congestion on roads & lower carbon emissions. What id like to add - business cycles are temporary. Yes Covid has a huge financial impact but the fundamentals of our business are robust so let’s keep the faith & work hard!
Sandesh Mokal Entrepreneur How do you manage your finances? I live by a simple rule when it comes to managing my finance. 50/30/20 RULE Spend 50% of your net income on your needs i.e. House rent, groceries, utilities, gas etc. Spend 30% of your net income on your wants. Yes there is a huge difference between needs and wants. Wants are something you can live without but with a slight inconvineince, like shopping, going to the movies, dinning out, travelling etc. Save and invest the remaining 20%. Make a recurring deposit, SIP etc. Advice to others? Live by the 50/30/20 rule.