Budgeting during Lockdown!

Author : teriann

As the financial landscape across countries all over the world has changed drastically overnight with the spread of COVID-19, persons are now being forced to change the way they budget. During the current virus pandemic many difficult decisions regarding budget have had to be made by families, businesses and governments. For example, what are necessities and what are luxuries? What can we live without?

These questions might have had different answers if they were asked just a few weeks or days ago. Today consumers have had to reevaluate their finances to determine how they will spend their resources.

Job Security

Since tourism has ground to a halt with widespread closures of hotels all around the world, including here in Jamaica, hospitality workers are facing severe job losses. This is also true for those who work in the service industry and others who depend on making sales to make their living. Fortunately, there have been measures announced by the government of Jamaica in an effort to cushion  the financial blow caused by the COVID-19 fallout, however here are some practical steps that you can take now to ensure that you stay within a budget.

Tips to help you Budget:

(1) Shop less often – Well, obviously most communities are already on board with this as most people are staying home. This does not mean you should buy out the store however, just make each trip count. Have a list ready and get staples such as flour, rice, milk, bread and tinned items. This will enable you develop a wide range of nutritious meals.

(2) Make Meal Plans - Those with special dietary needs must ensure that they plan their meals before they go shopping,so that they don’t run out of the items that they need and have to make repeat visits to the store in a short time. Spending time constructing these meal plans will also help to break the monotony and stress that can be caused by being quarantined.

(3) Avoid online shopping for luxury items- Whereas there is a tendency is to be online more, since a number of entertainment areas are closed, avoid the desire to spend money at this time on items that you do not need.  That new pair or shoes or latest electronic gadget is a luxury right now that you can do without.  Trust me you might need that extra cash!

(4) Have a family meeting - There might be other things that get affected long after the fight for the virus is over, so as a family decide on ways to cut back now and continue to do so even when the restrictions have eased.

(5) Stash some cash – Even as you spend to ensure that your family has enough to eat and other basic needs met, put aside some emergency cash. It is hard to do this of course, but having an emergency stash is always a good idea.

On another note, ‘each one help one’ so if your neighbour needs an item that you have a surplus of, be a good neighbour and share! Above all else, follow the guidelines about social distancing, washing your hands and staying home.

Be healthy!

Let me hear how you are budgeting under lock down! Drop me a line below!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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