How to overcome budgeting challenges!

Author : teriann

Now more than ever before , those who put away funds for hard times are happy that they made those important steps to safeguard their financial future.  In other words, ‘It’s rough out there people!’

Financial Woes!

Despite the slowing down or closure of several sectors, persons are still expected to find the money to meet their daily needs. This added stress has no doubt caused additional tension on families who may have already struggled to make ends meet. Some persons have the extra challenge of trying to provide for their families with either a reduced or no income.  For those families, this time has hit extra hard so what can they do?

Some persons will qualify for government assistance. It’s a good idea to be alert to information released by the government and discern which locations are being used as disbursement centres, what day you should go and what identification is necessary before you attempt to collect. What though if you don’t qualify for governmental assistance?

Be Creative

Take stock of what needs you can fill in your community if you need a new source of income.  Often we forget that the resilience of Jamaicans as a people, has taken us through rough times, including economic upheavals, natural disasters and various illnesses.

Do you have a car or other means of transportation? Well then there are several delivery options that are available to you. Many persons are opting for having their groceries delivered to avoid shopping trips. As a result, they might appreciate a budget friendly alternative to getting their goods delivered.

Are you handy with a sewing machine? Can you make masks? Several businesses have branched out in this area, as wearing masks have become mandatory in all public spaces. If you look around and evaluate your assets, then I am sure that you can find other ways that you can earn.  It won’t be easy, but this is not the time to roll over either, get positive and get out there.

Budgeting with a reduced income

Those who have a reduced income should not simply spend as if things are the same as they were before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important to look for ways to cut spending, so that the dollar can stretch even farther. Some places have been hosting farmer’s markets and consumers have benefited from the reduced prices. If that is not an option in your community, you can also try and make direct contact as there are many farmers eager to get rid of their surplus produce, some even going as far as destroying excess goods.

Since you now have children at home from school, the challenge is also to provide them with nutritious food, but not break your budget while doing so. My suggestion is to get the children involved. They can use the grocery list to help them decide on dinner and lunch plans. Impress on children, especially older ones, that there are sacrifices that all will have to be made in the short run, so that in the long term you will be able to continue to provide for the family.   For younger kids, make it a fun game and reduce snacking by repackaging one snack to share for several servings.  This means one big bag of chips can be separated into smaller bags or for an even healthier option substitute fruits anytime they ask for snacks.

Ask for help

As you continue to struggle, remember you are not alone. If you have financial obligations such as loans, call the financial institution, as many have allowed customers to make either less payments or none altogether until a later date. Most of the time only a phone call is needed to adjust the terms of your loan so as to benefit from the arrangement.  This means extra money in your budget. At least until you get back on your feet.

So how are you managing to overcome your budgeting challenges during this time? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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