Coronavirus: The one word that has changed more lives in the year 2020 than all of our New Years' Resolutions combined.
From the news to our news feeds. From classrooms to our communities. From our friends to our families.
We have all been bombarded with more than our fair share of information.
However, one thing appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself and that is fear.
There are two types of fear. First is the kind of fear that brings wisdom with its lessons.
This type of fear keeps us from jumping into the lion's cage at the local zoo. That type of fear is also rational.
It keeps us safe and provides information we can actively recall to make sound decisions.
On the other hand, there is a second type of fear. One that is irrational. This is the type of fear that most children have. The fear that convinces them that there is a monster in the closet or underneath the bed.
Such fear paralyzes you and keeps you up at night. It does not provide lessons, but can lead to loads of stress and poor decision making.
We understand that during these trying times the easy thing to do is to believe you are helpless.
Our healthcare system is being stretched thin, our economy is experiencing a downturn, and there is a pandemic on our hands!
Well now, relax. Take a deep breath. How about another? Instead of focusing on what you cannot control let's shift our perspective to what we can control.
You have so much more power than you think.
Here are five steps that you can actively take to help lessen the blow of this crisis. We call them the five steps to Coronavirus Crisis Control.
1. Get on a budget
If you haven't already created a budget then right now is the time to start. However, if you already have a normal budget then great, you'll just need to focus on altering your budget to accommodate your urgent needs. The budget for this moment will be called our crisis budget. It is one that we use when there are deviations from our normal budget due to some urgent external factor such as coronavirus. This budget is going to focus primarily on the four main areas of our lives that are absolute necessities. These necessities include your food, utilities, housing, and transportation. If you are able to stay fed, have a place to sleep, the lights are still on, and you can get yourself to work (if applicable) or the grocery store that frees up some mental space to function.
After taking care of those urgent needs you can then begin focusing on the next tier of important items such as cell phone bills, internet, and contributing to your savings. Here's an interesting article to check out with tips to help you get out of debt fast.
Related reading: Budgeting 101: How To Create A Budget
2. Increase cash flow during coronavirus crisis
This is the best time to side hustle like no one's business. Adding additional income will help no matter which part of this financial journey you are on.
If you are paying down debt, additional income can be helpful for making minimum payments or making significant strides in eliminating debts.
If you are out of debt, additional income will be helpful for increasing your clutch fund or investing. Currently, several companies are hiring to meet the increasing consumer demand.
If you are quarantined or feel more comfortable at home, there are numerous opportunities available from home. Take this time to do some spring cleaning.
Look through those old closets and drawers and pack up any unused/good conditioned items and get them online to sell.
Some additional online income streams include focus groups, online tutoring (tons of kiddos are home right now!) and surveys. There are many, many more opportunities for extra cash flow.
Do a quick google search for some inspiration. Our advice is to apply for everything and go with the option/options that best meet your needs.
3. Push pause on paying down debt
Creditors aren't going anywhere so they can wait just a little bit longer. Besides, if money is low you will not be able to pay them anyway, right? This is the perfect time to get on the phone and call your loan servicers for some relief.
If you are able to pay the minimum on all of your bills, keep going. On the other hand, if you are not able at this time do not stress over them.
Focus on yourself, your family, and the ones you love. When you are able to get back on track keep moving forward with your debt snowball.
4. Cut back on the expenses
Now more than ever is a time to reduce consumption. From the foods you eat, to the electricity you use, and the overall money that you spend. One of the first places to reduce will be our subscriptions. This is mainly directed to subscriptions that we pay for monthly (Netflix, Hulu, etc). For most of us our gym memberships are already on pause and restaurants are open only for delivery and take-out.
During this time of social distancing spend more quality time at home cooking meals together as a family. For those of you who want to continue supporting local businesses (such as restaurants), if your finances permit, go for it!
Overall, you want to comb through every area where you have excess and try to make an adjustment. The most crucial piece of this will be your old faithful budget. Consult with your budget, adjust, and reconcile.
5. Prioritize your health
One of the best ways to stay grounded comes with overall well-being. And guess what, this part is FREE!! This can be accomplished through prayer, meditation, exercise, proper nutrition, a connection to a church or community group or a host of other positive influences. No matter which one or combination you choose make sure you make it a priority to check-in with yourself daily. Your well-being is linked to a variety of positive outcomes, but most notably disease prevention, productivity, and health promotion. There are multiple mediation apps, some of which have free trials. The Calm app is a great option for meditation. Be sure to search for promotional codes and also consult your budget prior to purchasing the paid version of these applications. Exercise has shown significant results in increasing endorphins, which elevate the mood and burning calories that can combat some of the potential negative effects of quarantine. Yes, sitting around the house, eating as much as you can (including all the leftovers that were supposed to be saved for another time) can lead to weight gain. Let us not come out of this crisis happy but physically unhealthy. Let us spend this time focusing on what matters the most. For example, our health, wellness, and positive mental state should be priorities during this coronavirus crisis.
Additionally, if it’s in your budget and you can get one, buy a smartphone sanitizer. Amazon has them and it is a great product to help keep your phone and other small devices clean.
Coronavirus – Our final words
In conclusion, fear is a choice. Most importantly, one can choose to live in fear or one can go with the positive alternative: faith.
Faith is more contagious than fear and even more contagious than the coronavirus.
That is to say, faith gives us the ability to see beyond the clouds and gives us hope. During these uncertain economic times it is imperative to combat fear with faith.
Therefore, whatever happens is going to happen. Most importantly, why not have an approach that eliminates stress and places you in the best position to make wise choices.
Certainly, it is easy to have faith when you have a plan in place.
We are not going through a coronavirus crisis, we are growing through it.
That is to say, changing our mindset through these difficult times will have a positive impact on our lives. Most importantly, we will all grow stronger by keeping faith.
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