Managing Money During the Pandemic: Essential Advice

Stores and businesses have shut down, new regulations have been put into place, and the world has changed in ways we never expected. 

There have been many changes in the Tampa Bay area and in all parts of the world due to the pandemic. Being faced with these uncertain times has landed many people and families in hardship. Many have lost jobs and everyone has lost their social stability. 

If you’re unsure how you’ll continue managing money during the pandemic, then you’ll want to continue reading below. This guide covers essential advice about how to save and survive financially when you thought all financial hope was lost. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Create a Realistic Budget

If you need to control your money and manage it wisely, then you need to create a budget for yourself. Make sure this budget is realistic as well. The budget should provide you with enough money to pay all your bills and have some leftover for other necessities. 

When creating your budget, take into consideration all factors. You’ll need to write down your monthly income, expenses, and spending habits. There are different online tools or apps you can download to help you create a budget plan and then stick to it. 

Once you have a basic budget plan written out, you can then make changes to it as you go if needed. 

Keep a Spending Diary

notebook and pencil on table with cup of coffee

A spending diary is going to be the easiest way to keep track of all your spending. Even if you have an app connected to your bank account, you need to write down each time you spend money, including the amount, date, and location. Not all transactions will clear in your bank account statement right away.

This can be confusing and makes the exact dollar amount in your account difficult to stay on top of. Your mobile banking app won’t keep track of each time you make a purchase with cash either. Keep a pen and paper on you at all times to create a spending diary, or have a note on your phone. 

A spending diary will tell you exactly how much money you have, how much you’ve spent, and what items you spent it on. You can then look back at the diary and determine where you can start saving money. 

Review Your Accounts Weekly

If you don’t already have a mobile banking app, then it’s time to download one. Banking apps are secure and give you access to your accounts via your cell phone. Once you have the app downloaded, be sure to review your accounts weekly. 

This will not only help you stay on top of all your spending and anything you may have missed in your spending diary, but it also allows you to catch any discrepancies. If you see a transaction that doesn’t match with your spending diary, then you’ll want to further investigate it. 

During these hard times, you want to keep every penny that belongs to you. Even if it’s just a small transaction, be sure to call the bank and question it. Some fraudulent activity starts out as small amounts and then works its way up to bigger amounts. 

Stop it as soon as you see it. 

Write Out a List of Priorities

Because your finances might be a bit tight right now, you should write out a list of priorities. What purchases are essential and which ones can wait? Can you save money by buying bulk grocery items rather than stopping at a fast-food restaurant?

Is that new t-shirt necessary, or would your money be better spent on laundry detergent or placed in a savings account? Write your list of priorities out so you can make sure you make the most important purchases first. You should even give yourself an amount to put into savings each paycheck and put this on the top of your priority list. 

Save What You Can

hand dropping coins into piggy bank

Putting money into a savings account might not be the easiest thing to do right now, but when banking with a credit union in the Tampa Bay area, you’ll be able to see a faster-growing interest on your savings. 

Put as much money as possible into a savings account either each paycheck or each month. Even five dollars is better than nothing. When a financial emergency happens, you’ll have some money there to act as a cushion. 

Take Advantage of Available Resources

There are many resources available to you during these hard times. Apply for unemployment benefits if you qualify, look into free lunches for your children at their schools, contact military relief societies if a veteran or in the military and affected by the virus, and speak with your financial institution as well. 

Many banks are willing to work with their customers during these times. If you’re having trouble paying rent at the moment, there are programs to help you with rent as well. 

Make sure you do your research and know what resources are made available to you and then take advantage of them. 

Make the Right Switch

The last word of advice for managing money during the pandemic is to make the right switch to a credit union in Tampa Bay that’ll provide you the type of financial services you need. There are several benefits of choosing to bank with a credit union. Credit unions tend to have lower interest rates on loans, higher rates on savings accounts, and more personalized assistance.

You can even schedule an appointment to sit down with an advisor at the bank who can provide you with more money-management advice. 

The Pandemic Won’t Stop You From Managing Money Properly

Managing money properly is hard enough, but with a pandemic amongst us, it’s become even more difficult. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from managing your money properly. Use the advice listed above to start managing it today.

Are you ready for a better financial future? Banking with a credit union is a great way to start managing your finances in a way that’s beneficial to you.

Click here to see how Bay Area Credit Unions can help you!