How To Survive 2020 Financially – 15 Things That You Can Do Now.
With 2020 getting worse by the second and a constant hint of a recession is looming in the background, I think there should be a guide on how to survive this year. ?
Raise your hands if you feel me! ?
So in this post, I’m trying my best to share some financial strategies that you can do now to help you be more protected financially if the year gets worse – let’s be honest, we are all still waiting for the good news….
I’ll share what I’ve found on some tips given by the experts as well as the experience that I had that has helped me along the way. Plus, the steps I took ever since Coronavirus had started to lessen my household expenditure.
I know that Coronavirus has been brutal to a lot of people and I’m so sorry if you have in any way being affected by this unfortunate event. I hope each and every one of my reader is doing well and staying safe with their families ❤️
Now, if you’re ready to face the second half of 2020 head-on, then let’s get right to it! ?
How To Survive 2020 (Financially) – 15 Steps To Secure Your Money
1. Budget Everything
If you’ve read my previous posts, I always include having a budget when it comes to money management. Having a budget makes you spend on important things.
Budgeting during this time is important as ever.
You don’t want to be overspending on things that you barely use.
According to Nerdwallet, you can create a budget in only 5 steps:
Step 1: Determine your take-home salary
This is the money that you get from your employer after all the deductions have been made.
You don’t want to be basing your budget on a $1,000 salary but in reality that $,1000 becomes $700 because of deductions for a 401(K) and health insurance.
Take note of the money that you make on side hustles or second jobs as well.
Step 2: Pick a budgeting plan
Whatever the budgeting plan that you decide to go with, make sure it covers all your important needs – savings, emergency fund, investments, monthly groceries, etc.
Step 3: Track your progress
What’s the use of having a budget plan if you don’t write down what you spend, right? It’s important to track your purchases so that you can see where the majority of your money goes to.
And yes, even the small purchases too! Especially this. Why? Because you might think that you’re not spending a lot on these small purchases but it gradually compounds over time.
It’s in this step that people quit living on a budget. I’m not gonna lie, tracking every expense can really be a chore. But it’s needed when we want to really live on a budget.
Step 4: Automate your savings
It’s not just tracking that’s a hassle when living on a budget, transferring money to certain savings and emergency funds can be tiring too.
So what NerdWallet suggested is to automate your account to transfer money into different accounts immediately. It rids you the effort of doing it manually.
Step 5: Revisit your budget
Don’t be surprised if you sometimes go overboard your budget – it’s bound to happen. But make sure you revisit step 3 and see where you spent a lot that month. Think whether it was necessary to spend that much money on it.
In the book All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime, the author mentioned a budget plan called “50/30/20 budget rule”.
That budget plan is plain and simple. The budget tells you to note your take-home salary after taxes and allocate 50% of it on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% to savings.
But hardcore budget people switched this budget plan up, they changed it to 50% on needs, 30% on savings, and 20% to savings.
If you’re new to budgeting and not sure how to start one, grab my FREE Yearly Budgeting Template below to get started 🙂 It’s the EXACT template I use in my everyday budgeting.
2. Save For An Emergency Fund
Since more businesses closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners were forced to lay off their employees..
It’s not just the small businesses that were affected, even big companies from various sectors were forced to release some of their staffs to keep the company afloat. I know too many friends who had been laid off in the past months ?
My heart goes to the employees who were laid off. I sure do hope that they saved up for an emergency fund. ❤️
It’s times like this that we’re grateful for allocating money to our emergency fund.
We might think that we’re putting all this money into a fund that we barely use but emergencies happen to everyone. And the best way to combat it and to cushion its financial hit would be having an emergency fund ready.
If you don’t have an emergency fund right now, this needs to be your #1 priority.
Here are four steps to start your emergency fund:
Step 1: Determine how much you should save
Experts believe that you should aim to save up at least 6 months’ worth of your expenses (Ramit Sethi says a year worth). But it will still depend on your goal. Right now, the bigger the emergency fund, the better.
An emergency fund covers unexpected events that may hit you financially if you’re not prepared for it. These events are medical expenses, home renovations, being laid off at work, car repairs, and the likes.
Step 2: Know where you should keep your fund
You want to have a separate account for your savings and emergency fund.
Since you’re going to pour a good amount of money to that fund, you don’t want to be tempted to use some of it – so it’s better to have a separate account that you don’t often see. Out of sight, out of mind.
I personally opened up another savings account just for my emergency fund. It’s easy for me to put money in but it’s gonna be just slightly harder for me to use the money. I need to go to the bank and withdraw from the counter BUT I can still get the money on the spot.
Step 3: What situations will you use this fund
This is one question that you should be clear about. Be specific in determining what’s an emergency for you and what isn’t.
This is important so that you’ll know the situations that you have your fund ready for.
And no, going to that impromptu trip with friends isn’t supposed to come out from your emergency fund.
Step 4: Continue building that fund
If you’ve reached your target emergency fund, don’t stop there. Because as you grow older, your situation changes. You don’t stay stagnant in life, you constantly progress.
But what you can do is to lower your allocation if you’ve reached your goal. If you want to continue contributing to your emergency fund with the same amount, the better!
I would personally build it till it hit 1 year’s worth of expenses then use the emergency fund allocation to invest in other things.
3. Add More Income Streams
Adding more income streams allows you to save more, put more in your emergency fund, and obviously to increase the inflow of money to your account.
Although this can be in the form of a second job, a business, or a side hustle, your main goal is still your current job.
A second income stream is just a supplement to your main source of income.
That extra $500-$1000 that you make can be a lot of help when it comes to your savings and emergency funds.
Although I advocate saving money and living frugal, one of my favorite financial topics would be making money ?
In this time of writing, I have made 18 blog posts on how to make money.
To be honest with you, these were the topics that I was extremely unfamiliar with before. But you can literally learn anything if you put your mind to it. So I’m sharing all the things that I’ve learned and break them down into easy-to-follow guides!
Plus, the usual points that I write down are not just theories and strategies taken from different authors and bloggers, most of the points listed there were done by me personally. This makes me point out the pros and cons genuinely.
For example on that Affiliate Marketing Guide, I didn’t just read that from a book. All things that were written there are experiences and learnings that I have picked up along the way as an affiliate marketer. 🙂
Anyway, back to making money…
If you’re stuck at home because of this coronavirus pandemic, and you don’t have any money that’s coming in your account as of the moment, then I recommend reading my post – 6 Best Online Jobs From Home.
There I listed the best and famous online jobs right now. I’ve written down job descriptions and skills that you have to know before applying for that job. To add to that, I even added an estimate of the job’s salary ?
If you don’t want another job, you could start these businesses in the comforts of your own home.
My favorites on that list would be number 3! And with number 2, it does require some skill and talent but it’s often overlooked!
Most people don’t know that some of the items that they’re constantly buying can be easily made in their own homes.
Adding another income stream is nice and exciting to read about but one thing’s for sure, it requires your time and effort. But if you’re willing to give out those things, having more income streams will be beneficial for you!
4. Reduce Your Expenses
Probably a no-brainer. If we want to be financially prepared, we must be willing to make sacrifices daily.
Especially in these trying times wherein a lot of people are being left jobless and businesses are closing left and right, saying no to a lot of things to save money is important.
Why? Because of the probability that the company you’re working in might declare a massive lay off. Or your business might take a hit financially since fewer people are willing to spend.
When you’re trying to cut expenses, shopping falls under your “wants” category which means they are not essential. You can live your life without doing such activity for a few months. I believe in you! 🙂
We often forget that we can live the same quality of life without spending too much. In fact, if you get to save more, you’re putting yourself in a better financial position already in the future.
5. Live Below Your Means
If you’ve always wanted to try this out, today is the perfect day to start it.
Since some businesses are still shut down and going outside seems like a health risk, it’s the time to test out whether you can live below your means or not. It’s a great time to start this because the “odds and situations” are with you.
In my post on how to live a frugal lifestyle, I’ve listed 8 ways on how to do it. Those are 8 ways on how you can be smart and economical with your money. ?
To live frugal doesn’t mean to be cheap, it’s a lifestyle that makes you be more mindful when it comes to spending your money.
Here are some benefits to living below your means:
Less financial stress
I believe this can help a lot of people as well. Financial stress can come from debt, where to get rent money, being jobless, and other things. To live below your means allows you to save more money and spend on things that matter.
It rids you of unnecessary stress.
Avoid financial pitfalls
Most people get into debt because they spend money on things they can’t afford. They also get into credit card debt because they kept swiping until the balance has become too big for them to pay. Living below your means makes you spend only on the things that matter.
More money for savings, investments, and emergency funds
When living frugally, you’re able to place more money on those three things. Having savings, investments and emergency funds can only put you in a better financial situation in the future. Rather than splurging money on every sale, why not put that shopping money on something that can compound?
6. Learn About Investing
There are a lot of investment vehicles that investors can utilize to compound their money. When it comes to investing, most of us would think about the stock market but there are many more things that we can invest in – from bank products to bonds.
Here are the most common investments that you can partake in:
When you invest in a stock of a company, you’re already part of its growth and its decline. Plus you get to call yourself as a part-owner of that company ?
Stocks are “pieces” of a company that people can buy via the stock market. You get to compound your money if the company you invested in increases in stock value. The only way for the company’s stock to increase is when people keep buying its shares.
Bonds are used by companies, governments, and states to finance their projects and operations. They give out bonds to investors and in return, the investors give money to them.
In over a specific period of time, the government/companies will pay back the investors the principal amount plus interest! To know more about how bonds work, check out TD Ameritrade’s excellent video on it!
This is when your money is pooled with other investors and the investment team or portfolio manager will decide where to invest the pooled money to achieve monetary gains. This is where mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and money market funds belong.
This refers to the service that the bank offers to its clients like credit cards, cash management including savings account, lockbox accounts, check deposits, money market accounts, etc.
Investing in this account while still in the early part of your career is important. A 401(K) allows companies to offer retirement savings account to their employees. This investment account encourages employees to save for retirement.
7. Diversify Your Investments
Diversification is important when it comes to your portfolio because it lessens the risk of being too exposed to one investment.
With diversification, you don’t aim for the highest gains but you’re trying to control the risk that’s involved with every investment.
If ever the economy goes into a recession, you don’t want to be fully invested in stocks because most probably, the stock market will plunge too.
So to lessen that risk, you diversify your money to different investments mentioned above.
8. Cancel Or Suspend Those Subscriptions
With 2020 getting tougher by the week, you don’t want to waste your money on subscriptions and memberships that you barely use.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints these past months about their local gym billing them even though the establishment was shut down because of the pandemic.
There were also other subscriptions that kept billing their customers even though they didn’t give out content or provided any services.
Since we’re trying to save money as much as possible, we don’t want to waste them on something that we didn’t use. So check your recent billing statements because this might have happened to you too!
Some of the adjustments that I have personally done:
- Downgraded my mobile plan to the cheapest package – I knew that I’ll be spending more time at home, so I don’t think I’ll be needing those extras GBs for internet data.
- Suspended my house’s wifi subscription – Since I’ve been living with my parents throughout the lockdown, I’ve called up my internet provider to suspend my wifi subscription for 3 months. After that 3 months, I’m going to be renting out my house and will install the wifi there instead for the tenants 🙂
- Canceled my Netflix account – & my brother was generous enough to pay for the biggest package to be shared with the whole family!
9. Get That Stimulus Check
One of the government’s duties would be to look out after their citizens. And in this trying times, the citizens are waiting for the government to act.
It was reported that at the beginning of June, the IRS has released 30-35 million checks that are worth $1,200 to Americans. These checks will serve as assistance to families and individuals during this pandemic.
These stimulus checks are used to boost the economy by giving these checks to taxpayers.
The logic behind this act is so that the money that will be given to the taxpayers will be used to buy foods or essentials. In return, those purchases will benefit businesses.
And when businesses are doing well and fine, the economy will be good as well. They are called stimulus checks because they “stimulate” the economy.
If you’re from the US and you haven’t received any stimulus checks, you can head out to the IRS’ webpage dedicated to general information and FAQs about these stimulus packages.
10. Use Cash Over Cards
If we’re trying to save as much money as we can, the first thing we do is lessen our spending. The second thing would be to not add any more debt to our existing credit card balance.
When we use credit cards in any store, we tend to spend more than we should.
We overspend because we don’t worry about not having enough cash when paying on the counter.
There are several studies regarding consumer behavior relating to credit cards and cash. And these studies found out that the less transparent the transaction (using credit cards) the lesser it gives “pain” to consumers as compared to paying with money.
Although credit cards have increased the convenience of paying, most Americans have abused this payment method and ended up in debt instead.
If you think you can’t control your shopping impulses, leave your credit cards at home and stick with cash.
11. Be Smart When Doing Groceries
Bringing only cash when doing groceries makes you buy only the essentials. Having only cash as payment makes you stick to your grocery list.
I know bringing cash works because I’ve tried this myself ?
I’ve gone from overspending groceries to buying the exact groceries that will last me for a month.
You know how I did that transition? It’s number 2 on my blog post, 6 Effective Tips On Saving Money On Groceries!
I wrote a topic on how to save money on groceries because no matter your status in life is, you always buy groceries to feed yourself.
And for people who are keeping a close eye on their expenses, I know for sure that grocery bills take a big chunk of your monthly budget.
So check that article out, and try those tips as well! 😉
12. Invest In Yourself
For some people, work from home has given them the opportunity to have more time with their family and themselves.
Working from home rids the hassle of being stuck in traffic going to work and coming home. I personally LOVE this fact! Not a fan of traffic and commute! ?
The time stuck in traffic can now be used for relaxing, working on our side hustles, or putting that time to invest in ourselves.
Since we’re talking about how to survive 2020 financially, I recommend reading financial books to strengthen your financial foundation. Here are my Top 6 Financial Books To Read.
Having a strong financial foundation is like having solid bricks when building your house. If you have solid bricks, the house doesn’t just crumble immediately when faced with natural disasters. And just like in life, if you have a strong financial foundation, your finances wouldn’t easily fall if you encounter struggles and challenges.
13. Withdraw From Your Emergency Fund
If you’re down to your last penny or you think you need to really withdraw money, get a portion from your emergency fund.
If you were laid off or temporarily jobless because of this pandemic, this is where your emergency fund can be useful.
I could only hope that you did start an emergency fund before all of these happened ❤️
14. Adjust Your Lifestyle
A lot of people adjusted their lifestyles because of the current situation we are in. Nobody was spared – even actors and personalities were locked inside their homes.
But for us common but awesome people, we need to tweak some things in our lives as well.
To save money, delete those online shopping applications that you always go to. Food delivery? Try something new and learn to cook!
Whatever you’ve been spending money in the past years, try to think if maybe you can stop that for a while – so that you can maximize your income and place them into savings and investments.
15. Plan Ahead
Being able to plan ahead will make you more prepared when another emergency arises.
Plan your finances, set them straight, list down what needs to be paid, and where you can save money.
Planning and being ready will put you in a position to cushion any financial hit that you may encounter within the year.
2020 – Already A Year To Be Remembered
A lot has happened within the first 8 months of the year! First, it started with the massive bushfire in Australia wherein some animals got burnt and were wounded. Next would be tensions between the US and Iran. In the next months, we heard the news about the deaths of famous personalities. But the most notable of them all would be the rise of the coronavirus. Plus with the effects of the pandemic, a possible recession might happen.
Although a lot of bad juju has happened, let’s try to look at things on the positive side. Let’s find opportunities whatever the situation is.
With all the tragedies, deaths, and incidents that have happened this year, I’m sure we could all find the silver lining in these current times.
So stay strong, learn new things, spend time with your family, and remember all of this will just pass.
We just have to face it one day at a time!?