5 Points to Cope with Budget Stress During a Pandemic
Guest post: Valentina Wilson
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
The COVID-19 outbreak may be an eye-opener for us, the Canadians, in the economic sector. Much before the corona pandemic, we were falling behind in personal finance. The average person was struggling to meet his daily needs and above it, the burden of debt was piling up.
The BDO Canada Affordability Index annual report will reflect my point. The report clearly states that in 2019, more than half of Canadians were living paycheque to paycheque. 1 in 4 Canadians has admitted that they are fearful of not ever repaying their due debts.
In this already desperate situation, the corona pandemic has made conditions even worse for us. The corona has pushed us towards more suffering. Ordinary people are now miscalculating their regular household budget and getting confused about what to include in the budget and what not to include. Retirement-planning, paying monthly utility bills, food budgets; you cannot leave anything out.
The fear and anxiety regarding how to meet the regular budget are making us stressed and annoyed. In the worst-case scenario, fear and anxiety can deteriorate our health too. But there is a solution to every problem.
In this article, we are going to discuss several points that may come out as a distinctive way to cope with your budget-stress.
1. Make a Full- Proof Plan First and then Follow the Plan
To cope with the budget-stress, you have to create a well-thought spending-plan first. Make a calculation of how much money you are earning every month. Then one by one, enlist your necessary spending. Get rid of unnecessary spending and along with it, for some days, be vigilant about your every micro, mini, small, as well as big expenditures. Be flexible with your spending plan and, if necessary, make rectifications to your spending plan for each month.
The most necessary point is to follow the plan and abide by every change that you have introduced in your budget. If you follow a tight budget now, chances are you will remain free from any kind of budget-stress.
2. Adopt the 50:50 Rule for Now Instead of the 50 / 20 / 30 Rule
There is a popular savings method in the USA which is coined as the 50 / 20 / 30 rule. The 50 / 20 / 30 rule is very popular in Canada too. The 50 / 20 / 30 rule divides your monthly income into needs, savings, and wants. 50% of your monthly income will go to your needs. Need means the urgent things you need in your life like the grocery, utility bill, etc. 20% of your income will go towards savings. The rest of 30% of your income will be kept for luxury and entertainment purposes.
On a temporary basis, until our government can control the fierce corona outbreak, we would be wise to adopt the 50:50 rule instead of the 50 / 20 / 30 rule. The 50:50 rule says till now the 30% of your monthly earnings that you have dedicated for entertainment purposes; for some time, diversify the money into the savings funds you have. In this tough financial situation, there is no need for luxury and entertainment for the foreseeable future.
The 50:50 savings rule can solve your budget-calculation problem on an urgent basis and provide you with some instant relief from budget-stress.
3. Don’t Gamble with Your Savings to Make Up for the Budget Deficit
God forbid if you have faced anything negative during this corona pandemic like job loss, salary-cut, or duty hour cut. But do not be overstressed thinking about how to make up your deficit budget money.
Some people have the tendency to gamble whenever any problem arises before them. For example, some among us will definitely try their hand at the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) to buy and sell stocks. Believe me, my friend, it is nothing but pure gambling. You cannot become a stock market professional overnight and, ultimately, you will lose your retirement savings, bank account savings – everything.
So, under the stress of filling up the budget-deficit do not act like a simpleton. Rather, concentrate on what you have now and how you can increase your savings in a safe way.
5. Accept that everything is not in your hands – (It will give you relief from stress)
“When faced with the unknown, we usually suffer from anxiety.”
It is an old proverb that has bears an uncanny similarity with the corona pandemic. Truly speaking, in over a decade, we Canadians have not faced something like the corona pandemic. That is why the majority of people have come under budget-stress.
So, how can we overcome our anxiety about facing the unknown? Try to be calm by shrugging off the anxiety and accept the fact that you can only control what is in your hand. Make yourself understand that if you are failing to cope with your budget stress then you are not entirely at fault.
If you establish this point in your mind, it will give you relief from stress.
5. Consult with a financial mentor or a therapist
In this difficult time what we really need is a person with whom we can share the anxiety within us. We can expect to get helpful advice from the respective people also. So, in this time of financial hardship, if you think it is a necessary matter for you; you can consult a financial mentor or a mental therapist. Whoever you feel will be able to counsel you best – go and meet the person.
What You Should Not do to Cope with the Budget Stress during this Pandemic
Stay Clear of Financial Infidelity
In the above described 5 points, we have discussed ways that can help you to cope with budget-stress.
Now, we should discuss what should not be done during this pandemic situation. The priority is that you should not hide anything from your partner or family members about your financial condition. This is called financial infidelity. It means you are cheating on your partner and you are lying about your financial condition to him or her.
A CTV News survey says 1 in 5 Canadians is a victim of financial infidelity. Their partner hides his or her personal financial matters from them.
In March, nearly one million Canadians lost their jobs due to a virus outbreak. When a situation like this becomes so pathetic usually the symptoms of financial infidelity begin to appear. So, beware if you have any joint bank account or investment account with your partner. Because you never know what a person can do in stressful situations. So, be cautious beforehand.
The Special Role of a Woman during the Pandemic
The special role of women Is to balance the family by overlooking the stress
The entire world has given a salute to the woman-power for playing the key role in fighting against the COVID-19. They are frontline soldiers in the fight against the corona. Nearly 70% of health workers all over the world are female. In the last few months, they have seen the worst-case scenarios with extra work pressure and long duty shifts. A heartfelt salute to the female health workers.
In our homes too, it is the actual duty of the woman to bring balance in the family by innovating smart ways to overlook the budget-stress. Indeed, today we need smart and confident women who will lead us in solving the financial problems and stress that comes with them.
The primary matter is that everything takes place in your mind. How are you calculating your budget? How rigorously you are following your own-created budget? And, how are you coping with budget stress? Remember, everything is up to you.
Be positive and be proactive