With the pandemic still hanging around the corners, tons of people are still unemployed and there’s another percentage of people who have experienced a cut in their income, as drastic as 50%, and the economic GDP is still under attack. Frankly, we really cannot blame anyone at this point. We have to primarily look out for ourselves and do what is best in this situation.
Inflation and devaluation have ravaged our currencies and the Naira is still taking a beating in the foreign exchange market daily. To make matters worse, tons of people are earning even less and that has made it harder to scale up their earnings with their expenses.
In light of these challenges, here are a few steps you can take to help you better handle your finances this period:
1. Plan with what you have: It is very easy to keep beating yourself up over what you have lost, even though you could not have controlled it. Do not do that! Instead, focus on what you currently have, no matter how small, as long as it is steady and reachable. That is what you should plan with.
2. Cut the excesses: This is not the time to subscribe or renew every plan available to you. From data plan to DSTV to Netflix and the likes. At this point, ‘choose your battles wisely and only fund what is important to you. For those who work remotely, know what you need to work efficiently and stick to it. Remember that the days ahead are still very much unclear, so you want to hold on to what you have as long as you can. Just focus on the essentials.
3. Build your emergency fund: As hard as things might get this period, try as much as you can to save your funds in either Naira savings instruments that promise you a reasonable interest benefit or you can convert your cash to dollar or pounds and save it that way. The latter is the best in these times.
4. Live within your means: This mantra has never been more valid than this time. Living within your means. Controlling your spending at this point in time cannot be over-emphasized. Buy only what you need.
5. Protect your mental health: During this period, your mental health is your first priority and you need to guard it jealously. You need everything to survive, your spirit, soul, and body. Make sure you are always in a safe zone and if you know you don’t feel safe alone, find a close friend or relative to be around with. Make yourself happy, whatever happy is to you.
6. Be responsible: If you are in the middle of loan repayments or you have some payments that are due, don’t go quiet on your lenders and expect that they understand. Call or email them to explain your peculiar situation. Let them know if you are going to delay your repayment and when it will be feasible that you would pay. You can even plead for an interest rate review for the period and work out what works.