These are tough times and there is no question about it.
The pandemic has impacted the lives of quite a few people. There are a lot of people who have lost their livelihoods and who are struggling to meet their ends.
I was once asked by a friend, “You are advocating not going out, not consuming outside food etc., but do you know how many people are getting impacted because of that approach?”
A valid question. Isn’t it?
But here’s my 2 cents to it. “I live in a joint family and with elderly parents. They are the ones who are the most vulnerable to this virus and ensuring that they stay protected is my responsibility. And in order to keep them protected, it is important that we stay protected because we are the ones with whom they come in contact the most. In such a case, shouldn’t I be cautious and little over-cautious?”
At the same time, while I understand that these are employment opportunities, I have always been a little skeptical because of the inadequate hygiene and care that food joints and restaurants maintain. I would rather take preventive action than paying a doctor for something.
And I believe I am not wrong in thinking so.
Anyways, back to my discussion.
While organizations have supported most of their employees during this situation when the economy is unstable and they too are impacted, some organizations have had to take tough decisions and they either had to shut shop or, ask their employees to leave.
2 days back when a friend of ours called us and asked us how to start a blog, I was a little surprised. It was then that I got to know that they were going through a tough time because one of them lost their job.
There could be many more like them out there.
At this point, I suddenly remembered the discussion between me and Dilip, where he spoke about that “spare tyre” in life.
When life is smooth sailing, we usually tend to think that everything is and will be hunky-dory, not realizing the fact that there could be tough times ahead. A bumpy road might just be round the corner.
Bumpy roads aren’t a new thing and isn’t impossible to get through.
But the question is, are we prepared for it?
If we are prepared, we will drive through those roads carefully and cross them without a problem. But if we aren’t, an accident is just round the corner.
Now that we are going through a tough situation, it is important that we learn from it and prepare ourselves.
Starting a side-hustle like a blog or, an online business is something that I recommend. Don’t rely on a single source of income. But that’s a topic I will keep for another post.
But for this post, one of the other important things – Budgeting and specifically budgeting during the pandemic
Budgeting during the Pandemic – Stay Focused
The moment you say, “Budget” people start to compare you to a “miser”. But that isn’t true –
A well-planned budget may be the key to your financial emancipation. Budgeting can put you on the path to being debt-free and lay the foundation for future wealth. Your family’s future success could hinge on the budgetary decisions you make today.– Pigly
People misunderstand budgeting and tend to run away from it, instead of embracing it.
Don’t do that. Make it a part of your life.
Imagine the reason why governments and big corporations do budgeting. They too need to stay organized and know how to spend their monies.
Why wouldn’t people like us need budgeting?
I used to be like most people. Budgeting wasn’t really my thing.
Not because I didn’t think it was important. Instead, it involved a lot of work and often times I would just be stuck, unable to figure out where to start and how.
This is in fact, another big reason why a lot of people run away from budgeting.
But these days, we have numerous apps and online resources which can help you do that.
I too use some of them.
The other day I came across this very handy resource while I was browsing around.
It’s a financial planning website that is also a very handy calculator website. Not that typical mathematical calculator.
Instead it is a calculator to manage your finances. Surprised!
There’s a ton of information there and a calculator for everything.
I was also surprised with the amount of information that was there on their website. Extremely handy and simple tips for managing your finances, planning for your future and budgeting. Some of those tips can come in handy in budgeting during the pandemic.
The Budget Calculator – The Starting Point
The first step to Money management is understanding where your money is being spent right now and how is it impacting your finances.
Most experts recommend saving anywhere between 10-15% of your household income. Here is what Dave Ramsey recommends –
We recommend putting away 15% of your household income into your retirement savings.Dave Ramsey
That might look like an uphill task for a lot of us. But careful planning can surely help us do that.
And in order to have a good plan, you will need a good calculator.
Pigly has a nice and handy budget planner which helps you assess your budget first and to see how your income compares to your overall spend. This is a good place to start your budgeting activity.
Estimated spends across each of the categories is already mentioned. You have an option of changing it as per your needs.
Based on how your budget pans out, you can then go ahead and tweak specific categories so that your budget is adjusted according to your plans.
This planner gives you a nice view of how you finances are looking as on date. You will be able to figure out the areas where you have been spending more and which have an opportunity of a cut.
At the same time, you will also get a view of areas where you haven’t been spending enough and adjust your budgets accordingly.
A couple of things you mind want to keep in mind when using this calculator –
- The currency in the calculator is USD. But that shouldn’t be a problem because currency hardly matters unless you are working with currency conversions.
- Categories are broader and consider most common ones. All of your spends should fit into one of them. Categorize your spends accordingly.
- Use the initial percentages because that is a good baseline. Then tweak them according to your situation.
- The Budget Planner is a good place to start. You can use it in tandem with some of the other calculators available on the website to tweak and plan your expenses.
What I liked most about the calculator was the simplicity. Most calculators are complicated and adjusting them to your needs is a little difficult. But this one isn’t.
And the best part. There is a calculator for pretty much anything – loan calculators, retirement calculators, business calculators etc.
You would be surprised to see an opportunity cost calculator to quit smoking. This calculator shows you the amount you would save if you quit smoking. Isn’t that a good way to start planning to quit smoking.
And for all of you fitness enthusiasts out there, you even have a weight loss and weight gain calculator as well.
You can check out Pigly here!
Get Started Today!
We are indeed going through tough times and dealing with it need a change in approach. Careful and thoughtful planning and preparation is what will help us tide over this situation.
Panicking won’t really help. So, take some time out. Compose yourself and take these difficult times head on.
Comment below and let me know if there is something that you need help on specifically and I will try to respond.
“Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do”Robert Schuller