Five financial lessons from the pandemic

  • June 11, 2020
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

How are you managing the realities of the continued COVID-19 crisis? To help gain perspective during difficult times, it can be helpful to step back, reflect, and take some time to make a plan for moving forward.

From managing unexpected interruptions in income to prioritizing monthly expenses, GreenPath Financial Wellness has been listening and learning as we speak with people facing financial hardships.

Check out what we’ve recently heard, taken from direct conversations with people who, like all of us, are moving through everchanging times.

1. Prioritize you bills

“When the crisis hit, I was glad I knew how to pay attention to the most important bills. Obviously rent and groceries were our priority. With the car payment, I got on the phone and talked to our lender, but it was good that we knew how to focus on the most important bills first.”

“I am glad my husband and I knew what has to be paid now, what bills could wait. It gives us some hope that we will get through this.”

Getting the most important bills paid first is the most important thing in a time of crisis. Read more about which bills to pay during the pandemic.

2.  Build up an emergency fund, no matter how big or small

“We had a savings account buffer, which wasn’t that big and which we used quickly. But I was glad we could pull from it. Now that things have evened out a little, my husband and I are building back up that small buffer. Not too sure how long it will take, but we’ve started saving back up as much as we can.”

“There was some money I had set aside for a home project, but was able to tap into for monthly rent. I was grateful to be able to use it, but still anxious if our job situations change.”

No matter how big or small, a “rainy day” fund is the best protection. You can read more about the wisdom of preparing for an emergency.

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3. Start a budget

“We know how to budget since we went through a Debt Management Plan with GreenPath a few years back. When it all hit, we knew what we needed to do. I was glad to have the tools to make a budget and stick to it.”

“If there ever was a good time to use the tools we were taught before about budgeting, this is it”

“Since nobody is going anywhere, our bills for gas are down. We used to budget $75 to $100 every week for gas, now it’s down to about $11 a week since we’re not driving, and the gas prices have dropped. We can use this for other budget items.”

Setting a household budget doesn’t have to be complicated. Many people find they reduce financial stress by creating and following a simple budget. Read more on how to get started.

4. Plan for grocery expenses

“Even though we are buying more on food at the grocery store than before the virus, at the end of the day we are actually doing better about food bills. Since I don’t want to head out to the store more than once every other week or so, I am making a shopping list and sticking to it.”

“Before the stay-at-home orders, I would go to the grocery store three times a week because I didn’t plan and would forget what it was I had to buy. I could spend $200 on one trip without a thought as to meals. Now I go to the grocery store once every three weeks, and what I buy stretches over several meals because I don’t want to keep going back.”

There’s nothing like a crisis to help us stick to our grocery lists! Learn more here.

5. Make it a family affair

“My daughter is back home and able to help with the bills. That’s a big relief for me.”

“Our kids are more aware of expenses since all this hit. They see us doing things like cooking at home instead of going out for fast food. We’re having them pare back on what they are asking for like treats, for instance.”

Financial struggles are difficult on families. Take advantage of the learning opportunity. Make it a time to bring the family closer by working together. Learn more about helping kids deal with a financial crisis.

Our Financial Counselors are Listening

But maybe one of the biggest lessons we’re learned is that life is completely unpredictable.

All we can do is prepare as best we can, particularly when it comes to having financial stability

If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, or for any reason, let’s talk. We will work with you to identify resources and help you create a plan to get through this difficult time.

Check out our podcast!

These quotes are taken from conversations with GreenPath clients and employees. Hear more by listening to our Real $tories podcast where our guests will share their money journeys in their own words. 

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