The COVID-19 pandemic caught most of us in a surprise. Most parts of the world are in quarantine and we are advised to stay at home. Aside from getting infected by the virus and being separated to our families, friends and colleagues due to social distancing, many also worry about the impact in the economy and personal finances. And while I’m personally grateful that I am still able to do work from home and still get paid, this is not the case for many. Also, if the quarantine extends longer, I’m not sure if our company can still sustain operations. Tough times, indeed. So here are some smart money tips we can practice during the COVID-19 quarantine:
1. Make the most of any help you can qualify for. Recently, DSWD already gave the amelioration fund to beneficiaries. PAG-IBIG also provides a GRACE PERIOD under the IRR of RA 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act) and a 3-Month Loan Payment Moratorium. These are two separate programs that give payment reprieve to borrowers. SSS has a Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program. It aims to help 3.4 million employees of 1.5 million companies nationwide that has been affected by the quarantine. Check PAG-IBIG and SSS websites or their Facebook pages to know more.
2. Prepare a budget. No doubt, this is not the time to splurge. Buy things according to your capacity to pay. Most of us are really on a tight budget nowadays and we should practice frugality. Do not over buy and there’s no need to do panic buying. At home, we have scheduled to cook vegetable meals every other day because it’s cheaper than preparing meat menu the whole week. We also have ditched drinking soda for now and opt for cold water instead. It’s even healthier. Mom with a baby? Try ‘lampin’ instead of diapers. Not only is it economical, it’s less trash for Mother Earth and less rash for the baby.
In one of Chinkee Tan’s YouTube video, the finance guru shared that we should buy things if we can afford to pay its value at 5 times. Say, a mobile phone costs 20,000. Will you buy a phone at 100,000? Or a coffee at Starbucks cost 150; will you buy coffee for 750? I guess using this formula will help you carefully think first before grabbing things.
3. Let go of auto-pay subscriptions. I personally have Spotify, Netflix and Booky subscriptions. And while the 1st two can make my quarantine less boring, there are other free sites that you can visit to pass time. Visit your bookshelf or that cabinet with all your DVDs. It can be a fun learning or a nostalgic time to watch again your old favorites.
4. Have an emergency fund. Financial gurus have always shared that all of us should have an emergency fund. An emergency fund should be equal to 3- 6 months of your monthly expenses. If you suddenly lost your job, your emergency fund can cover for you. If you don’t have an emergency fund, now is the time to start. Any amount you can save will be a big help in the future.
5. Check on your creditors. If you have a credit card, car loan or bank loan, check your creditors for any assistance they can provide. Most of the banks have a stop-payment program during the quarantine, check on them so you don’t incur additional charges for mission on the payment. But should you have the finances to pay it on time, do so. You don’t want your payment dues to balloon, right?
And here are more budget tips from some of my lifestyle blogger friends:
From Vimz Mendoza of Kulit On The Run:
6. Take advantage of what the community has to offer. For sure there will be some offering meat /market produce that is for online ordering and free delivery. Same with online grocery delivery.
You save in terms of time and effort plus you feel good and safe that you were able to stay at home, compliant with the ECQ, while fulfilling the need to stock up on food/essential supplies.
Tina Punzal of Hungry Travel Duo has these to share:
7. Stick to the basics and Cook in bulk. Freeze what you can and just reheat. Saves on gas, ingredients, time, and effort. That or plan your meals ahead for the week.
8. Be creative in the kitchen. Use what you have stored in your pantry. Recook/reheat leftovers if you must. One friend has an ‘init init Friday’. Where the simply reheat and eat leftovers for the week from the ref.
Mom of two, Leira Bhagwani, of I Am Leirs gives these tips:
9. Don’t be dependent on online delivery and learn how to cook.
10. Do something creative with your relief goods. My mom made the sardine flakes into a patty; some of it she sauteed with onions and made into a Pandesal sandwich spread.
Lee Rosales of Momma Lee Adventures has this to say:
11. For Meralco/Electricity:You can all share in 1 room to enjoy the cold a/c (if there is) instead of opening all ac available in your house
12. For groceries:
Make sure to list down all your groceries so you can stick to your budget and not over spend.
13. Make a list or make a plan meal for a week.
Environment advocate, Millie Manahan of Life in Tagaytay and Life In Alfonso, shares:
14. Cook something that won’t spoil easily like Adobo, paksiw, or anything that has vinegar in it. This isn’t the time to waste food cos of the restrictions of ECQ.
15. When buying, buy what you need and not what you want. If you have the budget, try buying bulk products so you won’t have to go out every other day.
Christian Aligo of Kanto Ave has these great tips: