Life post-lockdown has been an adjustment for all of us, both emotionally and financially. Whether you worked from home, were furloughed or made redundant, financial fall-out has impacted us all. From saving money due to lack of travel and socialising, to the rising costs of household bills, childcare and buying new household necessities, budgets have changed drastically since March 2020.
My personal financial experience
I was one of the lucky ones who was able to move to my parents’ house during lockdown. I used the savings I made on travel and socialising to pay off the majority of my overdraft. Pretty soon into paying off my overdraft, I realised that my Dad advised me of this because of the uncertainty of the job market stability post-lockdown. The last thing I would need would be an overdraft of 2000 worth of debt on top of a potential redundancy.
Luckily, my job as a publisher was safe. That isn’t the case for everyone in a life post lockdown. Here are some tips on how to deal with the financial fall-out post lockdown.
Have a budget
One of the first things I did upon moving back to my flat in London was to create a basic Excel spreadsheet, including all of my monthly expenditures as well as my monthly income. I added the dates on which I knew bills, rent and other monthly costs that would be extracted from my account.
Every month, I accommodate these monthly costs by moving money into a separate account at the beginning of the month purely to pay off these bills. This stops me from accidentally overspending or using money that I need for household items.
This is also a great way to look at the monthly expenditures that aren’t worth it. Usually, these are subscriptions to streaming services, audiobook platforms, game services or subscription boxes.
Planning for the future is the most important part of supporting your financial situation. This could mean learning how to buy apple stock so you can capitalise on the investment in 10 years’ time when you need money for your first house or it could just mean coming up with a budget that you are going to stick to for 6 months. If you know that in the upcoming months you have an event or a big bill coming out of your account – start saving now! Put a little bit aside so that when the bills come, it’s not such a drain on your monthly budget. Also, try not to plan too much in one go. I know from experience that post lockdown, I immediately started making plans to socialise, travel and see people. But it isn’t financially feasible to do this in one month.
Get a real-time bank account to monitor your expenditure
Monzo is a great banking platform which monitors your spending in real-time. It also allocates your spending into certain categories. You can see exactly where your money is going i.e. entertainment, food, travel or shopping. It can also allocate a monthly budget and notify you whenever you overspend or a bill has been paid. You can set yourself targets, include an automatic saving system and more. If you’re a small business owner, check with your bank to see if your business account has special benefits that can help you with budgeting. Some banks offer Enterprise Checking accounts that could help you keep on top of your business spending.
Talk to others about your financial situation
Money and finances are a difficult subject to approach others about, but post lockdown we need to discuss it. If you’re struggling with the expenditure of working from home due to the rising costs of electrical bills, office supplies or additional childcare, you need to talk to your line manager. Many companies are setting up work assessments to discuss healthy office set-ups and how to provide you with equipment without personal cost.
Also, talk about flexible working hours to accommodate working from home with children or living in flat-shares with unstable internet. Find out how the company you work for is doing financially and what their plans are for redundancies, bonus schemes and promotions. This will give you the knowledge you need to find out if you need to look into moving into a more stable job.
If you haven’t already, try to pay off your overdraft or start a savings account. We don’t know what the future will hold. It’s better to be prepared than have the rug pulled out from under us. Remember that you’re not alone and help is always available!