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Planning a monthly family budget and taking care of your finances is essential. It helps you stay in control of your life and allows you to set goals and plan ahead. In addition, it also enables you to get through some hard times and stay safe despite the things that are happening around you. But, when some sudden changes occur, like the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, your family budget can be affected.
Therefore, you should make the necessary changes to your family budget and adjust to the new crisis. If you’re not sure how to write a family budget during the crisis times, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a step by step guide that will help you create a new monthly family budget.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Get Informed
The important thing about a crisis period is for you and your family not to panic. To make sure you’re staying level headed and calm, you need to be informed about the crisis.
Find information using reliable resources and credible media, and find an answer to the questions:
- What caused this crisis period?
- How long will it last?
- How will it affect me and my family?
- Will it affect my business and my sales?
Make sure that you understand what’s happening around you and what is causing the changes you’re feeling.
Also, learn about the new changes that you might expect.
This type of information will help you and your family stay on top of things and not let the crisis time affect you too significantly.
2. Income Changes
If you already have a family budget plan, it might go through some significant changes during the crisis period. If you don’t have one, you still need to review your monthly income.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of people to lose their jobs, forced them to close their businesses, or caused their sales to go down. That led many families to family budget reviews and forced them to rewrite their budget plans,” says Estelle Liotard, a financial analyst and writer at Trust My Paper.
If any of this happened to you, you need to:
- Review your family monthly income
- Think about ways of straightening the curve
If your monthly income is affected, do a review, and get the exact numbers on the table.
3. Expenses Changes
The crisis period will affect your monthly income, but it will also affect the way you spend your money. This calls for another review, this time focusing on how you spend your money.
During the COVID-19 pandemic most people save money on:
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- Entertainment such as theater and cinema
- Eating out
This is because none of these things are safe or available to us. Also, we’ll spend more money on groceries or home maintenance.
Make sure to get these numbers on the table as well, to see how you need to adjust your budget.
4. Pay Your Debt
Whatever it is, your monthly family budget needs to focus on:
- Paying the debt regularly
- Pay at least the minimal amount
Naturally, paying the minimal amount means you’ll have to pay off your debt longer, but at least you’re not skipping a monthly payment.
If you skip a payment, your debt could mount, and your credit score will not be great.
So, make paying the minimal amount a priority and make this one of the top concerns of your monthly family budget meetings.
5. Apply For Help
During the crisis period, most countries will give it their best to help those people who are out of jobs or those businesses that are losing their income due to the crisis.
It’s your job to learn what forms of help you are eligible to apply for and how you can improve the family budget situation.
“If there are any benefits, types of aid, or delays, you can get make sure that you request them. This will affect your monthly family budget and help you save some money for the crisis period,” says Helene Cue, a financial planner, and writer at Supreme Dissertations.
- Receiving help for your businesses
- Deferred payments
- Waived payments
- Debt relief
In case you need help with filling in an application or writing a professional email, you can turn to services and tools such as Studicus or Best Essay Education. For help with proofreading and editing, check out Grammarly, or Wow Grade.
6. Save Money
A crisis situation demands a crisis family budget. This means you’re going to have to make some cuts and save money to ensure a normal life for you and your family.
The best way to do this is to:
- Gather the whole family
- Analyze all your expenses
- Find the things you spend money on
- Decide which items you need to give up for the time being
It could be something seemingly unimportant such as a monthly subscription for a self-care box. But if everyone gives up on a couple of things, you could boost your budget for a week’s worth of groceries.
Make sure the whole family is on board and decide which things need to be put on hold for as long as the crisis period lasts.
7. Track Your Spending
Once you review your income and expenses, and you consider different ways of saving money or getting help, you’ll need to track the results.
Your new family budget may look great on paper, but you have to make sure things are good when applied.
That means that you have to track your spending.
Together with your family, create a weekly report on the things you’ve spent money on:
- Home entertainment
- Home supplies
Get a list of things that you’ve spent money on and review each week. Make sure that your weekly expenses fit your monthly budget plan.
If you see room for improvement, jump right to it. If you see room for saving some money, set it aside for an emergency fund.
8. Prevent, Don’t Cure
In case you already have an emergency fund saved up for crises, we strongly recommend not reaching into it unless you have absolutely no choice.
You could go ahead, living your life the way you did before the crisis. You’d just be spending money from this fund, even though your income is lower.
But, this won’t work in the long run.
Instead, prevent your family from needing to use the emergency fund. Use the advice we’ve provided above, make small changes, and don’t allow the crisis to bring you down.
Save the emergency fund for when you have no choice but to use it.
Writing a monthly family budget during crisis times is no different than writing a regular family budget. You have to review where you stand, understand the facts, and determine the measures you have to take to continue living decently.
The good thing is that the crisis can’t last forever. But, for the time being, write an improved version of your family monthly budget using the tips we’ve provided above.