Adjusting finances during a time of crisis

12 October 2020

It’s been a difficult few months with COVID-19 and we have all been affected in some way or another – be it physically, financially, or mentally. WageWise is here to help you recover (financially) from COVID-19 and get back on track. The first step is to re-adjust your budget.

A budget is a plan for how you are going to spend and save money. This allows you to plan ahead and make sure that you have enough money for the things that you need and the things that are important to you.

A budget includes all of your income (the money you receive) as well as your expenses (the money you spend). Your expenses should be split into needs and wants, with your needs always being put first and prioritised.


Does your budget need to change?

With COVID-19, things may have changed dramatically for you and this means your budget needs to change too. The more accurate and honest your budget is, the easier it is to plan ahead.

If, for example, you took a salary cut, were retrenched, or started a side hustle during COVID-19, you need to adjust the income on your budget. For your expenses, you may be spending less on holidays and entertainment due to the lockdown regulations, but more on data and electricity as you stay home. All of these changes need to be updated on your budget – use our template here to get started.


Budgeting when times are tough

Now that we are re-adjusting our budget, there is opportunity to reduce some of our expenses so that we have enough money. Here are some options to consider:

  • Share transport with friends, family or colleagues
  • Check with your employer if there is additional cover you are unaware of (e.g. in the case of illness or injury)
  • If you have lost your job, check what benefits you have access to such as UIF or government grants/stipends
  • Check your insurance policies and make sure that you have the right cover (e.g. you may have credit life insurance which can help pay your premiums in the case of retrenchment, disability or death)
  • See if any of your policies offer ‘payment holidays’ that you can use while you get back on your feet

TOP TIP: If you’ve lost your job during COVID-19, now is the time to update your CV and get it out there. Don’t lose hope. As the economy slowly reopens, there may be new opportunities.


The importance of an emergency fund

An emergency fund is an essential savings plan which helps out in times of unexpected hardship.

Many of us have dipped into our emergency fund during the COVID-19 pandemic – be it for medical bills or to make up for a loss in income. That’s okay, it’s what an emergency fund is for. BUT, now is the time to start rebuilding it.

Begin with setting a goal for this account and then start adding to it, remember that every Rand counts. Go back to your budget and work out ways to put aside a little money every month. Don’t use these funds for anything other than emergencies.

Remember to re-assess your finances often, stay calm, take time out to de-stress, and if you feel overwhelmed, ask for advice from a financial adviser. Follow us on Facebook for more top tips!