Slowly but surely, the world is cautiously reopening for business. Is your budget ready?
After a year or so of social distancing and travel bans, you might be in a rush to reclaim some normalcy. But before you rush out to celebrate on a patio with friends or book a vacation, you’ll want to check in with your budget.
You weren’t the only thing under lockdown this past year or so. Your budget experienced a similar slowdown as you naturally spent less under stay-at-home orders.
Before your budget is ready for an uptick in spending, it needs a little TLC. Here are two golden rules for your post-pandemic budget that will help you return to normal.
1. Plan for the Unexpected
No one would argue that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown came out of left field. Unless you were a virologist studying patient zero, you didn’t see this coming.
That’s the biggest lesson to come out of this historical moment. You can’t always predict what will come your way, but you can be prepared for when things go sideways. Setting aside some money each month in an emergency fund can help you handle an unforeseen auto repair or weather a period of unemployment.
Experts suggest saving up as much as six months of living expenses to help you be ready for anything.
Starting from scratch? If an unexpected expense comes your way, you’ll want to research the different kinds of cash advances available in an emergency, including lines of credit and installment loans online.
These online loans with monthly payments can help you cover the cost of an unexpected emergency expense while you’re building up an emergency fund. They can be your safety net if your fund falls short. They also happen to be convenient, simple, and quick to apply for, with short applications available 24/7, so they work well under pressure.
2. Tally Your Normal Expenses
After a year of social distancing, your budget isn’t used to your “normal” weekends out on the town, brunch with friends, or holidays across the pond.
As restrictions continue to lift, any of these things could be on your calendar, so now’s the time to think about what your priorities are to ensure you’re spending your money wisely.
This age-old advice isn’t a covid exclusive. Financial advisors have always recommended checking in with your budget any time your income or expenses change.
For those who suffered wage cuts or unemployment during the pandemic, try basing your spending plan on the 50-30-20 budgeting method. This barebones budget earmarks 50% of your income for the essentials, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.
This tip is important even if you didn’t lose your job during the pandemic. Staying at home while earning a living has made it possible for people to save more than ever. You might have a lot of expendable money burning a hole in your pocket.
To make sure you use this money wisely, think about your goals. Do you want to dine out more, travel with friends, or shop ‘til you drop? Make sure they can fit into your budget without interfering with your bills or savings goals.
Preparation is key to enjoying your post-pandemic life to the fullest. Make sure your budget is primed and ready for your return to normal, and you’ll be set.