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Budgeting During the Pandemic: What are the Essentials Expenses

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the entire world to its knees. As governments impose lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus, businesses and offices had to shutter. In the United Kingdom, thousands have lost their source of livelihood.

The future is uncertain for many households. It would be wise to start making adjustments in your budget to save cash and prepare for whatever happens in the months ahead.

What should you prioritize and what should you cut from your monthly expenses during the current crisis? Find out here.

Necessary Expenses

There are certain expenses that you cannot live without, and that includes utilities. In addition to your home, you need to keep paying your water, electricity, and internet bills because these expenses keep you safe, healthy, and informed.

In addition, there are expenses that may not be deemed necessary in other households but are important to you. Cleaning services, for example, including carpet cleaners, are essential if you still have a full-time job and cannot commit to tidying your house. If you have a child and you can afford to pay a nanny or a daycare center, you should keep it in your budget, too.

Keep a list of where your money is going every month and determine which ones are the most important.

Debt Payment

If you have debt, you might need to continue paying them. Some lenders have waived interest payments in certain debts during the pandemic to give the public a chance to reorganize their finances and prioritize paying for necessities during the pandemic. You can press pause on those debts for a while.

However, for debts that continue to accumulate high interest over time, you should keep paying them. Your credit card bills, in particular, should be prioritized after shelter, food, utilities, and medical expenses. It might come in handy when you are strapped for cash and you need to buy groceries or medicine.

Give your bank a call. Most banks are willing to work with members right now. Ask for a lower interest rate or the minimum payment.

What you should stop doing, however, is accumulate more debt. If you are thinking of taking out a car loan, now is not the right time to do so. Stop shopping for unnecessary products just because there is a sale; you have nowhere to go right now anyway.

Memberships

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Nowadays, people are paying for a monthly or yearly membership to a gym, multiple streaming services, meal plans, magazines and newspapers, etc. Most of these items are luxuries, rather than necessities, during the pandemic.

While exercise is important, paying for a gym membership is not for most people. You can work out at home or in your local park without exorbitant fees. Running, for example, is good for you and it does not cost a thing. If you think you have to buy equipment, ask yourself if it is something that you will use after the pandemic. Sleep on it. Identify if the money will be better used for something more important before you click checkout.

While Netflix and HBO Max have saved you from losing your mind during stay-at-home orders, how many streaming services do you actually use? Cut at least one from the streaming services that you are currently subscribed to.

The current global crisis requires a bit of sacrifice from everyone. You will need to make major lifestyle adjustments, but it will only be temporary. Once the pandemic is over and the economy can restart, you can take steps to regain what you had to give up.

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