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Health 8 May 2020
By: Natasha Tanga

How to Manage Your Budget Effectively During COVID-19 Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has surely affected so many layers in our society, including the economy and financial security of most people. During this holy month of Ramadan as well, the festivities this year has decreased by a whole lot compared to the previous years. For example, some workers might not obtain their religious holiday allowance (Tunjangan Hari Raya / THR) or even worse, got laid off by their workplace. Therefore, money management is crucial at this point, and budgeting become one of the temporary yet important solution in coping with the current hardship. On this week's journal, we will be giving you a number of practical tips you can do to manage your money well during this pandemic, as well as to prepare for the upcoming Eid Al-Fitr. Read on!

1. Count your money at hand

With the limited resources you might have right now, make sure to count your cash at hand to give you a picture on how you should manage your spending. If you have credit allowance through credit cards, you still can also make use of it but for emergency purposes only, as accumulating debts shouldn't be your priority while your income source is still uncertain.

2. Create a shopping list and identify your priorities

When you know how much money you have and able to spend, you can then think of essential items you need on a daily basis. Write down your shopping list in a notebook so you won't be missing anything. Then, you can group the items into your own scale of priority. Generally, food should be of your primary need, as well as other household items like detergent and other cleaning products. Weed off other non-essential items like clothing and other tertiary items. You need to also be strict in deciding which things you truly need, versus the things you want.

3. Track your spending and stretch your money whenever possible

Due to the limitations and restrictions being imposed on going out during this COVID-19 pandemic, don't forget to factor in your overhead expenditures and monthly bills when counting your monthly spending. These things are always going to get the biggest chunk of your money, especially during this work from home period. If you're really tight on budget, make sure to cut down on certain expenses. For example, using one air conditioner instead of two in your house or readjusting your monthly mobile/internet data spending.

The restriction of movement also effects public places like wet markets and malls, as most of stores are closed unless for ones that are providing essential needs like supermarkets. However, this shouldn't be a problem when you're about to do your shopping, as a lot of other options are available. Online shopping, for example, has been a great alternative even before this pandemic started. Aside from its practicalities, like not needing to go anywhere to get your items, a lot of online marketplaces also offer coupons, cashbacks, or additional discounts when you spend a certain amount of money or use certain banks when purchasing items. Be on the lookout for these and make sure to score the most valuable deals.

4. Consider reusing things

During this period, be wise in deciding whether you need those new clothes or shoes you have been wanting to get, as other things might be of a greater priority. Since you're not going to be able to venture out too much either, why not consider reusing most of the things you already have in your closet? Utilize your creativity or search for inspirations online so you can always look stylish and well-dressed.

5. Try to find a new income stream

This pandemic has seen a lot of job cuts and economic downturns that force people to adapt abruptly. Therefore, some people take up jobs that might not be of their interest or related to their field of knowledge, simply to just get by and fulfill their daily needs. For example, some people turn to ready-to-eat or frozen food business, as food is one of the most stable industry during this pandemic. 

Even though there might not be too many options of business you can choose from, identify from your abilities, which ones you can utilize in order to give you a new or extra stream of income. Sure, the buying power of most people  might not be as strong as it was before, but at least, your productivity may help you and even others provide enough food to live by.