Controlling the things that You can control

We are going through uncertain and challenging times. In one way or another the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all.

If you’re reading this because you’ve lost your job or had to take a pay cut or perhaps somebody you care about is going through this, I want you to know that – yes – This is tough BUT it is also temporary. And you know what else? You. Are. Tougher. You will make it through this, and you will be stronger when it is over. Keep telling yourself that—because it is true. You can do this. You will do this!

Job loss can be among the most devastating life events both emotionally and financially. The stress and of losing a job may seem overwhelming but there are many things you can do to take control of the situation, maintain your spirits, and find a renewed sense of purpose.

The following are a few things that You can control:

Create a Budget

Creating a budget not only gives you a foundation for action but and can relieve the stress of not knowing what your money picture looks like.

Start with the income side, and list your inflows of cash, including UIF and stimulus payments. Use your UIF and stimulus payments wisely to get you through! If need be, what savings and investments could you tap into? What are your sources of borrowing? Include a potential loan from family, credit cards, although credit cards should be your last resort!

Then list your expenses. What are the fixed expenses that will not change in the short term, like mortgage or rent and car payment? What are your variable expenses that you have immediate control over and are adjustable, like dining out and a gym membership?

Prioritize your four walls first: Food, Utilities, Shelter and Transportation

You pay for the goods and services needed for survival. In other words, you feed your family, keep your electricity on, pay your rent or mortgage and fill up enough petrol to get you to the very few necessary places you may need to go.

Call your lenders and ask for deferment or grace period and put all extra debt payments on hold

Be honest and realistic when explaining your situation and ask if there is any way that they may offer you temporary relief. Do not just avoid your payments. Most creditors are willing to assist when you are proactive about your situation.

If you were paying extra on your mortgage, car loan and credit cards, reduce those payments to the bare minimums.

Cancel or pause any unnecessary subscriptions or expenses

As I mentioned above, when discussing the “four walls”, now is a good time to cancel or pause any unnecessary subscriptions or services that you might be paying for monthly. This includes television streaming services and lowering your cellphone bill. By doing this you are freeing up some of your income to provide for essentials.

Stay Optimistic

It is easy to fall into an anxious or depressed state when all we hear is doom and gloom all over the news and social media.

Take some time to connect with your family and friends. Speak your worries to God in prayer and meditate for peace and stillness. Show your body some love through exercise and self-care. Feed your mind through reading a book or taking on a new task or challenge.

Stay hopeful, stay optimistic.

Use this time to think about the blessings that you have, and not about what you are lacking.

Make sure you avoid making financial decisions that are based on fear, and instead put all your energy and focus on the things you CAN control.

How are you preparing financially during this unstable time?

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