Making Ends Meet
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has quickly disrupted our lives. For some households, it has caused a decrease in income. This change in how we go about our daily living may have caused feelings of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. While it is normal to feel afraid, anxious, and uncertain, we do not have to stay stuck in these feelings.
We can move forward through this challenging time if we are mindful of what we are doing with our money. When observing what we do with our money, there are two ways we can assess what we are doing. One way is to assess how we do what we do with our money. The other way is to use financial worksheets to observe the dollars and cents outcome of what we do with our money.
Money management is the process of managing ourselves with respect to what we do with our money. During this time of financial uncertainty, we want to focus on what we have the power to manage and change to keep us moving forward. We can be mindful of what we can change and what we can not change. We can change how we form our thoughts, respond to our feelings, form our words, and choose our actions. We cannot change other people, places, and things.
We have a character trait we can call forth in choosing how we do what we do during this time of uncertainty. That character trait is CONFIDENCE. We can call forth and activate the power of confidence to move from fear to courage. It is normal to be afraid. When we are afraid, we may feel powerless over our situation. To move forward, we can become aware of how we use our personal power to make choices and take actions to meet our most important financial needs.
As we choose what to do, we want to be aware that how we do what we do impacts others. We want to respect the needs of all involved when making decisions about how to move forward.
We want to be mindful of where the final say for making financial decisions resides. I have the final say for what I do to meet my financial needs. However, if others are involved, it is important to speak my voice and consider their voices before choosing and taking actions to meet our mutual needs.
Financial tools give us information about what we are doing with our money. Once we have gathered our financial data, we will have the information we need to guide the choices and actions we need to take.
First Things First. The first thing we want to do is become aware of what our financial situation is. The first step in moving forward is to know how much income we have coming in and how much we are spending. We can use a Cash Flow Worksheet to gather this information. The information on the Cash Flow Worksheet can help us see where we need to make adjustments. Click the following link to view the Cash Flow Spreadsheet.
Cash Flow Worksheet Before and After Loss of Income
- Identify how much money you have coming in. Use the Cash Flow Worksheet to write down the amount of money you had coming in before you were impacted by your loss of income and what you have now as your income declines.
- Know where your money goes. Look at your financial records — bank statements, credit card statements or receipts. Use the Cash Flow Worksheet to write down the amount of money you spent in each spending category before you lost your income. This will be useful in thinking about how to adjust your spending as you move forward.
- Look for ways to increase income. Do you have a skill or talent you can turn into money that supports physical distancing guidelines?
- Look for ways to decrease expenses. Before buying an item, ask yourself:
- Can I do without it?
- Can I postpone this purchase?
- Can I substitute something that costs less?
- Can I use my own skills to make it?
- Do I already own one?
- Can I borrow someone else’s while respecting physical distancing guidelines?
For the time being, the way we go about our daily lives may have changed. But, we can face the uncertainty with courage. We can join with those around us to determine what to do to take care of our most important needs. We can balance income and outgo as best we can. We can look for ways to find income and reduce expenses until we get beyond the crisis. As long as we focus on first things first, we can find our way through