The COVID-19 pandemic is a veritable litmus test for a lot of people to show their capacity to wisely manage their finances, particularly during such uncertain times. As businesses close down and companies are forced to furlough or lay off employees, spending money wisely and making smart financial decisions are critical in surviving the pandemic.

If you’re unsure of how to go about your financial management situation, take note of these tips to help you out:

Rethink and restructure your debts.

Quite a lot of finance-related problems during a crisis such as COVID-19 is due to unpaid debts. Fortunately, there are quite a few workarounds that you can explore to handle the debt issue.

For one, you should consider refinancing and debt consolidation using home’s equity. These two remedies will help you lower your monthly interest rates so you’ll have a larger breathing room for your other, equally important financial obligations.

Build up your rainy-day funds.

Life is always full of surprises, many of which are not particularly on the sunny side of things. Because of this inescapable fact, it’s important to be ready for the days when things are not so positive financially-wise.

You can do this by gradually building up your contingency fund through bank savings and hard cash, which you could put in a safe place. Having cash in the bank and some with you is a matter of insurance since you can’t really be sure what could go wrong with financial institutions when the worst-case scenario happens.

Cut down on non-essential expenses.

This is a tip that would do you well regardless if it’s a pandemic or not. Having a short leash on non-essential spendings such as gym memberships, restaurant dine-ins, magazine subscriptions, and the like will go a long way to stretch your budget.

Keep in mind that you’re basically treading unstable grounds during a volatile time, which means that every dollar you can save matters. Spend on them if you must just to ‘reward’ yourself periodically, but be sure not to make it so frequent that it becomes a habit you can afford.

Consider making calculated investments.

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By calculated, it means carefully considering if the odds are virtually in your favor and investing only what you can afford to lose should the worst thing occurs.

You should try buying stocks that are recession-proof, from companies that prove to be high performers during the pandemic. Among the stocks you should consider are energy, health care, technology, pharmaceutical, and the like.

You should, likewise, see if banking on Bitcoin is something you can pull off and gamble on. During the great majority of the pandemic, Bitcoin has performed exceptionally well, at times even better than the traditional stock market. As such, study if this is an investment that would suit you well, particularly at a time when cryptocurrency is generating a lot of buzz and with even multi-billion companies investing in it.

Pursue another income stream.

These days, it’s not enough for a person to have just a single source of income, given the uncertainty of the situation. Right now, you should be looking at potential revenue streams other than your main job.

If you have a skill that you can deliver through digital channels such as Zoom and Google Meet, you’d be happy to know that there are plenty of freelance remote work opportunities out there. You should explore freelancer websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, Guru, and many others.

Use a budget rule as a guide in spending and saving.

Most of the time, people tend to get lost track of their financial goals, thus ending up with debts and expenses that they don’t actually need. If you’re the type of person who gets easily distracted or you’re just seeking a way to put your finances in order, then a budget rule would be a great place to start.

A common budget rule is the 50/30/20 rule, which only means 50 percent of the income goes to essential needs (food, shelter, education), 30 percent for entertainment and other personal wants, and 20 percent for debt payments, insurance, and savings.

The key, really, is to find out which expenditure and saving principles work best for you and then stick to them to avoid going astray.

Desperate times truly call for desperate measures. By heeding these simple, yet sensible financial management tips, you can avoid financial pitfalls to help you survive and even thrive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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