I think that we can all agree that COVID-19 came into our lives more quickly than we could have ever expected and has impacted in our lives in ways we could have never imagined. This disease has left many people out of work and, even more, quarantined. However, just because you may be locked in your home and, for many people, bored, does not mean that you cannot still make powerful and intentional money moves. Here are 17 money moves you can make to thrive during this difficult time!
I am sure that budgeting may not seem that appealing... however, if you want to truly win with money in any scenario during life, budgeting is essential.
What is a budget?
A budget is an intentionally written plan for you money.
If you do not have a plan for your money, your progress will be slow or counterproductive. If you are curious as to how you can create a sound budget during this quarantine, check out this article!
2) Stop Investing in Stock Market
The stock market is highly volatile during this time. The stock market is currently the lowest it has been in a very long time. Some investors see opportunities in the market because of the low prices but, due to the market volatility, may be a turn off for people trying to keep their finances stable and secure.
Normally, we would advise you to diversify your portfolio with these mutual funds:
Growth and Income
We tell you to invest in these funds so that you will be protected by market fluctuations. However, COVID-19 is a global pandemic and, therefore, affects all markets.
We can advise you to stop investing in the stock market until there is a clear end in sight. We do not know how long we will be quarantined and have been money moves to make besides putting our money into a highly volatile market.
3) Build an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a very important part of everyone's financial plan. It adds a cushion for WHEN an emergency comes by for a visit. Let's have a quick look at some numbers. 61% of Americans could not cover a $1,000 emergency without going into debt. Are you part of the 61% or the other 39%? Answer honestly. If you are a part of the 61%, do you seem to be unable to catch a break? Does 'Murphy's Law' affect you more often than you'd like? When something goes wrong, does it feel like a crisis? Having a $1,000 sitting there in case something goes wrong makes Murphy seem to disappear. It turns a "crisis" into an "inconvenience."
*$500 if your income is $20,000 or less.*
Normally, we would encourage everyone to only save $1,000 until all debt is paid off and then encourage you to build an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. This is no ordinary time. We encourage you to build a fully-funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses as quickly due to the questionable current job security. In addition to your usual income, please utilize other stream of income from this article!
4) Research Your Health Insurance
This is a very important step that many people overlook. Medical bills can be very expensive and, unfortunately, many people learn this the hard way... It is very important to know what your health insurance policy covers. Here are a few things to know about your health insurance policy:
Who is Covered?
All of these things, and more, should be known about your policy! Take a good look at your policy and see if you are as prepared as you think you are for WHEN a medical situation arises.
If you would like to compare plans or find a provider, please let us know and we can connect you to a professional free of charge!
5) Get Life Insurance
Life insurance is something that everyone needs! As terrible as it sounds, in this time, life insurance is a necessity. You never know what could happen to you, or to your family. If something happens, and a member of your family gets sick, they will be unable to get coverage so it is very important to get coverage while it is still possible to do so. However, it is important to get the right kind of coverage! For a guide on which life insurance is right for you, please read this article!
6) Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Unnecessary subscriptions can zap a bank account faster than you can blink! What's even worse is that people have money being pulled out of their bank monthly for subscriptions they do not even know they have! Just imagine carrying a $20 bill in you back pocket and, without you knowing, someone comes by and snatches it from you without you knowing. Eventually, you would notice and you would be upset! So, why is it any different when you cannot physically touch the cash? The same $20 is still gone. So... what can you do to get rid of those nasty money leeches?
Check your bank statements.
This is the best way to see what is coming out of your account every month. If you do not receive an emailed version of your monthly bank statement, you may call your bank and request a copy.
Once you received your bank statement, go down the list with a highlighter and highlight every unnecessary subscription that you have. Before doing this, ask yourself what qualifies as a "necessary" subscription. If you have a streaming service subscription (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), choose ONE or TWO service(s) and no more. This will not be easy, but these are pressing times.
A lot of people are using streaming services to get them through their quarantine, but there are plenty of alternative activities that are more productive than just watching TV. Here is one that I highly encourage... Read a book.
Many people watch a lot more TV than they do reading. If this applies to you, you are missing out on great personal development opportunities. We, here at Coin Counselor, believe that reading is very important. Leaders and readers. Reading has many benefits. You can read outside in your front/back yard and still get fresh air, probably the freshest it has been in a long time while your kids and/or pets run around, and while you are soaking up that vitamin D and getting your summer tan ready! Another benefit of reading is that it does not require the use of electricity. If you read a book for an hour a day that you would usually spend watching TV, think about the knowledge you would gain and the money you would save.
If you are a creative soul, now is a perfect time to begin writing a book or starting a blog! Both of them are a very fun and involved process. Now, I may be biased here because I have had a blog, along with Quinton, since July 22, 2017, and I am currently writing a book but they are time consuming and fun. On top of keeping you occupied for hours at a time, writing a book/running a blog can have financial gains.
In the time you spend dedicated to writing a book, you will not be making much money. However, now is the perfect time to spend investing in writing because you will not be as distracted by the other tasks of the day. You will be able to make more progress than you typically would. If you spend this time writing, and being intentional, you may be able to have a manuscript completed by the end of quarantine and ready to go to press. Once it is published, it is a passive form of income for the rest of your life! All because you were wise with your time.
As I mentioned previously, running a blog can have financial gains as well. You can sell advertisements (directly or indirectly) or you can sell items on your page (distributor, affiliate marketing, or items of your own creation). You can also write articles for other blogs for pay. Running your own blog can help build your credibility to write for other blogs!
Now, if you are unable, or uninterested, in writing your own book/blog, there are other ways you can invest your time and talent to turn a profit!
8) Monetize Your Hobbies
Everyone has talent and hobbies that can really be honed in during this time of quarantine. If you are good at what you do, somebody will pay! For example, if you are a musician, teach private lessons online! There are people itching to learn what it is that you already know how to do! Capitalize on that! If your hobby requires a physical product to sell, create an inventory! Here is a little known fact about me that applies in this situation. I used to buy puzzles, put them together, frame them, and sell them. This could be a great family activity and a great way to fund that, currently questionable, family vacation!
"If you are good at what you do, somebody will pay.
9) Cook at Home
Think about how often you eat out at restaurants.How much money do you spend annually eating out? According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $3,008 eating out every year... You can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by choosing to cook at home. Also, it is safer because you are interacting with less people and are, therefore, lessening the possibility of spreading COVID-19.
In order to reduce the amount of trips you have to make to the store, and use all of your groceries before they expire, you can use websites such as, SuperCook or AllRecipes, and just type in your ingredients and find some appetizing step-by-step recipes!
10) Food and Grocery Delivery
I would avoid all driving services (Uber and Lyft) because you will exposing potentially infected people into your own personal vehicle. This is not safe!
Also, we would highly encourage you to have your health checked before you begin delivering anything to strangers. Please be sure you are healthy before interacting with anyone excessively!
11) Finish Your Taxes
I know that taxes can be a very daunting task... However, you will feel relieved when your taxes are filed and the weight is off of your shoulders. Even though Tax Day has been pushed back until July 15, 2020, there are some incentives to get them completed quicker. The biggest incentive being the Stimulus Check. For information regarding how you will receive your check, and the amount, please read this article.
12) Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
The entire world has been shaken by COVID-19. People are being laid off left and right and are unsure if they will ever return to work or if the company will survive this mayhem. With this being said, the job market is about to change forever. The golden question is, "What are you doing to prepare yourself to stand out in the upcoming job market?"
You do not have to dislike your job, or even be looking for a new job, to update your resume and cover letter but it would be a really great idea. There are two main reasons.
The first reason is the more unsettling possibility. You may return to work once all of this is done and find out that your company is making some changes and is letting you go. Your once satisfying job just became a nightmare. If you have an updated resume and cover letter, no time will be wasted in your new job search.
The second reason is the more exciting possibility. With the job market shifting, higher-level opportunities may present themselves inside, or outside, of the company and may need to be filled quickly. While the other potential candidates are updating their resumes and cover letters, yours will be put into the application pool earlier and in more places because you were prepared and were intentional with your time!
If you would like assistance with your resume or cover letter, please feel free to contact us and we will help you personally or we will connect you to someone who can!
13) Begin Thinking About Your Retirement
When you think of retirement, what do you picture? Do you picture yourself living in a nice little town-home? Do you picture yourself traveling the world? The possibilities are endless! That is, if you plan for your retirement well enough... The problem is that, most people do not live their dream retirement because the failed to plan so they, inevitably, planned to fail.
I highly encourage all of you to think about your retirement and begin taking steps to planning for that retirement. Do not make the mistake that many people make and thinking that it is far away and that you have "plenty of time." It will creep up on you and you will regret not planning sooner.
Here is a tool that you can use to help you properly plan for retirement!
Additionally, if you are looking for a retirement financial advisor, I highly recommend Jeremy Sakulenzki of South Texas Wealth. If you are looking for an advisor closer to home, please check out Dave Ramsey's list of "SmartVestors."
If you have any questions, please contact us and we will connect you to a professional.
14) Prepare for a Garage Sale
Now that you are stuck at home, this is a golden opportunity to go through old boxes, try on old clothes, clean off the bookshelf, and really get ready to have an amazing garage sale when you are released from your home! While this may not make you money now (unless you post on an online marketplace), it will make you money in the long-run.
Get to treasure hunting!
Do not forget to purchase a garage sale permit if your city requires one!
15) Buy Generic
When shopping, try and avoid name brand food items. You can often find identical, or very similar, generic items that are cheaper than name brand! For more information on how you can save even more when grocery shopping, check out our '15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries.'
15) Fund Your Four Pillars
Your "Four Pillars" is not a Coin Counselor original concept. It is based upon Dave Ramsey's "Four Walls." The "Four Pillars" are:
Each one of these plays a very important part of financial, and physical security. You need food and water to nourish your body to survive and to give you energy to perform daily tasks. You need shelter to protect yourself, and your family, from the elements of nature. You need transportation to get yourself to, and from, work. All of these are very common sense and so I will not dive much further into their priority explanation. It is important to note that these things are non-negotiable and, must take financial priority. However, they should not take the entirety of your budget. If they do, you should down-size in order to open up room in your budget to save and to give.
Now, I do know that these are very hard times financially. Some families are completely without income and are living only from the emergency fund they have, if they have one at all... If you are one of the fortunate ones that still have a job and income, please give to those in the community that are not as fortunate.
Giving is not only a kind and generous thing to do for your community, but it has psychological benefits as well. According to an article by Psychology Today, giving can improve life-satisfaction, improves happiness, makes you feel rewarded, and can even reduce mortality rate.
I have been prioritized giving for many years and I have never had so much time building wealth. The better you feel about building wealth, the more wealth you build. Even in the hardest of times!
17) Use Digital Pay
On a typical day, we would encourage you to use cash for every purchase due to the psychological effects on spending habits. With that being said, we are trying to reduce the amount of things we exchange between people. Other people may wear gloves to protect themselves but, they do not protect you. The virus lives on the gloves and is, then, passed to you when you use cash or a debit/credit card. It is during this time that we highly encourage you to use digital payment methods such as Apple Pay whenever possible. If you are unable to use digital pay, we encourage you to use your debit card instead. You never know who previously held the cash, however, you know who previously had your debit card. Even though you do not know what the person touching your debit card has touched, it is still an added precaution.
There is no way to predict with certainty what is able to happen in the world. This does not mean that you have to be financially left in the dark. We want to see everyone become financially prosperous, even in this time of hardship. We, at Coin Counselor, would love to chat with you if you have any questions about your individual situations or if you have any questions regarding this article.
May all of you have excellent financial, and physical, health during this time and I hope you are able to make progress toward making financial dreams come true.