COVID-19: How I am Staying Debt-Free

Today, I called to cancel my birthday photo shoot. It was a difficult decision to make because I had spent the last 361 days planning it! What’s a girl to do when she has to choose between having great pictures and being financially ‘responsible?’ It’s no news that our lives and plans have been forever changed by the Corona virus pandemic. From less working hours to pay cuts and massive layoffs, our finances have taken a major hit. In the midst of all these, staying debts free has remained a major priority for me. Some day, I will share the story of the poor financial decisions I made and how I became more financially responsible. Regardless of where you are in your financial journey (debts free or otherwise), you can take charge of your finance and make good investments in the days ahead. Here are 3 practical things you can start doing today: Prioritize your expenses Ever wondered how your money ‘disappears’? Now is a good time to find out. You can begin by;
  • Making a list of your expenses – daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc.
  • Identify the essential and nonessential ones. (Tip: I do a self debate on which category each expense falls under)
  • Strike out the nonessential and think up ways of spending less on the essentials (I have stopped buying lunch at work. I now cook all my meals!)
  • Create a budget. I use a budgeting app to track my expenses.
  • .Disclaimer: A budgeting app doesn’t necessarily help you save more. It helps you identify what you need to change and by how much. Negotiate your payment plan If you currently have debts to be serviced, you need to renegotiate your payment plan with the lending institution. (You would be amazed by how understanding they can be.) Before you start the discussion, do your home work on what a ‘favourable’ plan would look like – lower payment, later due dates, etc. Explore alternative sources of income If you have ever considered starting a side hustle, go for it! If you haven’t, take some time to discover what marketable skill you have or can acquire. Thanks to the lockdown or the curfew, you have more time to do this. You can check out online resources. I know I said I would share three tips but this fourth tip has saved me a lot since the lockdown began: Avoid investment schemes that appear too good to be true Based on experience, investment schemes that appear too good to be true are often too good to be true. Before investing in any scheme, research and ensure that you understand all the moving parts of the ‘opportunity.’ (Tip: I always seek expert opinion and it always pay off.) Can you come out of the pandemic era debts free? Can you effectively manage your debt? Can you secure your financial future? Yes, you can! It all begins with making the right moves! For me, there will be other opportunities to have photo shoot sessions till then, I will be busy staying debts free!

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