The financial impact that COVID-19 has ravaged on individuals cannot be oversimplified. From the loss of sources of income, to having to grapple with the health concern of a virus that mutates and spreads like a wildfire.
As the virus has spread across all 16 regions of the country and with our hospitals choked with COVID-19 patients it seems another lockdown or stricter restrictive measures may be imminent.
It is just as Akufo Addo delivered in his 22nd update on measures taken to fight the coronavirus,
“We do not want to go back to the days of partial lockdowns, which had a negative impact on our economy and on our way of life. But should that become necessary, i.e., should the number of active cases continue to increase at the current rate, I will have no option but to re-impose these restrictions because it is better to be safe than to be sorry.”
While you take all the necessary steps to put your health and safety first, you may also want to take steps to protect your finances during this time of uncertainty. Below are some steps that may help you prepare for what seems inevitable
1. Prepare and review your budget and saving plan
If you do not have a monthly or weekly budget, now is the time to prepare one. Having a budget will reveal your spending habit and indicate to you where you need to adjust to ensure your money is used wisely. If you have a budget, now is the time to review it and begin to eliminate all unnecessary expenses. Tighten the belt on your budget to ensure your funds or money go to where it’s most needed.
Even with a little income, having a budget can help you allocate your funds wisely for a fruitful and rewarding result. Saving to prepare for uncertainty is paramount.
If you are new to budgeting, you may follow this principle.
• 50% goes to your present (living expenses and necessities),
• 30% goes to the past (loans/debts) and
• 20% goes to the Future (savings/investments).
2. Shield yourself from fraud
During periods of crisis, some individuals would like to capitalize on the situation to scam other individuals. This is the time to keep your guard up to avoid being a victim of fraud. Be wary of any suspicious emails, calls, text messages, and online advertisements. Anything that seems too good to be true probably is fraud, in most cases.
3. Setup and make the most of online banking
In a partial lockdown, as was the case in March last year, the government only allows for essential tasks to be performed such as buying food and medication. Banks and other services reduce in-person access and open hours during such periods. This is where it becomes essential to have signed up for online banking. Today, banks have set up online banking platforms and mobile apps that can help you transact any financial service from the comfort of your home. Through mobile banking, you can easily check your balances, transfer money, pay bills, purchase airtime, goods, and services, etc. Make the most use of online and mobile banking today.
4. Make early payment
Make sure to make all debt payments as early as possible to avoid the struggle of making payments during a trying time. If all debt payments cannot be made, try to make at least your minimum debt repayment by their due date.