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It’s Time to Revise Your Pandemic Budget

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Illustration for article titled Its Time to Revise Your Pandemic Budget

Photo: eldar nurkovic (Shutterstock)

Budgeting is important in the best of times, but it’s crucial to keep an updated budget during this pandemic. COVID has likely changed your spending and saving habits, so you’ll want to track your budget more often than you did in the Before Times, perhaps even daily. Here are some things to consider and steps you should take to revamp your budget for the new normal.

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Don’t be in denial

Stress and anxiety are normal, and no one wants to look at credit card statements in a financial crisis. But what you want to avoid is “financial denial,” the tendency to avoid or minimize your money troubles. This includes:

  • Not wanting to talk about money, even when it’s necessary.
  • Avoiding opening bank statements or credit card bills.
  • Not wanting to know how much debt you have.

The cycle of avoidance only piles on unnecessary debt and creates more stress. To break out of this trap, you’ll want to take control of your budget.

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Limit expenses

List all your expenses and examine your bills carefully. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate spreadsheet, you can use a pen and paper.

If you weren’t on a tight budget before the pandemic, you might uncover expenses that you were previously unaware of—maybe the energy bill could be trimmed, or you could cut back on takeout meals. Be ruthless with the expenses you truly don’t need.

Prioritize debt 

Understandably in a pandemic, you might not be able to pay all of your debt, but you’ll want to determine what should be paid first.

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  • Figure out your high-priority debt, which is debt that comes with the greatest cost to your family or affects your earning power: car loans, child support, utilities, and rent.
  • Then create a medium-priority debt list which will be for important things like mortgages, student loans, and taxes. These could become high-priority debts if you ignore them, but have less short-term impact if you don’t pay them right away.
  • Lastly, create a low-priority debt list which can include unsecured credit card, medical, or shopping debt. Lower priority debts shouldn’t be paid if that prevents you from dealing with high-priority debt. However, priority debts become high-priority once you are sued in court on the debt.

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Next, examine all of your COVID relief options, which include federal eviction moratoriums and loan payment deferrals, as well as relief programs that might be in your city or state. For anything not covered by government programs, try contacting your lenders directly, as they might be able to waive late fees, defer payments, or offer a consolidated payment plan with lower interest (although that might require a good or excellent credit score above 670). As part of your renegotiation, try to pick a day in the month that you can most afford to pay your debts.

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Create a budget

In a normal world the 50/30/20 rule is ideal: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for debt and savings, which would include an emergency fund. But that’s a cookie-cutter formula, and your expenses are what really dictates your budget. You might temporarily eliminate the “wants” portion of the formula so that a more realistic 60/40 rule might apply, with building up a 3-month emergency fund as part of that goal.

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Consider working with a credit counsellor 

If you are overwhelmed by debt and can’t keep your budget, consider credit counseling agencies, which are usually non-profit organizations that can advise you on your debts. Be prepared to discuss your financial situation, employment status, and your financial goals, as well as your regular income and expenses. As part of this consultation, you might be eligible for a debt management plan to make your monthly payment easier to handle.

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Remember to take it one day at a time 

As with the pandemic, take it one day at a time. Make it a habit to check in daily with your budget until you are back in control of your expenses.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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