By: Nthabiseng Moloi, Head of Marketing and Brand at MiWay Insurance
With unnecessary splurging all but impossible in light of the current phased lockdown, we are suddenly presented with a unique and unprecedented opportunity to take stock of our monthly expenditure. With social distancing becoming our new normal, now is the perfect time to reassess what’s necessary and to realign your financial goals.
Here are a few simple financial planning tips to consider during the lockdown:
Take stock of your spending
Ever wondered exactly how much you spend each month on takeout, entertainment and socialising? Now is the perfect time to find out. Not only does this unprecedented period present us with an ideal opportunity to assess how much we shell out each month on little luxuries, but it also affords us a unique chance to take stock of what’s really important.
Perhaps those daily visits to your favourite coffee stop are not necessary, when you can enjoy a comforting cup of coffee in your own backyard? Maybe a night-in with a good series is actually more enjoyable than a trip to the cinema? And while it’s important to support the economy now that most of these services are being made available again, it is important to find a balance. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to break a habit and this is your ideal opportunity to change some of yours.
Top tip: Next time you’re craving your favourite takeaway, transfer the money you would have paid for it in your savings account or write it down and keep track of how much you would have spent on a normal day-to-day way of life.
Plan your meals
By avoiding impulse buying and ‘quick fix’ meals, you will quickly start to discover myriad ways in which to make your money go further each month.
Rather than making countless trips to the shops or daily takeaway orders, instead use this time to plan your meals in advance, stocking up on the necessary supplies ahead of time and sticking to a menu that falls within your budget. By shopping less frequently and planning ahead, you’ll be better prepared to take advantage of special offers and bulk discounts too. In so doing, you’ll find yourself saving plenty, and perhaps even discover a few great recipes in the process that will help you keep saving beyond the lockdown.
Adapt your goals
With most holiday plans placed on hold for now and events cancelled across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably an exercise in the practice of patience – something that can and should be applied to our spending habits.
So, while the world takes its time out, it is perhaps a fitting time to reassess your goals. Maybe that money you had allocated to an international trip could be put to better use, in the form of home improvements, security upgrades or an investment in further education? After all, your dream destination will still be there next year, but your immediate goals don’t have to be put aside while you wait.
Keep yourself covered
Now, more than ever, it is important to ensure that your insurance policy is up-to-date and providing you with the right cover. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed our day-to-day routines and needs, so it is critical that you review your existing policy to ensure you are covered based on your current circumstances. If you are working from home since the lockdown, your driving patterns have changed considerably. Contact your insurer to find out what work from home products are available to help you save on your insurance.
While the pandemic currently sweeping the globe is undoubtedly alarming and unsettling, it is important to take control of your finances to re-evaluate your priorities. That way, once the world returns to normality, you will be far better positioned to make smart financial decisions and to apply your learnings in the context of daily life.
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