Many Americans were living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic. Now, families who have been hit the hardest during the pandemic with unemployment or reduced income have to find new ways to protect their financial health until they get back on their feet.
To help our neighbors facing these circumstances, we want to explore four avenues on how to refocus your economic mindset during these times of financial uncertainty as we all wait for normalcy to return.
1. Understand your current expenses and review essential spending
This one seems like a given, but with everything that’s going on in our daily lives, it’s easy to lose focus on current expenses and evaluate what is essential and what needs be cut. It also helps to put your expenses into categories to determine prioritization.
- Fixed expenses: housing, food, utilities, insurance, debt payments, healthcare
- Variable expenses: clothing, fuel, recreational expenses, personal care, entertainment
2. Assess your current inventory
Once you have prioritized your current expenses, you can develop strategies to save on future costs, like reviewing what you have at home first before heading out to the store. You might be surprised to find items in your house that you already have and don’t need to restock right away.
- Those boxed meals that have been hiding in the back of your cabinet can finally debut on the dinner table.
- Those puzzles and games in the hallway closet can be a fun substitute for renting movies. Starting a sharing group with neighbors to lend each others’ puzzles and books can also keep the fun going without spending money.
3. Spend smart
A strict budget doesn’t mean you won’t spend any money, but smart spending gives you reasonable ways to get what you need while staying on budget.
- Buy shelf-stable groceries that won’t spoil, like pasta, beans, or rice.
- Take advantage of coupons, cashback apps, and vouchers.
- Buying in bulk saves you multiple trips to the grocery and is often more affordable.
4. If you can, lend a hand
For those in more financially stable situations, target your purchases that benefit local businesses that may be struggling.
- Buy local whenever possible to help small businesses.
- Spend your money with companies committed to helping their employees and consumers during this pandemic.
- Donate to SAWS’ Project Agua which provides emergency payment assistance to eligible residential customers who are having difficulty paying their water bill.
SAWS believes that water is an essential part of life, and they want to make sure no family ever has to be disconnected because they can’t pay their bills. SAWS Uplift eases the burden of having to pay monthly water bills with 14 different programs to assist customers who need a little extra help.
To learn how SAWS is helping the community stay connected during emergencies and financial hardship, visit saws.org/uplift.