When money’s too tight to mention

Going through a pandemic, whilst trying to keep your life intact, is a huge challenge for most. But when financial worries are added to the mix, it becomes a whole different (snow) ball game. Even for those of us who are managing with less than we’re used to, but are still ok, the challenge of making ends meet can cause many sleepless nights.

Some people have not received salaries, or have received only a small portion of what they’re used to. Some business owners have had to start retrenching people and have closed their business. Some people were already struggling before all this began, and underlying anxiety about the future can make things seem much worse than they are when you don’t have any money in the bank.

A specific challenge during this time is that your income and expenses might differ vastly from before as your circumstances changed. Sticking to old habits might not be a good idea right now, and if you’re worried about money, a fresh look at your finances might help you to feel more in control.

We’ve compiled some useful information and tips that might help in finding a way through this financial maze.

Make sure you know where you stand, financially. You might want to bury your head in the sand, but knowledge is power and the sooner you face your finances head-on the better chance you have of turning things around.

Compile a list of expenses, ranked according to priority and be very honest with yourself about the difference between necessities and nice to haves.

Make use of any financial assistance that is available - some institutions are offering payment holidays, some landlords have lowered rental charges, government is offering no interest loans to qualifying companies etc.

Contact your creditors and find out if any offer financial assistance or special payment options. Keep notes of the verbal/telephonic arrangements you make as a reference for future queries.
Once you are back on your feet or receiving your full income again, make sure to settle any outstanding debts as soon as possible (including your credit cards).

Be careful of committing to big expenses like buying a house, car or a deposit on a family vacation or a trip overseas for 2021. If possible, hold off until you have a bit more certainty regarding your long term income.

If you can’t make sense of anything and you’re feeling hopeless, speak to a service consultant at your bank about debt counselling.

Our government has launched several initiatives to aid people during the Covid-19 pandemic, if you would like to see if you or your business qualify for financial aid, visit their website at: www.gov.za/Coronovirus

None of us have experienced something like this before. Don’t feel ashamed if your money matters are a mess - many people are facing severe financial difficulties. Taking charge of what’s in your control is your best option right now.