If you’ve lost your job or are worried about a layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to take a close look at your budget.
For years, I’ve kept a bare-bones budget for emergency situations. This type of a budget focuses on your “needs” like your mortgage/rent, food, utilities and insurance payments — and it doesn’t include all of your “wants.”
By creating a bare-bones budget, I know how much money I’ll need to survive during a month if I’m unemployed.
How to Reduce Expenses During the Coronavirus Pandemic
With Americans practicing social distancing, all of us will be making adjustments to our spending habits whether we fear a layoff or not. I reviewed my budget and plan to start pulling back in these five categories:
- Restaurants and bars
- Vacation fund
Reducing spending in these categories makes sense to me at this moment. Based on CDC guidance, I feel a moral obligation to stay at home to reduce my chances of getting coronavirus and spreading it.
You may decide to pull back in other categories. If you don’t already track your spending, Google Sheets has an annual budget tracker with a long list of categories. Read through it and think about the ones that apply to you.
If you want to start budgeting, I created a free budget worksheet called the CLARK Method that you can download here.
There is one category where I’m increasing my spending — giving.
This is a personal decision and will depend on your overall financial health. I know that with everyone staying home, many small business owners and their employees are hurting.
As someone who operates a small business myself, I can empathize with servers, personal trainers, flight attendants and others.
During this time when I’m reducing my spending, I’m setting aside the money that I’ve saved in a separate savings account. I’m calling it my Coronavirus Fund.
If I don’t need to tap into that emergency fund for myself, I plan to spend it at small businesses once this is all over.