As promised, this week will be doing series of tips that should essentially help you with these challenging and unprecedent times. The aim is that we are able to build reserves so that we are better off in future as we really do not know how long this pandemic is likely to last.
Tip 1 – Save the excess in your budget and shift the resources productively.
As many of us are effectively working from home for a month now, there are changes in some of our living costs. We can expect a saving in some categories, whilst others are expected to go beyond the budgeted amounts. This is essentially when you should be doing a closer variance analysis ( read it here). Here is a few examples:
- Your electricity bills is likely to go up this month. This is because there are people at home 24 hours and most likely you make three meals a day, Lunch, breakfast and dinner. Unlike when you worked at the office, you did not make dinner all the time nor are you home for lunch. Personally, with the units left of my meter box to date, I might have to top up because its unlikely to reach month end. This is something I hardly do.
- Your toilet papers, hand washing related items are also going to run low as you now spent the day at home. This is also because at the office, you use company’s supplies hence your usage rate of those is limited at the few hours you spend at home.
- What you are likely to save on though, is money you normally spent on taxi or fuel to work, lunch money as well as outing with friends and family.
With that being said, you still need to be realistic on how to handle the over and under budgeted items. This include still cooking packed meals so that you do not cook three times a day but rather limit it to twice a day. If you have a proper lunch and proper dinner, you can settle for a light breakfast such as cereal or fruits.
In addition, the savings may exceed the extra spending, and in that case put aside the excess in your savings closer to pay day.
For many of us that did panic buying, remember the idea was to stock up so that you do not have to go to the shops unnecessarily. If you still have that food, you do not need to do grocery shopping come pay day. Be innovative and try to cook what is in your kitchen. Stay away from the shops around pay day as that is the time you are likely to go spend time in long ques and come into contact with people who could potentially risk you and your family’s health.
A dollar not spent, is a dollar save.