Here are some ways to smartly use your money when business is slowed (or stopped) and the ability to spend is greatly reduced.
If you are still earning a regular paycheck, start setting aside money not used for essential expenses (think rent/mortgage, bills, groceries, and automatic monthly payments) in a savings account. This money can be used to build or reinforce an emergency fund, and later could be put to use for long-term investments.
Preemptively reach out to anyone you regularly pay (landlord/mortgage provider, credit cards, utilities) and ask if they have any payment plans available to provide some relief. It may seem weird to reach out and ask for something like this, but often all it takes is a five minute phone call to receive more favorable terms. Reducing your month spending by even a hundred dollars will help.
One mental model that works well when money is tight is to think of portions of your cash as set aside for specific months or years. Something like "this is the money for April; this is the money for May; this is the money for renovating an income property; this is the money for when I'm 70...". This tactic can help make money management and movements easier to understand and also put into perspective how long you can sustain your current spending.
There are probably some subscription services that you are paying for that go un- or under-used. Do you frequently use all of your video streaming apps? Or are there a few that you pay for but don't really watch? Do you need both Apple Music and Spotify, or would one of those cover your listening needs? Do you receive a magazine that you seldom read? Aim to cut out the recurring expenses that add little enjoyment and erode cash on hand.
Finally, make a list of the 5 activities that you most look forward to resuming when business activity returns to normal-ish. Note how many of those require little to no money and how many of those would be possible with a few months of mindfully managing your money. Set a goal to enjoy all of those when you are able, but to tip-toe back into other spending habits slowly and deliberately.
Timothy Iseler, CFP®
Founder & Lead Advisor
Iseler Financial, LLC | Durham NC | (919) 666-7604
Iseler Financial helps creative professionals remove stress while taking control of their financial futures. As both advisor and accountability partner, we help identify current strengths and weaknesses, clarify and refine your long-term goals, and prioritize understandable, manageable, and repeatable actions to bring long-term financial well-being. Reach out today to take the first step.