It’s an enormous relief to everyone that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be gradually winding down. Vaccines are widely available in most places, social distancing guidelines have eased, and the world seems to be on its way back to normal. While there’s lots of good news to celebrate, many of us are still recovering from months of global shutdown. If you’re somewhat anxious about the state of your finances after more than a year of interrupted work, you’re far from alone. I’m here with five ideas to help you make money and plan for the future as we navigate a post-coronavirus world.
- Got Financial Problems? You’re Not Alone.
- Five Great Ideas to Make Money Now
- It’s Time to Start Thinking Ahead
Got Financial Problems? You’re Not Alone.
The implications of the COVID-19 crisis have reached far beyond the nearly 200 million people worldwide who have contracted the disease. Millions of people lost their employment, struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, and found it difficult to put food on the table. While the American economy is thankfully on the mend now, concern about personal and household financial wellness after lockdown remains a major source of stress for many. If you lost your job and had to dip into your savings in the height of the pandemic, you’re undoubtedly feeling the strain these days.
When you’re anxious about money, it’s easy to feel hopeless and helpless. I’m here to tell you that you can recover and reclaim your financial freedom. While it may be a slow climb back up the hill, you have the power to make smart decisions to improve the state of your finances. Even small changes can add up to significant results.
Five Great Ideas to Make Money Now
Recognize the Power of Compounding Interest
Do you know how to invest money wisely? If you’re new to the game, you can start by learning about compounding interest. That’s the interest you earn on interest, in addition to the interest you earn on your original savings deposit amount. Although interest rates are low, you can still take advantage of compounding interest by putting your savings in a reputable high-yield money market account, and see a return on your investment.
Look for Financial Opportunity
If you’re currently between jobs and looking for employment, you know that job-hunting can take most of your time and energy. While you’re right to go all-in on your search, stay aware of and open to other financial opportunities. Check out some smart ways to make extra cash, like selling handmade items or doing freelance/contract work. If you’re good at what you do, like writing, editing, or teaching, you may be able to turn your freelance work into a full-time job. Why not look into working for yourself?
Think of Your Future Self
When you’re experiencing severe financial anxiety, it can be difficult to see past your next paycheck. Even though things may seem tough right now, stay positive (as best you can) and remain focused on where you want to be in five years. Make financial growth one of your long-term goals, and make small choices every day that help you to add to your savings. Whether it’s skipping a dinner out and eating at home or waiting for a big-ticket item to go on sale, every little bit counts. For support along the way, check out these five useful money-saving apps.
Prepare for Any Eventuality
One huge financial stressor during the COVID-19 crisis was how unprepared most of us were. After all, who could have anticipated a global pandemic and year-long shutdown? As you move forward, make your decisions about money with the idea that anything could happen in the future. That means eliminating as much debt as possible and socking away the majority of your hard-earned cash. While we’re all crossing our fingers that this is the last worldwide crisis we’ll ever witness, it’s always smart to be financially prepared for the unexpected.
Consider Owning Rather than Renting
If you currently rent your living space, give some thought to buying your own home when you’re in a place to do so. I know that sounds unrealistic when you’re experiencing financial stress, but hear me out. You could be spending more per month on your rent than you would on a mortgage payment. Take a minute to consider the pros and cons of renting versus owning a home and evaluate what makes the most sense for you. It’s a complex decision, but if it’s right for you, owning your own place is an excellent investment.
It’s Time to Start Thinking Ahead
This has been, without a doubt, one of the weirdest and most unprecedented years in any of our lives. Recovering from everything that’s happened will take time, and that includes bouncing back financially. If you lost your job and had to dip into your savings account, it’s tempting to feel like you’ll never fully recover. And when you feel like nothing you do makes a difference, it’s easy to succumb to bad money habits, like stress-shopping and ignoring your bills. But just like creating healthy habits and goals to improve your physical health and body, committing to healthy financial habits and goals will reward you with financial strength and freedom.
As I said, you need to remember that you’re in it for the long haul. When you’re feeling defeated, keep your eyes on the five-year (or ten-year) prize. If things seem bleak today, take some time to think about where you’d like to be somewhere down the line. Do you dream of working in a new industry? Do your goals include buying a home or expanding your family? Remember that the choices you make today can affect your ability to reach your personal and professional goals in the future. You may not resolve the entirety of your financial issues in a day or a week, but you can apply to more jobs today. You can spend an hour polishing your resume and cover letter or speak to an advisor at your bank about moving your money to a higher-yield account. And you can make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket, avoid impulse buys, and stick to your budget. In aggregate, these little decisions mean a lot!
Hang in there. Regardless of where you stand today, it’s never too late (or, for that matter, too early) to begin making healthy financial decisions.