Disclosure: I am not a financial adviser. Using the tips given here is at your own decisions and risk.
- The background of this post
- Who is affected by COVID-19 beyond those infected?
- How to assess your finances
- Shop smart to save
- Invest in classics to save on your wardrobe without compromising style
- Using coupons isn’t just for students
- Take advantage of being a senior
- Get help thru the grievance of furlough, layoff and unwanted early retirement
- Wrapping up
The background of this post
When you have followed the news, you know that the Governor of Alaska had dramatically cut the university budget. The state income had fallen tremendously as it mainly depends on the oil price. Alaskans have no state income tax (yet) and even get a permanent fund, which typically is paid in October. I work at the University of Alaska and my department is among those under scrutiny. On top of this, like many other universities, the university might suffer decreases in tuition income as less students enroll for fall and due to less students per class to guarantee the 6 ft (1.82) distance. I also felt that everything about cutting my department’s programs also meant a huge emotional drain and mental stress. I am the founding chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences! Due to all these threads, I have spent some time in the last year-and-a-half to search for authoritative resources to assess my fiances and cope with stress related to them. Since these resources might help some of you during the financial burdens of the pandemic to assess your personal financial situation, make educated choices, and reach out for support, I will share them here.
Who is affected by COVID-19 beyond those infected?
During the COVID-19 crisis, everybody in the work force, who can’t work from home, is going thru a tough financial time. Many people have been furloughed or even laid off. Even those of us who work from home, worry about our future. Many companies, especially in luxury goods and fashion have reported decreases in revenue. Small solo entrepreneur businesses are struggling or already folded. We now all wear soft pants with slides and style graphic T-shirts instead of the newest business work clothing and pumps, right?
COVID-19 affected marketers differently. Industries making profits and booming right are those in the production of sanitizer, face shield, mask and germ killing UV instrument. Those of us who don’t work in these industries, or in fields considered life-essential (e.g. grocery stores, food production, cargo transport, postal and medical services) are worrying more about their financial situation than catching the virus.
How to assess your finances
Before taking (panic) actions for changes, it’s important to know exactly what your financial spending is, in other word, what you need as a minimum to make a living while being able to pay all your bills, loans and mortgage. I found this website offering free interactive tools and calculators helpful to teach me about our personal finance. It has easy to use questionnaires where you fill in your numbers. Based on your answers you you learn how to assess your finances. They offer a wide range of tools from budgeting, home loans, mortgages, savings, retirement planning and so on. Their sitemap makes it easy to find the topics relevant for your situation.
Shop smart to save
Beyond groceries, footwear and clothing there are things that have to be replaced or bought once in a while. Some purchase can be postponed, but others can’t. I wrote a guide about how you can save when shopping a while ago. Wikibuy is great for finding where you find an item at the lowest price. You can even download a Chrome extension with the app for free. However, be careful before you hit “buy now.” Sometimes a slightly higher priced item can be cheaper as it has free shipping or the lower shipping rate. This advice of great importance for my readers in Hawaii and Alaska, as many retailers offer free shipping, but not to these states.
Invest in classics to save on your wardrobe without compromising style
If you have to buy new clothes in financially hard times – many of us gained weight during lock down – invest into classics like black and white. This easy to recreate look of the day just needs a black skirt and cardigan, black sandals and a black and white top.
Using coupons isn’t just for students
When I was an exchange graduate student at SUNY Albany, I was introduced to couponing by my roommates. In Germany, no coupons existed in the 1980s. See it this way: No one gives away money for free. The full price tag on the merchandise is calculated with a certain percentage of people using the coupon in mind. This means you would pay for others using the coupons when you buy it without coupon. Check my gift guide regularly for promo codes on fashion, accessories and beauty products. There are also various apps dedicated to coupons for saving on groceries.
Take advantage of being a senior
Various stores have a so-called senior day on which shopper over a certain age get 5-10% off (varies among stores). In Fairbanks, for instance, Value Village have their Senior Day on Tuesdays. Some restaurants also have senior dishes that are smaller and cheaper than the normal dish. Who needs all those calories to begin with? And the doggy pack too often ends up in the trash can anyhow!Use your senior discounts. #budget #savings Click To Tweet
Learn to love yourself
Many women were raised to blame themselves for everything. Don’t go that route. You didn’t design the virus and being furloughed or laid off has nothing to do with you. It’s all about limiting the loses of the employer to save their company to survive pandemic. Customers spend less due to less income, which is again the pandemic’s and nobody else’s fault. Try to accept a Love Yourself Challenge to up your spirits.
Get help thru the grievance of furlough, layoff and unwanted early retirement
Being furloughed, laid off or having to enter retirement early causes grieve. Your job was very closely related to your daily life. It not only brought income. And your salary wasn’t only a compensation for your work. Your job was also social contacts. The office was your runway fashion wise. You spent at least eight hours a day, five days a week, 49 weeks a year for most of your adult life at work. Now you not only have to take social distance, but also lose the social support of your work network. It’s just natural that you grieve this loss. Thus, if you struggle with managing this grievance seek help from professional coach to activate your inner power.
Like September 11 changed the world forever, COVID-19 may be the end of the world as we know it. However, there are many resources out there that can help you to plan and assess your finances, provide tips and help to change your life to your better. Take your life in your hand by using these resources. Adopt Mademoiselle’s motto:My life didn't please me, so I created my life. - Coco Chanel #quote #lifestyle Click To Tweet
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Photos of me: G. Kramm
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