ver since the new coronavirus pandemic started, the financial situation of millions of people have been deeply affected. The truth is that no one is safe from the effects of the coronavirus as everyday people continue to get laid off and even those who have been capable of keeping their jobs can struggle to make a living through the pandemic amid constant uncertainty. Likewise, due to lockdown and quarantine other people have been finding solace in online shopping and ordering take out without realizing how these things can deeply affect their pockets in the long run, or how they only function as momentary ways to fulfill their needs. Therefore, what do you do when you find yourself broke in the middle of a pandemic? 

In this article, we offer some solutions and advice to turning things around when you are broke during a pandemic: 

  • How to identity the reasons why you are broke
  • How to avoid unnecessary spending
  • How to learn how to make a budget
  • Hot to make yourself motivated to make it through

You are Broke, But How Did You Get Here? 

A person sitting in front of a desk with several finance instruments
You can make it through being broke. Image courtesy of Rica Na Cozinha

If you are reading this article, the chances are that you live in a capitalistic society where you are constantly urged to buy and try new things. Whether you are on social media and your friends and influencers are constantly posting about their new acquisitions, their trips abroad, and anything that makes their lives seem so much better than yours, or you are constantly overwhelmed with advertisements from your favorite stores, it is impossible to not to feel tempted to spend your money. This is all made worse when you are stuck at home and the only way to spend your time and stop yourself from going completely crazy is to be connected to some sort of technology. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, a lot of people found themselves subscribing to multiple streaming services, purchasing new video games and consoles, and we cannot forget about the toilet paper freak out as people were racing to supermarkets and buying utilities as if the apocalypse had started. Although it is impossible to deny that absolutely no one was prepared to face a global pandemic,, many got carried away with preparing for quarantine and lockdown due to their surviving instincts but they did so without actually envisioning things. Consequently, it is important to be able to determine the reason or reasons behind your financial struggles and in order to do so, you should start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • When did your financial problems start? Before or during the pandemic?
  • Do you have FOMO (fear of missing out) and find it hard to say no to others?
  • Do you spend your money wisely or do you buy impulsively?
  • Do you spend more than what you actually have? 
  • Are you living a lifestyle that is above from what you can afford? 
  • Are you an organized person?

Even though you mind find it hard to admit to yourself or even see how these questions might actually apply to you, it is an important step to recognize your mistakes in order to solve them. If you are broke and unless you have been laid off, the chances are that you are the one to blame and the last thing you need to do is continue to sabotage yourself. 

How to Nip Your Problems In the Bud

A piggybank sitting on top of a pile of money
Keep calm and save money. Image courtesy of We Heart It.

As a human being you will crave things which you can’t have and that is okay, as long as you are not spending money which you don’t have in order to buy things which you will forget about in a couple of weeks. You should not be spending your money unwisely whether or not you are broke-- because if you are not broke it will make you and if you are broke it will force you to continue this way. In order to nip your problems in the bud, you must be able to recognize your spending habits and be able to make wise decisions. 

Even though you might think that during a pandemic you don’t have as many reasons to spend money, this sort of mentality is actually what is going to get you to spend a lot of money without even noticing. In the world of pre-coronavirus it is undeniable that you had more reasons to spend money as, for instance, you probably went out to eat more, went on shopping sprees, paid more for gas, and many other things which come with living life outside from home. However, quarantine and lockdown should have been able to present themselves as chances to save up the money that you were spending on extra things and/or luxuries, but it turned out to be quite the opposite.

In order to turn things around, you have to be able to police yourself and decide whether or not it is worth it to buy something which you don’t absolutely need. Even though it might provide you with happiness, you must remember that it is only momentary and that later you will be craving something else. More importantly, the less you buy while trying to get yourself back on your feet the more you will be able to save up for important things in the future. Being broke, unfortunately, is the reality of thousands of people before and during a pandemic, and there are no doubts that it is not easy; but you must put yourself first and do what is going to be most beneficial in the long run. 

Meet Your New Best Friend: Budgeting

Budgeting list
Budgeting is for everybody.

If you are willing to make a budget it means that you are committed to ending your financial struggles. Congratulations! Nevertheless, you must know that you should make sure that you inform yourself about different types of budgets and how to find the right one for you. A nice thing to do would be to check out the article How to Make a Budget that *Actually* Works for You. Within this article you will find several valuable tips about budgeting and several of the questions you may have can be answered. You should know that making a budget can be a challenging experience especially when it comes to sticking to it but, the rewards are worth it. 

By making a budget you can keep track of all the money that is coming in and make sure that it is going to the right places. This way, you will definitely be thinking twice before going out to drink, going on a shopping spree, or just spending money on unnecessary things in general. If you have never budgeted before, this is the perfect time to start doing it and, if you have been doing it for a while, maybe it means that you should revise your budgeting methods. You will soon find out that small changes such as buying cheaper laundry detergent can save you up a lot of money and making your own coffee at home rather than going to Starbucks or Dunkin’ everyday can make a huge difference!

Realizing That It Is Okay to be Sad and Keeping Yourself Motivated

Woman holding a piggy bank
Everything is going to be alright. Image courtesy of Wably.

Everyone at some point in their lives will experience some sort of financial hardship. However, you should not let this affect yourself more than the necessary. Remember that you are not alone: you have family and friends who care about you and probably are willing to help you in any way you need. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people when you feel like you can’t deal with things on your own. Remember that even though you might feel like there isn’t a way out, everything is temporary and soon you will be able to turn things around. What’s even better, you will have learned valuable lessons which will help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future and to continue to make things work. 

Don’t be afraid to step away from social media for a while as it can be a very toxic environment and you don’t need Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, TikTok, and etc. making you feel like you are worthless and that you are missing out on things which are often detached from reality. Try logging out of your favorite stores for a while and focusing on things around you. Maybe you can clean your house and have a yard sale which will give you some extra bucks! If you look around, you will probably find hidden treasures which you never thought that you had and which can make a huge difference at the end. 

Try to keep a positive attitude and to never give up even when you are feeling overwhelmed. Once you are capable of identifying the problems behind being broke and start to deal with them, stop buying unnecessary and expensive things, and make a budget, you will start to feel so much better and you will notice how things can and will change for the better.

Nov 18, 2020