10 Tips for Managing Marital Money during the Pandemic
As if the threat of this new illness wasn’t enough, married couples also have to compete with financial stress during this pandemic.
When the pandemic hit North America in March of 2020, by April, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment. Worldwide, many more are facing astronomical job losses.
This stress can wreak havoc on a marriage. The good news is that couples can find new ways to manage their finances during quarantine with little communication and some bright ideas.
1. START A SAVING’S PLAN
The first thing you and your partner should do while in quarantine is to create a pandemic-friendly budget.
Even if you’ve established a budget in the past, a loss of a job or cutting back on work hours may render your pre-pandemic budget unrealistic these days, so it won’t hurt to revisit your plan.
Measure your income against your expenses and look for ways to cut back on spending during the quarantine.
2. TAKE UP NEW HOBBIES
When people feel overwhelmed in other aspects of their lives, they may turn to retail therapy for a little stress-relief. However, a pandemic isn’t the best time to be splurging on a new leather jacket or restocking your candle collection.
Instead of spending, focus on doing!
Taking up new hobbies can give you a sense of accomplishment, contribute to stress relief, and make you less likely to shop.
Better yet, practice new hobbies together. Not only does learning something new help couples to rely on each other, but a study shows that shared activities promote marital satisfaction.
3. DON’T MAKE ANY BIG PURCHASES
If you have been financially affected by the pandemic, now would not be the wisest time to think about buying a home or a new vehicle.
The last thing you need is to add new interest and expenses to your list of bills.
Table expensive purchases for the next while or until you feel financially secure once again.
4. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
Staying organized will do wonders for your finances and your mental health during quarantine, and part of being organized means paying your bills on time, especially when it comes to your credit cards.
Credit cards often have high-interest fees that, when gone unpaid, can grow to an overwhelming amount of unnecessary debt.
Strive to pay at least your minimum on your credit card bill.
If you don’t have enough money to cover a bill, don’t just ignore it- call the company and ask them if there’s anything they can do to help you out during this time. More often than not, they’re willing to postpone late fees when you explain your situation.
5. EAT AT HOME
Eating out is easy and oh-so-tempting. Plus, it supports local businesses, right?
True, but it isn’t exactly wallet-friendly. Research published by Forbes found that it is nearly five times more expensive to order delivery than to cook for yourself – and the same goes for meal delivery kits.
For the same cost of eating out at a nice restaurant, you could probably supply groceries for you and your spouse for an entire week.
Save money (and improve your health!) by eating delicious meals at home.
6. APPS TO THE RESCUE
There are no shortages of free apps available to help you manage your money as a couple.
There are apps for budgeting, such as:
- Spendee, and
Many online banking services also offer free spending charts so that you can track where your money is going and make adjustments the following month if you see a habit of unnecessary spending.
7. PICK UP EXTRA JOBS
A great idea to combat the loss of income is to pick up extra jobs.
Are you great at grocery shopping?
Many people are wary of leaving their homes for nonessential reasons, so the need for at-home grocery delivery has skyrocketed.
Working from home is another option. Teaching online, writing, editing, coding, and transcribing are great choices for extra cash flow in your spare time.
Those talented in the arts can also make some extra money by hiring out their art or graphic design skills or selling their handmade goods on websites like Etsy.
If you have the patience and know how to find your niche, there is no shortage of work online you can do to supplement your income loss.
8. CHECK-IN WITH YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS
At-home subscriptions are fun! You can get interesting meal-kits, monthly underwear deliveries, and even subscription boxes for married couples. Plus, who doesn’t love getting mail?
The only problem with subscriptions, both at-home and online, is that they tend to be money-drains.
During this stressful financial time, sit down as a couple and look through your list of subscriptions to see if you can put any on hold for a while.
9. KEEP ADDING TO YOUR EMERGENCY FUND
An emergency fund is a personal savings that is either stored in a high-interest savings account or at home in the form of stored cash.
When you first got married, you probably envisioned your emergency fund would be used for something like:
- Unexpected medical expenses
- Sudden repairs to your home or vehicle
Never imagining it would be used to pay for supplementing unemployment during a medical pandemic.
Don’t feel guilty about dipping into your emergency fund. Circumstances like these are exactly what the fund is there for. Just don’t forget to replenish it when you can.
You may not be able to put as much money in as you did before, but try and add to it every month when possible.
10. HAVE A REGULAR MONEY MEETING WITH YOUR PARTNER
Couples can get squeamish when it comes to talking money. One study found that money was the most repetitive and unresolved topic.
If you and your spouse tend to tiptoe around financial discussions, now is the time to break yourselves of that habit.
Communication is the key to a successful marriage, so make a plan to have a monthly meeting to discuss:
- How well you’re staying on budget
- Your savings
- Handling debts during the quarantine
- Ways to save money or contribute to the household income
There is no knowing when this pandemic will end, and as long as people continue to get sick and lose their jobs, couples will have to learn how to talk about money.
Being in quarantine has been stressful for many marriages, but your finances don’t have to be a source of marital anxiety. Start a savings plan, look for ways to bond as a couple through the pandemic, and take practical steps during this time to make extra money and reduce your spending.
Author name: Rachael Pace
Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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