Bank encourages personal budgeting during COVID-19 crisis

Bank encourages personal budgeting during COVID-19 crisis

April 06, 2020

via Jamaica Observer

WITH the unpredictability in the economy as the effects of the novel coronavirus are being realised worldwide, Sagicor Bank is reminding people to practise personal budgeting as a financial management mechanism to get through this difficult period.

“Budgeting is a financially wise and important habit to develop once you are responsible for and managing money. It becomes even more crucial during times of crisis, when there are many uncertainties,” Clinton Hunter, assistant vice-president, retail banking at Sagicor Bank, is quoted as saying in a release from the financial institution.

Hunter added that he understands the many challenges and anxieties individuals may be facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but encouraged them to remain calm and focused while utilising a budgeting tool to ensure they get the most from their finances.

Below are some tips the experienced banker shared to help individuals with managing their budget:
1. Prioritise your expenses

Ensure you take care of your essential expenses and financial obligations in order of importance (that is, rent/mortgage, food, utilities, et cetera).

2. Stick to purchasing what you need when grocery shopping

When purchasing groceries, look for more economical options that can possibly serve your household for more than one meal. Also, aim to purchase items that can serve your household for at least a month; this helps to limit the need to go to the supermarket multiple times.

Tip: Buy in bulk if you have a big family.

3. Have a family meeting

A family meeting is important to explain to the children what is currently occurring and that budgeting and sticking to it will be important, as well as to explain what is expected of them. For example, if they eat all the snacks/groceries in one day, parents might not be able to purchase additional things until the month ends.

4. Keep up with loan payments

Be sure to keep up to date with your loan payments to avoid possible interest rates and late fees. If you are unable to make payments, inform your banker to determine special payment arrangements that best suit you. Only agree to what you can afford.

Tip: Consider debt consolidation to minimise multiple loan payments.

5. Check your account regularly

Ensure you check your bank accounts regularly to mitigate any possible theft and/or fraud. Review all your accounts and credit card balances to ensure there aren't any suspicious activities.

Tip: Always check your bank statements/credit card statements to ensure they match what you know you spent. If there are suspicious activities, report it immediately

6. Remain focused and disciplined

It is normal to feel anxious during times of crisis, especially where finances are concerned, but do not give into fear and panic; instead, plan and prepare. Through all the challenges, remember the situation is temporary and will pass in due time.

Tip: Stick to your budget always, unless it is an emergency.

Hunter also urged individuals to continue to be vigilant in protecting themselves and their families amidst the COVID-19 crisis. He also encouraged clients who may be experiencing difficulties at this time to reach out to the bank, noting that “Sagicor Bank stands ready to assist, as the bank is always in its clients' corner.”