Step 1: Cut Expenses to Build Margin

The key to any successful financial plan is to live on less than you make. In a crisis, it’s more important than ever to create additional margin in order to prepare for whatever might lie ahead - as only our Almighty God knows the future.

Cutting expenses to increase this margin is the first step to prepare your finances in light of the pandemic. Hopefully, some of this has occurred naturally with the stay at home orders. You’re likely saving on gas and eating out, but are you filling those line items with other things, like retail therapy? One news outlet1 reported that some are spending up to $200 a month in impulse buys online. While it may help you to feel better at the moment, decreasing or eliminating that spending urge will help get you through the long term game of the economic downturn. 


Practical Application: How to cut your expenses

If possible, cut your expenses by 25%, whether or not you’ve lost your job. If you have lost your job, you’ll need to consider cutting more (Check out Crown's Crisis Budget to help make a plan).

Download

Crisis Budget Worksheet

Cut back on unnecessary or luxury subscriptions

As enjoyable as it is to skip the commercials on Spotify, YouTube, and Hulu (for example), now is not the time to indulge in premium subscriptions. They add up in your budget over the weeks and months.

ACTION STEP

Take a moment to review your current subscriptions. Could you suspend Netflix for a few months for a free library card to borrow that TV Series on DVD that you’ve always wanted to watch?

Negotiate

Negotiating with vendors can create anxiety for some people, but in the words of the great hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take!” What’s the worst that could happen when you call? They’ll say, “No” and you’ll pay what you always have… BUT just by picking up the phone, you improve the possibility of decreasing your expenses. Anytime you can do that, you’re creating more margin in your budget.

Places to consider negotiating (not an exhaustive list:)

  • cable/satellite bill
  • auto/home (and other) insurance
  • cell phone bill
  • unpaid medical bills
  • current creditors

ACTION STEP

Make a plan to call one (or more) of these companies to ask for a promotional or lower rate. Set a deadline within the week and create a small incentive (maybe you get a cupcake or your favorite dessert) for when you’ve completed it.

Contentment

Scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Thinking back to the earlier mention of Spotify Premium, is it really that inconvenient to watch commercials? This is an example of learning to be content.

30 million Americans are out of work, people in Zimbabwe are being beaten by the police as they attempt to get food from the grocery store during the pandemic - in proper perspective watching commercials is nothing! Practicing contentment will bring peace now and in the future.

Train to be content in all things. This pandemic is an opportunity to recognize what you have and to be grateful!

ACTION STEP

Complete the Needs/Wants/Desires worksheet and challenge yourself to make the harder decisions when you realize what’s truly needed.

Download

Needs/Wants/Desires Worksheet

Here’s a video with additional easy ways to cut your expenses:


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