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How to plan your way out of a financial crisis

4-5 minute read

Life throws financial curve balls. If one comes your way, take a deep breath, then create a plan to navigate your way through.

Do you regularly use a budget? That’s great. But chances are that during tough times you’re going to need to create an emergency version.

Whether it’s a personal crisis, a financial speed bump, a pandemic or global recession, getting through financial hardship requires careful planning. For some, crisis planning is all about stripping your budget down to just the essentials. For others, it’s more about really prioritising where your dollars go.

Whatever circumstance you may be facing, your budget is likely made up of three components: expenses, savings and money left over. In dire times, there may be little or no left over cash, so focus in reducing expenses where you can.

For example:

  • Clean up your subscriptions – do you need 3 streaming services?
  • Manage your debt – how’s that mortgage rate looking? Is it possible to move to a lower rate? Can you consolidate high interest rate debt into a loan with a lower rate?
  • Prioritise your wants and needs – do you need takeaways twice a week?
  • Look for ways to save – when did you last compare energy providers?

Here’s some more savings hacks to help keep expenses low and those ‘rainy day’ funds steady and ready for tougher times:

How to rev up your money plan

1.    Recycle, reduce, re-use

When hard times hit, find ways to get inventive with what you’ve got. Get digging into the back of the cupboard for new outfit combos, swap items with family and friends and try online buy, swap and sell sites to keep your wants alive at second hand prices.

Hot tip:

Get a spending tracker like ANZ’s Budget Tool if you need an easy way to keep track of your costs while you’re planning your new budget.

2.    Get crafty

DIY is really having a moment and jumping on the bandwagon makes a lot of sense if your cash flow is low. From turning the recycling into toys for the kids, to baking bread and growing your own veggies, we could all use a bit more homemade in our lives if it helps keep our savings up, our expenses down, and our fingers away from online shopping.

3.    Keep your eyes on the prize

Restricting your spending can often feel like you’re missing out, so make a habit of focussing on the future and the good that comes out of proactively making and sticking with your plan. Whatever your goal – whether it’s maintaining good credit by not having to default on any payments, or streamlining your budget so that you can get back to having excess money, or making savings contributions – having a plan and some goals to focus on can make all the difference. Don’t look at this period as a setback, but as a chance to deepen your financial resilience.

Can I still save money?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the ‘how much should I have in savings’ question. For some, you may need to spend all that’s coming in for a while during a crisis. But experts agree that if you can keep saving, you should – even if it’s a token amount.

Finally, it’s important to remember that we can all use something to look forward to, as optimising can go a long way during challenging times. So, if it feels good to plan for a summer holiday in the future, then get your dream board out. It’s okay to start putting a few dollars aside as soon as the cash flow allows. It’ll feel good to have a head start when your life returns to some kind of normal.

Fingers crossed one doesn’t, but we hope these savvy tricks help you keep your head above water should a crisis ever hit.

Ready to crisis-proof your finances? Using the budget planner tool today on the ANZ Financial Wellbeing program could help strategise your spend. A little planning really can go a long way.

Need some extra help? Learn more about the support we’re offering during COVID to help you get back on top of things.

This material is for information purposes only. We recommend seeking financial advice about your situation and goals before getting a financial product. To talk to one of our team at ANZ, please call 0800 269 296, or for more information about ANZ’s financial advice service or to view our financial advice provider disclosure statement see anz.co.nz/fapdisclosure

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