Have you changed your budget to focus on savings?

Have you created a new budget to address your COVID-19 concerns? 

So far I've stuck with my main budget and haven't adjusted goals - the necessary expenses will have to be paid anyway and if my contract is terminated I can move funds from discretionary categories as needed once savings run out. 

What are your thoughts? Are you switching gears and re-prioritizing? Or are you doing your status quo?

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    • Superbone
    • YNAB convert since 2008
    • Superbone
    • 3 mths ago
    • 7
    • Reported - view

    I changed my budget to focus on savings a number of years ago. It's my top category in my budget so that it's front and center. I am not switching gears because of COVID-19. I would think that would depend on your situation. If there's a good chance of losing income, then yes, you had better adjust! At the moment, my savings are actually increasing as there is less to spend it on when I don't leave my house!

    Like 7
      • Saish Dawg
      • saish_dawg
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Just a contrarian view.  Put savings at the bottom, and you only have to budget it whenever money comes in.  Put the categories that you actually control via daily spending (eating out, coffee, etc.) at the top so *those* are front and center and reminding you to keep an eye on them.  :^)

      Like 1
  • I am not shifting my budget at the moment. But I did hold onto my bonus that is earmarked for debt pay down. And while I have money to spend in certain categories I am deferring that spending for now.

    I feel good about my job. It isn’t essential per se but I work for a large multinational corporation. All of what I do can be done remotely. If this lasts a long time we will be affected because the businesses that hire us will no longer be around to pay us. Bit in the near term I will keep getting paid.

    I feel fortunate and am going to pay it forward as much as possible.

    Like 3
    • Superbone
    • YNAB convert since 2008
    • Superbone
    • 3 mths ago
    • Reported - view
    Alice Blue Yeti said:
    I feel fortunate and am going to pay it forward as much as possible.

    I feel the same way. When I heard the US government was going to hand out checks, I was already planning on passing mine on to those in more need. But then I read that it will only be for lower incomes. I will probably just donate some of my own income. On the other hand, my son has been affected as he was supposed to start his first “real” job today since graduating college but that got pushed back for the foreseeable future. I most likely will need to send funds his way to keep him going.

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  • The advice that I received from a more senior person than I at my company ... ' We went through a similar situation years ago. I had made cutbacks that were deep and early.  I know many of my coworkers in my same situation that waited and lost everything.'  

    As soon as I found out it is highly likely that I will be laid-off,  we started trimming back expenses. We have  trimmed cell phone plans, netflix, tv service, restaurants, tollway usage, dry cleaning, piano lessons for our daughter, lawn/yard service, etc.  And it still won't be enough but then comes our emergency funds and savings.   

    SO make the cuts early and make them deep.  If the economy recovers before I lose my job then I will have trimed some easily restarted non-essentials (that probably needed to be re-contemplated anyway) and gained some extra cash. If it doesn't, then I have a head start on the long haul to recovery. 

    Like 10
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      karick that's good advice for someone who is not currently prepared. If you have an adequately funded income replacement fund there really is no urgency to start cutting, although it certainly wouldn't hurt.

      Like 3
      • karick
      • karick
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule  Even with our income replacement fund of 6 months, it is very possible that the layoff will last longer given the current environment. I know people that were laid off for more than 5 years the last time the economy tanked.  I'll be looking for other work during that first 6 months but I'm in a very specialized field si it will difficult to find something.  I'll likely need to find a much more unskilled job to fill the gap.  I'm very surprised at how many people on this thread say they aren't gonna change their budget much. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      karick All those factors should be taken into consideration as part of your normal budget and not after a crisis has already happened to put you into the potential predicament. I think that's the point people who are not changing their budget are trying to make.

      Or to put it another way, if you think your target emergency fund isn't large enough, why did you set your target so low?

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    • PhysicsGal
    • Nerdy female homo sapien
    • physicsgal
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Yes, I've put my accelerated debt payments above minimum on hold for now and will put all that money into my Emergency fund, until I reach 6 months of expenses.  Plus I increased my retirement contributions to max out my 2019 Roth IRA and put a little more into my 403b, since I have until July now and stocks are on sale.  I had literally just written my IPS that said to increase my contributions when the market dips below 20% of its most recent high.

    I will probably end up finishing up my Emergency fund before I finish paying off my debt, and that's fine with me.  I feel lucky that I had already started shifting to using half of my extra funds to pay extra on my debt and half to save for an emergency fund, so my emergency fund is already getting pretty close to 3 months.  It feels really good to have that pile of cash right now, especially when I also have some other true expenses built up, so I have more cash in savings now than ever before in my life.  My job is probably safe, but my fiance's job is more subject to the economic winds.  Once I have that 6 months expenses saved I'm going to feel much better about my finances.  Then I will crush the last ~$9k of my debt and hopefully never be in debt again.

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    • Navy Blue Router
    • Feet on the ground. Head in the clouds.
    • Navy_Blue_Router.2
    • 2 mths ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    I paid off the last of CC debt in March, and intended to shift gears to pay off my student loans. One loan may be eligible for forgiveness (no idea when I'll learn about that status) and it may be on pause right now. I shifted gears to continue to pay the minimum on the student loans and take the now available funds and fund a category for next month's income, then build up a fund of 6 months of expenses than can live in a HYSA or MM.  I had planned to begin a Roth in July, and I may fund that a little more aggressively than I first thought. 

    My job is stable and I have a broad array of True Expenses funded, but I'm single and I look forward to feeling the way PhysicsGal  does about her pile of cash in savings.

    Like 2
    • Wiecked
    • Happy Happy
    • Orchid_Tiger.5
    • 2 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    We didn't create a new budget per say, but it has changed our debt payoff plan. We were waiting for some restricted stock to vest to pay off the remainder of our heloc and get us several months deep into funding our emergency fund. Well between deciding on that  plan and the stock actually vesting (March1 - April1) the stock dropped $20 per share. It vested but we didn't cash it out. It's sitting there as a sort of emergency fund of sorts and we are just doubling down on the heloc with our paychecks. Maybe we will come out of this with the helco paid off without touching the stock, or maybe we have to use all of the stock as an emergency fund. Either way, we feel ready and have options. 

    Like 1
  • We have not changed our budget very much for the fixed and must spend expenses like utilities and groceries.  Hubby is retired and we are on a fixed income and were stashing as much as we can into savings for future expenses .  We have only been doing YNAB for 3-4 months and it has made it easier for us to drop more into savings, which we do when the income comes in the first of the month, and not wait to see "what is left to save" like we used to.  

    But we are lucky, in that we had already cut the cord with Satellite last month and reduced our TV expenses by about $150.00 with YouTube TV and a few specialities like AcornTV and Philo.  We already paid for HULU, and Prime Video and Netflix, so we are set, and last month we had re-negiotiated our Internet with Xfinity to 100-200 MBPS, because of the Cutting the cord we need higher speeds,  from $70.00 to $40.00 for a year.  So $190.00 saved  in entertainment expenses.  

     We were shifiting to  paying minimums 3 Credit cards,  and paying the balance the amount we usually payt on the one with the highest interest rate, and we were paying  many  times or more than the minimum, and were scheduled to pay them off in 26-28 months.  But... instead....  we had the opportunity to transfer balances on those cards to a No Interest for 18 months with our bank.    So now we will pay the transferred card amounts off in 14 months and still be able to but an additional $400 in savings along with the $190 from the entertainment.   For us that is awesome.

    I am still watching expenses for Amazon and groceries,  and we are spending less on food, with not eating out.  I find myself not :sales shopping" groceries as much since things were hard to find.  That has calmed down in our are for a little while, and I'm watching the cost.  

     Now that we are staying home, we are not eating out, and I am not going to Joann and Michaels for crafting supplies, or doing any other shopping on line for either of us,  other than groceries.  We are looking forward to putting even more in savings this month.  

    I wish us all a less stressful late Spring and Summer.  Everyone Stay Safe!

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      • Wiecked
      • Happy Happy
      • Orchid_Tiger.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MonetaryPlan I totally am having the same experience with craft expenses. Even though YNAB always showed me what I spent on crafts, COVID is teaching me how much I can "survive" craft wise on what I have. 

      Like 1
  • My budget is the same and is still very lean after trimming everything to survive a strike at work. My grocery budget is high by stocking up but that is all I have been spending money on. No gas, eating out, online shopping, etc. Still trying to keep it under my monthly max for Daily Expenses. When I go grocery shopping, every 2 weeks, I'm appreciating specials, but it's really survival shopping according to what is in the store. I did find when I got home, that I was charged a higher amount, almost double, on bread than was advertised and I stocked up. Oh well. Not like I want to leave my house for that discrepancy. I was really diligent before quarantine about stocking up my cellar & freezer when things were on sale in order to grocery shop on a budget and feed teenagers. This will all make us stronger!

    I have been keeping extra money in my True Expenses & not paying extra off debt. Thoughts on buying more stocks vs paying down my HELOC? It's currently $26k at 2.74%

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    • Superbone
    • YNAB convert since 2008
    • Superbone
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view
    Purple Foal said:
    I have been keeping extra money in my True Expenses & not paying extra off debt. Thoughts on buying more stocks vs paying down my HELOC? It's currently $26k at 2.74%

    For me it would be a no brainer to buy more stocks. Good deals on stocks right now and 2.74% is a very low interest rate. I practice what I preach as I’m not paying any extra on my 3.25% mortgage as I continue to invest in stocks.

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      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Thanks, I'll do that. I'd like to be a month ahead too... :)

      Like 1
  • I think I'm like a lot of people here - I had aggressive debt payoff plans for this year after buying a house last year and a bunch of things ending up on credit cards, but I find myself wanting to hold on to the extra paycheck next month, the stimulus, and an escrow refund I got. Working on trimming the budget but there isn't a lot of wiggle room right now - debt payoff was how I was going to get that wiggle room. I'm in marketing so right now we're feeling "ok" but I deep down have unease about my job given some things that have been said and done recently. So I've shifted priorities and added a 6-month income replacement plan and really exploring my options.

    Like 3
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tif_Ann At least you're on YNAB and paying attention!  Even though my Emergency fund is not yet at 3 months (my goal is also 6 months) and I still have ~$9k of debt, a year ago I was in a much worse position than I am today.  We'll get there, and if not, we'll still be better prepared for an emergency than before YNAB.  Good luck!  I just got my stimulus today.  Went straight to home repair true expenses and E-fund.

      Like 1
      • Tif_Ann
      • Tif_Ann
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal  True! I've been on YNAB for over 10 years, so it's kind of old hat ;)

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tif_Ann Go you!  I actually first discovered YNAB in 2011 when I did the Dave Ramsey baby steps the first time, but then I stopped after getting out of debt, never got my emergency fund together, stopped budgeting, and got on the credit card float until last year.  Last year I got divorced and had to take a huge HEL to pay off my ex, plus a couple of other debts from the divorce, and I wanted to get rid of the debt ASAP bc I don't want to pay the 20 years of interest and I want it gone, psychologically.  I would be in such a better financial shape today if I had used YNAB continuously since 2011 instead of stopping and then starting again.  Oh well, this time hopefully I learned my lesson well.

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      • Tif_Ann
      • Tif_Ann
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal Yeah I hear ya! I was completely credit card debt free when I purchased this place but my adult son lost his job and it was more expensive than I expected so ... all I'm working on is getting rid of the debt again :) Except with the situation, I'm stockpiling cash for a while.

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tif_Ann Cash is king at times like these.  Good luck!  

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  • Mango Box said:
    So far I've stuck with my main budget and haven't adjusted goals - the necessary expenses will have to be paid anyway and if my contract is terminated I can move funds from discretionary categories as needed once savings run out. 

     I thought this too, but I was given a heads-up that my contract will end July 31st so I've had to make major adjustments. 

    I used my last March pay and some leftover savings to bring both credit cards to zero and put aside an extra loan payment to get a month ahead on it. Then I severely cut my spending down and can now sock away 60% of each pay. I'll have three months' worth of income saved when July ends. 

    I'm 110% behind karick 's advice to make the cuts deep now. Wish I had heard it five years ago. 

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    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I'm basically going about business as usual for now.  My job is supposedly fairly secure, and my DOB is high enough that should something happen I could still handle my normal expenses for a while (and could stretch that further by changing my car loan payment back down to the required payment and of course dropping a few services temporarily).

    Right now the only adjustment I've made is to keep my stimulus check instead of immediately sending most of it to the car loan - I'll wait until this all plays out to do that.  

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  • I've kept things mostly the same.  We adjusted our "Everyday Expenses" such as Dining Out, Lunch, Groceries, Gas, etc.  I got a 10% pay cut starting last week so I'm interested to see how much that really hurts when I get my check tomorrow.  I'm not too worried.  Our month will just get funded more slowly and I won't have the joy of moving on to next month as early.  I'm very fortunate that my husband's income keeps us secure. 

    What I have noticed because of COVID is that I'm spending my fun money more quickly.  I've definitely fallen into the online shopping trap.  I'm at home, so I'm thinking about more decorating and home improvement things that could be done.  I'm cleaning more and buying new products and tools for that (although some of that is coming from Household Necessities, which I increased).  For the first time,  I spent ALL of my fun money this month, so next month I'm definitely going to rein it in.  

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