Three Ways to Strengthen Your Finances During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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There’s no sugar-coating it, these are tough times for those of us in the fitness industry. Many of us have suffered significant blows to our businesses and income, not to mention the stress of not knowing when our own circumstances—and industry—will return to normality.

Every third post on my social media feed is about the need to pivot and how it’s more essential than ever to be agile as you navigate your way through this crisis. While I don’t disagree, this advice has gotten me thinking about how a strong defence is just as critical as the need to be able to swiftly course-correct to meet our clients where they’re at in our efforts to continue to generate an income.

Therefore, I wanted to offer you some simple ways to strengthen your personal finances that will help you keep more money in your back pocket while you navigate your way through the uncertainties of this pandemic.

Review your spending

Like most personal trainers, your income has likely been negatively affected due to recent events, which means you’re going to need to make some changes. Analysing your bank statements, painful as it may be, is the best way to identify unnecessary recurring expenses that you can eliminate. Locating unnecessary expenses like direct-debits and subscriptions, will help you keep as much of your money in your account as possible.

Do you really need every paid TV subscription under the sun? What about that app that you’re paying for every month and the monthly withdraws for those three online news outlets? Let’s face it, you and I both know you could probably part ways with some of that stuff to save some extra cash.

It’s critical that you be ruthless with this exercise. When you find a recurring payment or subscription that you can eliminate—get rid of it. The name of the game is to keep as much money in your account as possible while your income is down.

Create a budget that works for you

The second most powerful thing you can do is create a budget. If you’re someone who doesn’t typically budget your expenses, or who needs to get back into the habit of using one—now is the perfect time to start.

Most people think of a budget as something that’s controlling and restrictive, but the reality is that a budget is anything but those things. Put simply, a budget is a game-plan for your money, and a budget that you can stick to will ultimately provide you with peace of mind, giving you control over your money, not the other way around.

Here’s a helpful video that provides an easy-to-understand approach to budgeting your money, and a simple budget template that you can use to get started.

Learn to live on less

In addition to cutting expenses outright and setting a tighter budget, consider also finding ways to live leaner by spending less. One great way to save some money (which some of you may be doing already) is preparing meals in bulk from home. Rather than thinking from scratch about every meal you set out to prepare, plan out a weekly menu that you can stick to for a week or two at a time. It’s far healthier than ordering take-out all the time, both on your body and your back pocket.

Additionally, it’s a smart move to reduce your discretionary spending—particularly when buying things that don’t provide you with any immediate and/or long-term value. A simple way to decide whether you should make a purchase is to ask yourself these five questions before pulling out your bank card or pressing the ‘Buy Now’ button.

This is an opportunity to take stock and learn to appreciate what you do have. Let’s face it, you don’t need more stuff right now. This is the time to tighten the purse strings and keep as much money in your back pocket as possible!

Final Thoughts

No one knows how this virus will change our lives, or what things will look like on the other side of quarantine. While this can be a scary and overwhelming time, it’s also, in some ways, an opportunity. We are being tested to find new resilience and to live simpler, more minimalist lives.

Following the steps recommended in this post will help you on that journey and will also equip you to be more successful than ever on the other side. When the dust settles and we start to find our “new normal”, you will have developed new skills, a stronger foundation, and a resilience you wouldn’t have imagined possible before this began.

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James McDonald

James is the founder of PT Blogger. He helps personal trainers grow their client-bases, earn more money and thrive in the industry.
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