Written by Nasuha Aiedn
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Our country has been struggling in this Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year. We are now in MCO 3.0 and 2021 is all about how to protect your health mentally and physically and as well as survive financially. Salaries have been reduced or we have lost our jobs and seen significant reduction in our business. The number of unemployed fresh graduates has risen significantly this year, as most businesses have attempted to decrease personnel as a result of the slowing economy and cash flow. I am glad to still have a job 😊
We are living in an emergency and lockdowns affecting every aspect of our lives. Without a doubt, these MCOS, EMCOs, CMCOs and RMCOs have had an impact on our economy, from informal businesses being unable to trade, to many companies being forced to provide lower employee pays, temporary or unpaid leave, merely to keep the business going.
The environment is bleak, and things are not within our control and in order to weather this pandemic we have to manage our money, grow it and pay it forward! Here are my tips on how I did this.
Manage Your Money
Before the pandemic I didn’t really manage my money, but Covid-19 has taught me to be Mrs. Stingy. You need to manage your salary or business income by listing it all out. Use a spreadsheet or even just a notebook to write down your fixed monthly commitments (car loan, house rent/loan, phone bills, insurances or other loans etc), and also other expenses such as groceries, fuel & toll, utilities, etc.
Alternatively, to pay everything you can use Debit Card Apps and E-Wallets. For example, Big Pay is a debit card App with analytics that covers all your expenses in a trackable manner. It’s easy to sign up, click here.
Using the E-wallets are also a good way to manage your money as everything is trackable. Knowing what you are spending on is an important aspect of managing your money.
Saving money is an important aspect and due to this we have all become MasterChef out of necessity. Eating out like before is no longer an option, not only to save money but to protect your health! Though I really miss eating out :’(
If you are not a fan of apps then at least write down in a simple format what you are spending every month. My example below. If you don’t know what you are using your money for, you cannot ever hope to manage it properly.
|Fixed Monthly Commitments:|
Saving and Emergency Funds
After you’ve paid off all of your fixed monthly commitments and other expenses, the rest of your income will be your savings. Savings are important as you aren’t sure what the future would look like now. Maybe today I am still working and getting paid on time. But tomorrow my salary could be deducted or worse, I could lose my job!
Make it a habit to save aside an amount and put it in an emergency savings account. Even a little amount of money may add up to a huge sum if left untouched and can come in handy on a rainy day.
If you are financially literate aside from putting your savings in ASB or fixed deposits. You can try your hand at stock investments, crypto trading and unit trust investing. These are some sites to check out; Rakuten Trade, Luno and Stash Away.
Only do investments after you gain knowledge on investing. You don’t need big amounts to start investing through these platforms
Advance Budgeting & Expense Tracking
If you want to plan your expenses better in a disciplined manner, start with a long-term budget plan, monthly and eventually daily budgets. I recommend you use money and expenses tracking apps such as Spendee, Monefy, Money Lover and there are many more you can find. Just simply install it on your phone. Or you can use the traditional way; Buku 555 as your journal.
Control Your Wants and Needs by Helping Others
While you may be able to manage your money and keep your needs and wants in check. Others in our society are not so fortunate. If you have a bit of extra help those in need like those flying the “bendera putih” or give more to Lembaga Zakat or establish organisations, such as Mercy Malaysia, Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia, and many more. There’s some individual or influencers that are also helping people out there, such as Arwind Kumar who started #QuaranTEAM and #FromAMother food aid projects.
Terato Tech, a local web developer, has launched Kita Jaga Malaysia (KitaJaga.Co), a website that allows those in need to raise a white flag digitally. Users may also search for and record the locations of food banks on this site. Whether you want to signal for help, provide information about food banks in your neighbourhood, or contribute to be a donator. All you need to do is just pin the location on the map and fill in the required details.
How is this related to managing my money? By not getting that new phone or shoes, giving it to others so their families may eat. We have emotional needs and wants, by channelling it productively we are showing maturity in managing our money.
Allah SWT will multiply the good deeds of His righteous servants up to seven hundred times as much or even more. Like a single seed from which springs forth hundreds of grains, Allah will cause the good deeds of His righteous servants to grow and multiply in a similar manner.
مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed which grows seven spikes, in each spike is a hundred grains. Allah multiplies His reward for whom He wills, for Allah is vast and knowing.
Surat Al-Baqarah 2:261
Starting Your Own Business
If you lose your job due to this pandemic and why not start a business. You can start with a small amount of money or none at all. You can sell things or services that have high demands or the things that most people would buy such as foods or other essentials. Since lockdown and people can’t go out easily, you may do your business online.
There are businesses you do without putting any money down like drop shipping. Drop shipping definition “ a form of retail business wherein the seller accepts customer orders but does not keep goods sold in stock”. Let me explain in this way – Makcik Kiah sells good nasi lemak and kuih but she is not good in online business, so you set up a store online or post these foods on Social media using her foods. Either mark up the selling price or agree beforehand with Makcik Kiah the commission for the sales of her food. This way you hold no stock and you have not paid anything for the cost of the goods.
If you don’t know what business to start with there are many portals that teach you how to start a business or find the business that suits your passions. Sites such as Eventbrite, have many online talks and ideas on business. Institut Keusahawanan Negara (INSKEN) has a lot of marketing and business training at a very affordable price or just go to social media to look for business ideas, plenty there.
This easiest business to start with is one you already have a skill in. If you are an engineer, accountant, gym instructor and a cook, there are many freelance jobs out there. Last time you were working for someone, now use the same skills for your own business.
Here are some websites to look at if you’re looking for a freelancing job – Upwork, Guru and Goget.
Upwork and Guru are worldwide freelancing platforms that engage businesses and people to conduct business. It has clients all around the world. Clients may use Upwork’s platform to interview, employ, and collaborate with freelancers and freelancing agencies.
The next platform is GoGet, which is founded in Malaysia. Goget is an on-demand job platform that connects companies and customers with certified gig workers for jobs such as delivery, catering, and administrative support. You can find the right job for you in the ‘GoGetters’ section on the website. This is a platform where you may find job that you enjoy doing and set your own hours. They provide flexibility, a diverse range of work options across sectors, and large fluctuations.
Who could have imagined that this pandemic would still last till now since last year? All of us are affected financially and emotionally. All we can do is adapt and prepare for any worst-case scenarios. I hope that this pandemic will teach us the importance of planning for life’s uncertainties. We need to know how to safeguard our well-being and finances and grow our wealth in the new norm. I hope that this article will give you ideas on how to create and preserve your wealth. Be safe and do follow the SOP until I don’t know when :’(