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Spend Carefully

Plan, don’t panic: budgeting in a crisis

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2020-06-16 00:00

Estimated reading time
5 min

In this article

  • How to manage your money in an emergency
  • 3 ways to supercharge your budget
  • Tips on how to reduce your expenses

Whether it’s a personal crisis, a financial speed bump or a 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 circumstances 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. 

Ways to reduce expenses:

  • Clean up your subscriptions – do you need 3 streaming services?
  • Manage your debt – how’s that mortgage rate looking? Checked on that credit card rate lately?
  • Prioritise your wants and needs – do you need takeaway twice a week?
  • Look for ways to save without sacrifice – When did you last look at your energy rates?

Here are some more savings hacks to help keep expenses low and those ‘rainy day’ funds steady - even when the world is feeling off kilter:

3 tips to power up your 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 (great for kitchen items like a slow cooker, waffle iron or pop-corn machine) and try online buy, swap and sell sites to keep your wants alive at second hand prices.

 Hot tip:

Get a spending tracker app like ANZ Spendi 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 when your cash flow is low it can be time to jump on this bandwagon. 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 initially feel like you’re missing out, but it is important to focus on the future and the good that comes out of proactively making a plan as soon as possible. Whether it’s maintaining a good credit score 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. 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.

We all need something to look forward to, and optimism can go a long way in a time like this. So, if it feels good to plan for a summer holiday in the future, then get your dream board out, and set aside a few dollars every week for your long-term savings goals whenever you can. 

It doesn’t take much to start saving and it’ll feel good to have a head start when your life returns to some kind of normal. 

Plan, don’t panic: budgeting in a crisis
Financial Wellbeing Coach

Ready to crisis-proof your finances?

Use the budget planner tool today on the ANZ Financial Wellbeing program to strategise your spend. A little planning really can go a long way. 

Start planning



The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.