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9 Tips to help in navigating Financial Challenges

We are in the middle of one of the most perilous times faced by our generation. To put it in concise English, the world has had to shut down. We are staying put wherever we are, the challenges that have come with the shut down are devastating. Stick with me though, I believe we have reason to be hopeful.

The lock-down period due to Covid- 19 found me in the middle of reading an interesting book. The Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed delves into the Great depression of 1914, as seen through the eyes of the Central Bankers, of four economies i.e. Germany, France, Britain, and the United States of America. It is a long read but if you have time please grab a copy, it is an eye-opener.

To our present time now, how do we get through this peculiar season? Are the economies of the world going into recession, depression? As an employee who may have been laid off, is on unpaid leave, has taken a pay cut. As a business owner who staring at losses, accumulated expenses, and no cash-inflows. What do we do?
I do not have any foolproof answers, but I will venture some suggestions.

1. Stretch the shilling as much as you can

When you are not sure when the situation you are in will normalize, as much as is possible try to make do. For example, you may prefer a certain soap brand or cereal brand that costs top dollar. As much as you can substitute it with a less expensive good quality item. Every shilling saved counts.


2. Conserve your savings

Limit or delay expenses that require a huge cash outlay that is not time-bound. The upgrade on the washing machine can always wait for another time. That home improvement project you were about to start can wait a while longer.

3. Eliminate your wants and only cater to needs

This is the time to delay your wants even if you can afford them now, especially because the future is quite unpredictable.

4. Consider downsizing your current lifestyle

This is especially the expenses that have a huge impact on your income and savings. Rent is usually one of the largest monthly expenses. If you can foresee some strain in meeting this expense soon, it is worthwhile to plan to move to a more affordable neighbourhood. If you cannot afford to keep your car, consider selling it off.

5. Ask for help

This is not the time to be shy about your situation. Seek out your lenders and landlords. Request to reschedule your mortgage payments, request your landlord for some relief in making your monthly rent payments.
When you are open and honest with your situation, most likely people will be reasonable and understanding. A payment plan can be reached that takes care of your circumstances until you are fully back on your feet.

6. Grow yourself

Take the opportunity of the free time available to learn a new skill or fine-tune a hobby that you have. This may not translate to an increased income stream right now, but it will make you better equipped to cope with the future and keep your skills sharp, plus it is a useful way to pass time. To stretch yourself by reading inspirational books. There are many websites such as and that have resources, some of which are free of charge.

7. Grow and Expand your side hustle

Not all income opportunities are closed. If your side hustle can be done and delivered to your customers, remotely this is your time to thrive. It is time to showcase your skill, market yourself at every opportunity, expand and go full scale. It may well be that after the pandemic this hustle becomes your main hustle.

relaxing in the sunset

8. Connect with your family and friends

This is the time to constantly check in with your family and friends. It is important because they remind you that you are not in this situation alone and you can get tips on coping mechanisms in case you are struggling. The family keeps us centered and focused and it is important to maintain that connection.

9. Take time to reflect and repurpose your life

If you are like me, then you must have realized that you are spending a lot of time by yourself, with your thoughts and some may be overwhelming. The future seems so uncertain and you don’t seem to have answers. I assure you; you are in good company. The feeling of groping in the darkness brings such a sense of helplessness and at worst despair. Take a deep breath, and focus. Focus on what you do know to be true, focus on keeping hope alive, and finally focus on creating the future you would want to be in. Channel your energies towards this and you will have less time to worry about what you have no control over. If you are a person of faith connect with your maker on a deeper scale, you will remain anchored.

Like I said earlier we are in peculiar times, so do not expect to figure everything out at once, but we need to keep one foot in front of the other. It is what will get us to the other side, hopefully with our sanity intact.

I am currently working on a free excel tool to help us in budgeting and keeping track of our expenses and our net worth, look out for it in my subsequent blog posts.

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