How to take back control in a crisis

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Having to rise above layoffs, illness or hardships is always tough – especially in the middle of a global pandemic. But when it comes to finances, you’re in control of more than you realize.

Money is just an object

The cornerstone of financial confidence is the principle that you and you alone can control your personal finances. This means that all financial challenges are manageable, and you can overcome almost any obstacle if you take the right action.

During a financial crisis, the first thing to do is take a step back and think about where you should prioritize and focus your energy on getting yourself back up and running.

But how do you take back control?

Financial and mental wellbeing go hand in hand. It’s very difficult to have one without the other. Especially in times of uncertainty. Before you start to make adjustments to your finances you need to take control of your mindset. 

Make a list of the things you can and can’t control. The things you can control will focus more on mental attributes – attitude, mindset, ideas. Seeing this list will remind you that remaining optimistic, being resilient and being positive is your responsibility. Only when you’re in this state of mind will you really be able look at a situation holistically and put a viable plan in place. 

In times of crisis we often resort to fixating on the worst-case scenario. Not only is this a very pessimistic way to deal with the situation, it actually prevents us from taking purposeful action. (Did you know there is a scientific name for this: catastrophizing? Find out how to stop catastrophizing and shift your mindset here). 

Once you’re in a positive mindset it’s time to start making a financial plan to get back on track. This starts with budgeting.

Crunch the numbers

Tweaking your money habits will boost your financial confidence both in the near term and in the future. It may be tough to adapt your lifestyle. You may have to forego that summer vacation or put off re-modeling your house – but remember this is only temporary.

Just how you made a list of what you can and can’t control, the key to budgeting is to separate needs and wants. Look back at your expenses to inform your thinking on where you can make cuts. Do you really need the more expensive cell plan or four different streaming services? There are some great tips on how to budget in a crisis here and you can download our budgeting spreadsheet here to try it for yourself.

We’re in this together

We’re in a time of uncertainty right now but you’re not alone. People have been here before and got through it and you will too. Read about other people’s experiences here to see what they  learned and  how they reached the light at the end of the tunnel. You may be inspired to follow suit.


Whether you need help budgeting, getting back on track or tips on saving, the onUp challenge is a great resource  to help you learn simple steps to take control of your finances. Make sure you check it out here.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.