Amid the rapidly progressing Coronavirus outbreak, many of us are faced with the prospect of quite a bit more time at home than we’re used to. Understandably, the first thought is probably NETFLIX! Okay, yes, thank everything that this is happening in a time when we have access to endless entertainment to keep us busy. But, if you’ve got more time on your hands than usual, here are some nifty things you can do with your finances, so you can emerge from hibernation a more financially-savvy human.

1. Set up a best and worst case scenario plan

Set up a financial plan for the next 3 months based on the best and worst case scenario. What would you do with your money if nothing changed, you kept your job, and no other income was affected? Then, look at what you’d do if you lost your job, or perhaps had your hours cut. What would your plan be? How long could you manage with the savings you have? 

Thinking worst case scenario can be scary, but it can also relieve worry when you know you’ve crunched the numbers and have a plan in place.

2. Look into other ways to make money.

Since you’re going to have time on your hands, now could be the time to finally do the groundwork for that side hustle. Sure, you might not be in a position to launch it right now, but imagine already having built your website and locked down your offering for when we come out the other side of this.

Thinking more short term, you can also use your downtime to do online surveys for cash with Pure Profile, taking on remote tasks with Airtasker/Upwork/Fiverr, or selling your old clothing online. 

3. Assess the strength your emergency savings

Crises like these are a good opportunity to test the strength of your emergency fund, because shit gets real – and fast. Ask yourself how confident you are in your emergency fund. Do you wish you had more saved? Are you happy with how much you have?

Use these feelings to set new savings goals, either to tackle now if your income continues as normal, or to approach in the future when things settle down. Making plans when you’re in the thick of a disaster can help you stay more dedicated to your goals, because you’re able to draw upon the memories of that time to push your forward. 

4. Educate yourself about investing

Everyone’s talking about the share market at the moment. Mostly because it’s royally shat itself, and we all know it. Use your downtime to educate yourself on investing, and make your own decision on whether you might like to start investing while the market is going down. Lower values mean more shares for less money. If you’ve got surplus income – and I mean real surplus income that you are happy not to touch for several years – you may decide to use the Coronavirus to start investing. 

Read: A simple guide to micro-investing.

5. Set a conservative budget

If your income isn’t going to be affected, you’ve got a nice opportunity here to lay low and enjoy a period of forced savings. Chances are you’ve stocked your cupboards with 2 weeks of supplies (or two years, in some people’s cases), so plan out a conservative budget and stash as much extra cash as you can while you’re still earning your normal wage. 

It’ll also teach you lessons in how much you usually spend without even thinking. The complacency that comes with everyday life means as humans we never really believe this stuff will happen to us. Do some deep thinking about your spending habits during this weird ass time, and vow to spend more mindfully when we regain stability. 

If and when you are spending, give some thought to the smaller businesses in your community. Help them continue operating by spending with them when you can.

Want more money goodness while you’re self-isolating? My “Be Better With Money” eBook is out now, packed with worksheets, cashflow templates, meal plans and money mindset prompts to help you swot up on your personal finances.