…. None of us have ever experienced a global crisis before. 

As I child growing up in Aruba, I remember 1985 when Lago closed, it was a difficult year for many families. A lot of them emigrated to the Netherlands, looking for a better future. They survived!

19 years ago, we experienced the effects of 9/11 when a lot of Americans did not come to our island for quite a while. That hurt our tourism industry badly. We survived!

Coming back closer, when Valero closed its doors in 2012, again a crisis situation for many. Many people had to re-educate themselves, do whatever work there was, so they could guarantee an income. Some of them are still surviving!

Now in 2020 we are going to experience something, none of us has ever experienced before. Not only at a certain point 60% of our population will not have work, they cannot emigrate anywhere else, nor can they reeducate themselves for another job, because there will be nowhere else to go or other jobs to work in.

Some of us will still have a job and income during this period, but many of us won’t or already don’t have a job to go to, meaning also no income for the following months. The worst part of it all, we have NO idea how long this is going to last.

I want to share some personal tips with you, because it is time to tighten your belt NOW:

  1. Establish how much money you have today. Cash, in the bank, in a piggy bank at home.
  2. What are the obligations you have for the next 3 months, taking in consideration the grace periods you may be receiving from the banks, your landlord or other financial institutions. You may also take in consideration the help you may receive from the government. That will help a lot, but take in consideration it will only be for 3 months.
  3. Calculate again how much money you have available today. 
  4. Let’s say you have 3000 florins at this moment and this crisis is going to take 4 months. That’s equivalent to 16 weeks. 3000 florins divided by 16 weeks is 187.50 per week. This means you have a budget of 187.50 per week to purchase the essentials you need at home.
  5. Next you will make a list of what those essentials are. Food, medicine and some hygiene products. If you are accustomed to eat out or eat other expensive stuff, you will have to be creative and find substitute items. Think of items that are not expensive, but that you can do much with. All expensive items you are normally accustomed to, will probably not fit in this budget.
  6. When going to the supermarket, make a list of the things you need to buy, keeping in mind your budget. Please limit your visit to the supermarket to once a week or even every other 14 days. Please keep in mind your budget! Don’t get demotivated by other shoppers, remember not all budgets are the same. Stay away from temptations!
  7. When you have visited the supermarket and you’ve noticed that you have surpassed your budget, make sure you re-evaluate your budget or your list – so you don’t overspend the next week again.

We are in a time of a global crisis where no one knows how long it will last, nor what the social economic impact will be. Start today to tighten your belt. If you tighten it too hard, it’s ok, means you will have more at the end of this crisis and to start up again. Be smart and start today!

Before I finish this message, I am urging you, that it is also very important that you are responsible and that you take care of yourself. Take care of you, of your loved ones, of your community. That’s the only way we will survive this one too!

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