We are all feeling the strain of the pressure at this time. We mustn’t let the stress and the frustration keep us from staying on top of our finances, especially if you’re nearing retirement age, have been furloughed from your job, or want to make what you have stretch.

The pandemic has triggered the stock market plunges and has made investors nervous. For those who don’t have their money in the market, they are just trying to survive, literally and figuratively.

Many of the lessons you may have learned when you first ventured out on your own, or you learned along the way of life still hold, especially in times of financial uncertainty.

Here are some essential tips to keep you on track:

1.Remember the old adage to spend less than you bring in.

2. Make a realistic budget and stick to it.

3. Know where your money is going and know when it’s coming in.

4. Check-in with your automatic payments and cut any non-essentials.

5. Only buy what you need. Now is not the time to buy an entire supply of something you won’t use in a reasonable amount of time.

6. Put a portion of every check that comes in away. That little nest egg will help get you through difficult times.

7. Don’t cash in bonds or retirement funds unless you have no other options for your health and safety.

8. The money you would have used for fuel, bus or train fare, or school lunches should be secured away. Don’t use them to splurge on something else.

9. If you can, shop your closet and sell what you don’t need on sites such as Depop or eBay for extra money.

10. Need to supplement your income? Turn your hobby into a business you can do online.

11. Make a weekly menu with what you have in the house. Only shop when it is safe and necessary to do so. Follow local guidelines.

If you don’t want to or can’t do any of the above, then at the very least, keep track of every dime you spend. Recording your expenses will help you know where you stand. Many of us no longer have paper checks, so this is an inexpensive alternative that will go a long way.