The world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have all adjusted our lifestyles. Along with social distancing, e-learning, and curbside pickup, our finances must also be managed in a new way. It really is an uncertain time, and with that uncertainty comes stress and anxiety. This article will provide five tips for you to manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 Tips to Manage Your Finances
- Create a budget or adjust your old one. For those who have never used a budget, it’s time to create one. For those who have had a budget, it’s time to adjust it. Income and expenses will change, and you must be agile. Contact lenders and financial institutions to inquire about how they are working with customers to meet their changing needs. You may be able to lower or delay monthly payments, change payment due dates, or request payment plans.
- Learn about what extra benefits you are eligible for. The government is providing some relief in the ways of stimulus payments, unemployment insurance, and no- or low-interest loans for small business owners. These benefits can be extremely helpful during this time and should be utilized when possible.
- Continue making credit card payments. Even if you are only paying the minimum amounts due, this is important. In addition, try to pay down the higher-interest cards first. Maintaining a good credit score is essential for when things return to normal. Credit card companies may offer payment deferral, waived fees, or increases to your credit limit. Call your credit card company to understand what is being offered.
- Cancel or put on hold subscriptions you are not able to use. Gym memberships, dance and music lessons, or monthly subscription clubs can be put on hold for now. Unless these are things that you need to have or can do with some success remotely, pause them and restart them when you can. Changing your television service provider may save $50 – $100 per month. If you are not using your car during this time, you may be able to lower your auto insurance premium.
- Don’t over-shop for basic goods. Although it’s a bit more challenging to get groceries, you should not overstock on things you don’t need. Make a weekly meal plan, and then prepare your weekly grocery list accordingly. Visit the store or use a delivery service one time per week, and buy only what you need. This will prevent your budget from being disrupted due to too much grocery shopping.
Sticking to your budget and keeping your stress level low
The COVID-19 pandemic is sure to cause anxiety and stress for you and your loved ones in various ways. Your financial well-being, if managed properly, does not have to fall into that category. Following the guide above may not solve all of your issues, but it can be used as a roadmap to better financial health. Pay close attention to your spending and income changes, and implement a proactive system that works best for you and your family.